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August 26, 2011


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Hi Marsha,
This is such a great post because you've captured that first step of letting go and realizing it not only works, it's better! Thanks for sharing this!
Kind regards,

Kathy Shields

This post might have been named, "A New Kind of Flipped Classroom" (ref to penny discovery) I enjoyed hearing your thoughts about sitting in the background restraining yourself from trolling the room. This is counter intuitive and certainly would have raised eyebrows if admin appeared for an evaluation and had not been part of the SNB training. We are expected to sashay through the classroom as an integral part of the learning process, drawing students out, encouraging them to engage in higher order thinking. This new way, like a shiny penny, appeals to my sense of curiosity. It is my goal to get students thinking/working independently too. I have been stressing responsibility and citizenship. So what I am taking away from this is my need to prepare students for this kind of experience by teaching and guiding them in developing excellent team work, communications skills and highlighting the importance of listening in the discovery processes. I hope you will continue to share your observations of this process.


Yay! Bravo! I know you must be terribly pumped!

I hadn't yet posted an answer to your comment on my blog. And I didn't need to-- you found out for yourself!

Yes, it's hard but whoa, when what you describe occurs, the natural rush is extraordinary isn't it? for both you and for your students.

I absolutely love the story of your young man--

What's next? I can't wait,


Dear Kathy,
You bring up an excellent point and one that I thought about when I wrote the post. I wondered if people would think I was just lazy by sitting at my desk.

Hopefully, like you, they would realize that I did all my "sashsaying"(love that phrase) before this activity and that I was allowing them to practice what I had taught them. It's not easy if you're used to jumping in and helping at every turn.

That said, I will admit that two or three of my pairs were floundering so badly that I did invite them up to my desk where I showed them what I had observed and written on my note card. I asked them if they knew what to do to improve before the hour was over, they said yes and went back to their work and kicked it into gear. Only 1 pair out of the 135 kids that I saw yesterday never really got it together. I think that's valuable information, too. Clearly this pair will need some extra guidance and I will have to be more involved in their training. But I fully intend to allow them to test it out AGAIN on their own until they learn how to do this.

Kathy, I wish you well on your work. This is the hardest work of my science class. Loving science content and passing that along to students is easy by comparison to getting them all to a state of independence and critical thinking. Maybe we can partner up and help each other? Thanks for adding your comment.

Becky Bair

What an amazing opportunity for your kids!

I'm hoping to take that course starting in October because I know that it is the next step for me. In the meantime, can you tell me a little bit about the introduction you did with your kiddos before you let them go? This is definitely my weak point, and would love the hear your thoughts about what worked in this case. Thanks!!


Dear Becky,
The introduction is actually something that has lasted for 2 weeks. We started off by groups of 4 people finding things they have in common that would contribute to being a team. We did the typical activity where they brainstormed and filled out a single piece of a class jigsaw puzzle (I just made it out of bulletin board paper). Then we worked on what strengths each class had as a team and where we needed to work.
The next week we worked on being a communicator...started with brainstorming ways, moved to body language, to charades and then how they could be a communicator.
Partnered all this with moving along on science content so it wasn't all touchy-feely stuff. Along the way, I asked any parent that was a scientist to write us a letter explaining how scientists use teamwork and communication....and we summarized all that in a blog post.
This was our test if all this talking helped them know what to do when we started.

Does that help?

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