I have spent the last few years researching, attending conferences and talking with teachers in order to learn more about the flipped classroom. Last year, I incorporated aspects of the flipped classroom into my 6th grade science classroom. The thing I love most about the flipped classroom is that there is more than one way to implement it into your classroom. Todd Nesonley (@TechNinjaTodd) said it best in this week’s EDIM 516 video chat, “We all take and bend and meld it to what fits us, our comfort zones and our students.”
I set up my flipped classroom in stages and slowly gave my students more responsibility for their own learning. We started out the year by watching the videos together as I modeled the best way to engage with the videos, write down questions, and pause/rewind when needed. We used learning contracts, choice boards and other learning tools to make the classroom an active learning environment. Samples of these can be found at http://www.techwithmichelle.com/Flipping_the_Classroom.html. As we progressed through the year many students would watch the videos at home and come to class ready to ask questions and begin interacting with each other and the content in different ways. Some students really struggled with watching at home for different reasons including lack of technology, inability to understand the content without teacher guidance, or a simple lack of interest. These students often watched the videos when they came to class. Some students preferred to watch in class and would often pause the video to ask questions and get clarification before continuing. Sometimes I would need to sit with the student(s) as they watched and tell them when to pause so I could explain important vocabulary and discuss examples to help them create connections to the content.
As with most new things, I expected some parent resistance. I created a flipped classroom video for my parents that explained what we would be doing and why. I stressed that this method made it possible for me to differentiate for student needs and to interact with all of my students daily. The parents actually looked forward to the videos as the year progressed. They told me they felt a part of our classroom because they knew exactly what their child was learning.
Not everyone is a fan of the flipped classroom. My assistant principal and I were discussing this earlier this year. What happens when a child struggles to learn from the videos or refuses to watch them? The teacher is the solution. The teacher has a variety of roles in the flipped classroom depending upon the needs of the students. The flipped model is what you make of it and you adjust strategies and instruction to meet the needs of all your students. The flipped model actually gives you the gift of time to interact and have discussions with your students during class time.
I did not flip my classroom this year. I switched school districts and grade levels and thought it might be overwhelming for me. Planning for instruction in a flipped classroom takes a lot of time but you definitely get that time back as you interact with students during class time. I am in the planning stages of flipping my 7th grade science classroom next year. I will be the first teacher to use this method in my district. I expect some resistance from students, parents and even some fellow teachers, although my administrators are completely on board. My first step is communication. I need to inform my incoming students and their parents about the flipped classroom, the reasons I am using it in my classroom and how I will meet the needs of all my students.
Since the flipped model can look different in every classroom, it is very difficult to define it. This video does a great job of explaining what the flipped classroom is not.
Sophia.org has a great flipped classroom certification which takes you through different tutorials to understand this method of teaching. The book Flip Your Classroom by Jonathan Bergmann (@jonbergmann) and Aaron Sams (@chemicalsams) is also a great resource.
What is your perspective of the flipped classroom? Do the Pros outweigh the Cons?
Flipped Classroom Conference in Allen, TX – July 2013