Saturday, March 26, 2016

Flipping for Flipped Classrooms

What do you know about flipped classrooms?  Interested but not sure where to start?  Incorporating something new into an already challenging and overwhelming profession can feel daunting. Taking little steps makes it easier while providing a major impact on learning and time management.

Flipped classrooms are one of the newest "trends" in teaching.  It allows students gain information outside of the classroom and, in turn, frees up time in the day for more in-depth discussions and real world applications.  

Step 1: Choose one subject.

I think math is the easiest subject in which to start flipping your classroom.  You can find all kinds of great tutorials from Khan Academy to Virtual Nerd to Math Antics on YouTube.  Be sure to watch what you'll be giving your students to watch all the way through to determine it doesn't become too complicated by the end.  If you're not finding something that "fits" (or you're feeling brave right off the bat), try apps like Show Me or Explain Everything.  These allow you to instruct (speak) while you write on the screen.

Step 2: Talk to your students.

Explain to your students your thoughts.  Be honest with them--you want to spend more time interacting with them and completing more "fun" tasks rather than instructing on every skill.  One way to do this is to give video tutorials as homework instead of the traditional work they're use to.  Students will take notes and record any questions they have while learning then bring them to class the next day.

Step 3: Next Day's Class (part 1)

Have a meeting with students to debrief what the video was teaching them & make an anchor chart full of the questions that they have.  Some will need to be address right away while others will be covered as the unit progresses. (This is a great way to get kids curious and engaged in the unit!)  Review anything that is clear misconception for all students.

Step 4: Next Day's Class (part 2)

Here's where it gets fun!  If you run a math workshop, you have more time for centers and small groups that need those review skills.  This is also a great time to get students started on real-world applications/projects that use their new skills.  If you run a more "traditional" class, this is where you give students 4-5 problems to work through on their own, then review as a whole group.  I'm NOT a proponent of homework, especially in math, as there are too many cases of 100% on homework and then failed tests since work is corrected at home.  Giving students 4-5 problems to work through in class is ALWAYS more than enough to see who is understanding and who needs more instruction.

That's really all there is to it!  We've been flipping math class all year now that we are 1:1, and EVERYONE loves it!  The students comment on how they feel like they're set up with some knowledge before coming to group, and I have time to meet with more students--both small group and individually.  We are able to spend more time playing games and creating cool projects that keep the students much more engaged than ever before!  We've doubly benefited from flipping our classroom as we use e-learning for snow days.  Students are used to receiving some information virtually, so full online days are a breeze for all!

Let me know if you try these tips and what you think!

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