Now home and having a chance to decompress, I’d like to reflect back on my week at the KFP Summer Institute. Two unofficial themes of the week were “face in the fire hose” and “tired but inspired” and I feel like they have followed me home. The week was marked by quick sessions on a variety of different topics, ranging from grade-less classrooms, flipped videos, education policy, and classroom management. It was definitely a fire hose of information, but I found 95% of it useful for my own classroom. This is a different feeling than normal PD opportunities I have been provided at my school, where I would typically walk away feeling as though roughly 30-50% of the material I was given was useful for my classroom. My school is slowly moving into a teacher choice model for PD, but this week was mostly geared towards my choices and what I believe would be best for me and, more importantly, for my students. One thing that I thought was especially positive about this PD was how much came directly from classroom teachers. We were able to share the best parts of our classrooms and our experiences with each other to build a collective wealth of information. My conversations with other teachers in what they did in their classrooms was one of the most positive experiences I have ever had.
“Tired but inspired” has led me to shift the literature review I have to complete this summer for a graduate course towards the flipped model of teaching. I feel like I have opened up a new fire hose in doing so, but I am sorting through a number of research articles of the flipped model of teaching and learning in physics classrooms in order to draw out best practices. I implemented the modeling pedagogy in my classroom this past year and I greatly enjoyed the deeper conversations my students had regarding physics. However, some of the content benefits from direct instruction over model building. The direct instruction aspects as something I am looking to “flip” for my students so that we can focus on the problem solving and model deployment in the classroom. The KFP summer institute inspired me to look more into flipped classrooms and my graduate course is giving me a framework with which to organize the resources available to me, both I hope will lead me to deliver better instruction to my students this year.