Getting Started: How to Flip Your Classroom
I’ll start by saying that I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to my new teammate. I have been curious about flipping my classroom for years, but didn’t completely understand HOW to do it. My new teammate has been doing it successfully for years, so I finally gathered up the courage to do it myself. So, what is a flipped classroom, you might ask? In Four Paths to Successful Online and In Person Teaching and Learning, the National Math and Science Initiative defines it as:
“In a flipped classroom, students prepare to participate in class by watching video lessons, reading articles or doing other tasks that inform the activities that will take place during class time. This concept was originally designed for a mix of in-person instruction and homework but can effectively be applied to remote learning.
This method allows students to spend more of their class time working on applications of what they learned in their homework, even if the class time is remote.”
If this approach is intriguing to you, you should start by choosing an online platform for video instruction. We use EdPuzzle. I like EdPuzzle because there are already TONS of original videos to use, so I don’t have to spend time creating videos. Checkpoints are embedded and include a combination of self-correcting and short answer questions that are easy to grade. However, it is a paid resource. It is 100% worth it to me because it’s a HUGE time saver. A free option that could work well (but would require much more prep time) would be YouTube instructional videos combined with self-correcting, Google form entrance tickets.
Even a 10 minute, whole group mini lesson is not “mini” enough for some students. Regardless of whether your mini lessons are consistently phenomenal or not, there will be students who are not “quite there” with you. I have found that by assigning mini lessons as entrance tickets for homework, two things have happened:
- Everyone actually DOES their homework because they have to do it to understand what’s going on in class;
- I know who needs extra support and practice when students walk in in the morning.
“What about students who have lots of extracurricular activities, don’t have internet or a computer, etc.?” you ask. I allow them to do their homework at school because it’s important – it’s not just extra practice or (dare I say) “busy work”. It’s a crucial part of their instructional day.
Workshop Time at the Kidney Table
I start our workshop time with a very brief overview of their “must do” and “may do” assignments just to get them oriented, and then send them on their way to get to work. I have 2 small groups at my kidney table every day and we spend that time applying what they learned in their mini lesson. What I love most about this model is the extra time I have to work with my small groups. It’s really invaluable.
Workshop Time – Independent Work
So, what’s everyone else doing? They are working independently on assignments and tasks that include my tried and true centers.
- If they weren’t able to do their homework, they start there.
- We have our 3 district approved sites for math – DreamBox, ST Math, and Khan Academy – and our site for reading is Lexia. I also use StoryWorks for reading. Students have assignments to complete. They receive feedback as they work, so they are able to complete those assignments independently.
- Hands on and digital centers: Choice Boards, Escape Rooms, Games, Mazes, Picture Tile Puzzles, and Color-By-Code, to name a few. Here’s a sample.
I’m sold on the flipped model. My students are getting more small group and individualized instruction than EVER with this one minor tweak. If you have any additional questions for me, please drop them in the comments. Happy teaching!