I first learned about the flipped classroom model at METC probably 4 years ago, and immediately went to work researching … ok honestly Pinteresting like a madwoman … trying to learn about this instructional strategy. I was really looking for honest feedback on the flipped model from a teacher who had actually implemented the strategy. I wanted first hand knowledge … honest information and not the glowing information we often see … and experience from a practicing teacher’s perspective. Hopefully, these tips will be useful for any potential flippers!
Don’t Overdo It on the Note-Taking Documents
Yes, taking notes is an essential part of the flipped classroom…most classrooms, I’m sure. Yes, students should take notes on instructional videos, or at least participate in some activity that helps them track their own learning. However, I fell into a trap of devoting so much of my planning time to creating these brilliant and beautiful note-taking documents that I was left with little time to spend creating meaningful, higher level thinking activities that allowed my students to creatively apply what they had learned in the video. During the my first flipped unit, I created 6 instructional videos….the first unit is very content rich in Government! For each video, I created a SEPARATE Google Doc with activity. Every video had it’s own note-taking doc. What. A. Disaster. Imagine students trying to locate information on their notes…they had enough trouble just FINDING their notes, much less locating information they had included in their notes! What was I thinking?! First piece of advice: don’t overdo it on the note-taking documents. Wow.
Formatively Assess FREQUENTLY
We all know how vitally important formative assessment is in any classroom. How do we know what our students know and what they don’t know if we don’t know what they know? Do you know what I mean? 🙂 Formative assessment is probably even more important in the flipped classroom than it is in a so-called “traditional” classroom. Why? Simply because the flipped classroom model puts much more responsibility for learning on the student, which hopefully creates more self-directed learners. Tools like EDpuzzle, Kahoot, Quizizz, and Padlet are AWESOME for formative assessment in the flipped classroom, or any classroom!
It’s OK to Reteach – As Long As You’re Not Reteaching
I’ll be honest, I really struggled with this early in my “flipping” journey. One of the many reasons for implementing the flipped model was providing students with instructional material, in an “on-demand” fashion. So, when students would ask me to reteach a concept or explain it again, at first I got a little testy, thinking to myself, “did they really complete the instructional video and not get the content, or are they just not paying attention?” I quickly realized, however, that in “traditional” lecture environment, I often found myself not just repeating content information, but also rephrasing the content to reach the needs of my students. Sometimes, the first time you explain a concept it just doesn’t stick. To encourage students to ask questions about the content, I’ve created a Padlet wall for each unit we learn in class where students are required to post after viewing a video. They have two options on these walls : “I understand the information discussed in this video” or “I didn’t quite understand ______ from this vide.” I use this as a springboard for that class period to ensure that everyone is on the same page moving forward. This Padlet wall is posted in the “About” section of Google Classroom, making it easy to access.
Flexibility is one of the most amazing effects of the flipped classroom…in fact, it may be the best part of this strategy. The ability to spend more or less class time on important course concepts is an unbelievable feeling as a teacher. Even in a state tested area, I feel like I can slow down and actually “teach” my classes, as opposed to talking at them and hoping them process and then regurgitate the information. The flexibility of the flipped classroom has given me the opportunity to spend more time on the “fun stuff” that I would have never had time to do in a traditional setting. We can spend a week simulating the bill to law process. I can spend a few days modeling primary source analysis for my students. We can talk about the presidential primaries, and create products to help explain that process. If we need to spend a little more time on Checks and Balances, I can do that, too. (This is always a tricky concept in my classroom!) Do your students have reliable Internet access at home? Would you rather have your students view instructional videos in the classroom? Check out how my “In-Class Flip” works, and how it could benefit your students here. Flexibility is a great gift of the flipped classroom model.
If you are toying with the idea of flipping your classroom, give it a try! Leverage available technology to enhance the learning environment for your students. If you have any questions about flipping, shoot me an email or tweet @Bethany_Petty.