Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Waiting to go back to school after Superstorm Sandy caused major damage on the East Coast.  I was supposed to find out if my first trial with students viewing the tutorials worked.  However, as I look at my google form, I have noticed that only 29 out of 52 students have responded on the google form.  Let's hope that this is due to power outages and not laziness.  Hopefully we'll find out tomorrow!  I've gotta get back to work!
¡Hasta Luego!

Monday, October 29, 2012

¡Mil Gracias!

A thousand thank you's to my colleagues, Greg DeCubellis and Ben Revkin, our resident tech experts, in helping me figure out how to record my voice over my power points.  It worked, and I uploaded the new version on  Now my students won't have to download the presentation which may cause problems with different operating systems.

View Ben's comment (Magister Revkin) on my last post as to how to do it on the MacBook Airs.
It's getting a bit windy now!

A question for all you "flippers"

How do you record your voice over your power point presentations?  I have a MacBook Air and I thought the record option on the powerpoint would be sufficient.  However, on it doesn't have a "Play" button on the presentation/tutorial.  The students have to download the presentation, which, in some cases, is presenting problems for students.  Is there a better way to record my voice over my power points, that doesn't require any fancy equipment?

Help!  Thanks!  For all my fellow east coast friends, be safe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Superstorm" of issues

As we await Superstorm Sandy and prepare for power outages, it seems as though many of my students are taking the opportunity to use their electricity and watch their first tutorial.  When I checked my email yesterday, I had a number of emails from students saying that they could see the tutorial, but not hear my voice on the tutorial.  I then sent out a mass email to all of the students with an attachment to the presentation, so at least they could view it.  I also emailed them the google form to record their answers.

This is by no means the way I wanted this to go this first time around.  However, I tried to rectify the situation by sending them the presentation via email.  We'll see how it goes!  As for now, I'm hoping Sandy's storm surges don't flood my home!  Stay safe, mis amigos!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Problems that arise

Already encountering some problems.

I figured this might happen.  The first, one student couldn't create an account with  So I emailed the customer support and they got back to me fairly quickly.  

Next, while previewing my slideshow with my class today, to show them what to expect and do, I couldn't hear the audio.  I then realized that the way I had done my voice over was different, so the students would have to download the presentation, and then they can hear me.

So far, that's not bad.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!  Today I unveiled the task of watching the slideshow at home.  Things that I told them they needed to do were:
1)  Create an account
2)  Download the slideshow
3)  Watch the slideshow
4)  Take notes while watching the slideshow, which I will check in class on Monday.
5)  Lastly, fill out the google form that follows the tutorial.

While explaining this method to the class, I noticed that I saw some sparks in some eyes, not the usual glazed over look.  A sign of good things to come?  Let's hope so!  Stay tuned!!!

P.S.  I got my t-shirt and certificate in the mail today.  I am officially flip certified!!

Putting it into action.

Now what?  I have made the power point on the Preterite tense verb conjugations.  But I also need some sort of online source or requirement that lets me know that students have viewed the page.  I decided to make a Google Form that, I easily, posted right below the tutorial that the students will view. 

The Google Form
It is more of a guided practice sheet that will allow the students to answer specific questions regarding the tutorial.  It then takes it a step further by making them apply what they have just learned in the tutorial.  It took me maybe 10 minutes, if that, to create the Google Form.

I know have the tutorial, the Google form and all of my students email addresses to invite them to view the tutorial.  For homework tonight, they will have to watch the tutorial and answer the questions that follow. 

If all goes well with my pilot classes, I may consider doing this more often.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My first baby "flips"!

I forgot to mention in my first blog what exactly is a flipped classroom!!  Essentially, "flipping" your class means students are watching tutorials that I have created at home, online.  The tutorials consist of me teaching a particular topic.  Therefore, the instruction happens at home and not in the class.  Students then fill out a guided practice sheet that either accompanies the tutorial or is given beforehand. In class, students are actively engaged in practicing the topic they learned.

One of the major benefits of this type of instruction, so they say, is differentiated instruction.  Through the use of Google Forms, I can gain a better understanding of what students do or do not understand from my instructional tutorial.  I can reteach a topic to a group of students, one student or the whole class, depending on the feedback.  (I became flipclass certified through  It's free and takes a total of 2 hours to go through the course.  Fairly painless!  Plus, you get a certificate and a free t-shirt!!)

So now for my baby flips:
Step one: Decide which class to use this new practice with and which topic I was going to teach.

I decided that I would try this out with my Spanish 2 classes for a couple of reasons.  One, because they are very conscientious students and I believe that they will actually watch the tutorials.  Two, because the topic I was going to present was on Preterite tense verb conjugations.  This is the past tense and they are already familiar with how to conjugate verbs and the conjugation chart.

Step two:  Make a tutorial.

I anticipated that this was going to be a very daunting task.  Surprisingly, it wasn't.  I did have to make a power point presentation that teaches the Preterite tense verb conjugations.  While I was making the power point, I knew that I wanted to have a voice over.  On our new Mac Airs, there is that option to record your voice as you go through the presentation.  I tried to keep in mind how I would normally present this information to my students if I were speaking in front of the class.  One of the biggest points that I have heard or read is that you don't sound like a robot!  Speak as if you were in front of the class.

Step three:  Upload the tutorial.

This was fairly simple.  The website walks you through the process nicely.  Plus, the benefit of is that you can keep all of your tutorials in one place.  (I should be getting some money for mentioning this website so much, no? :))

¡Hasta pronto!

My Introduction to "Flipping" my classes

"Flipping"?  Um... ¡no gracias! What is this?  Will I have to do flips in front of the room?  Or will my students be "flipping" me the finger?  (Well, maybe.)  At any rate, I had absolutely no idea what this classroom practice was all about.  I had heard several people speak of it, I had read some things about it, but I wasn't completely aware of what "flipping" my class entailed or what I would have to do.

Ugh!  Something new!  Quite frankly, with the new evaluation system, I didn't know if I could or wanted to learn something new.  But, after 10 years of teaching, I felt as though I needed something to keep my teaching interesting.  I initially heard about the flipped classroom on Twitter.  I dove a little deeper with some google searches and came upon the website.  I saw on this website a treasure trove of tutorials created by educators, such as myself.  I watched a few of them and honestly, I was overwhelmed!!

So, I decided to sign up for a free webinar.  It was hosted by and the speaker was Crystal Kirch, a math teacher and department chair in California.  She had only been flipping for one year and the amount of work that she had done was both impressive and overwhelming.  I went away from the webinar feeling excited, scared, and apprehensive about starting this practice.

Where do I begin?  What resources do I need?  Will I have to get a grant from EGEF to buy any special equipment?  These were all the questions swirling around in my head.  Some of the buzz words and terms were like learning a foreign language (ha!).  But, seriously, where do I begin?