A Little More Flip in the Classroom

School has started and we have moved another subject into the flipped universe. It is going to be an exciting year.

Last year as my team discovered and researched the flipped classroom, we decided to jump in with one subject, vocabulary. What an immediate impact in the classroom. We filmed a few videos a week for half the year and had the students watch them and work on the vocabulary at home. The students preferred it over the homework we had them do before. The parents commented on the attitude of the students and how it improved when we made the switch. The parents enjoyed watching the videos with the students and they learned a little also.

One thing we did not notice was improved scores on their tests. They moved a little, but not as much as we thought. We did notice that we moved faster in the classroom as we discussed the words and went a little farther into a discussion about the words. Our days became less hurried during the language time. We found more time to add in a few activities. Test scores increased a little, but the discussions became deeper and our class time was used in a different way. That is a bonus.

Seeing the success of the vocabulary, we flipped spelling towards the end of the year. A short lessons about the words each week cut down our talk time and moved us into a more vocabulary and pattern based activity with the words each day. Students started to understand the parts of the words, see the patterns, and not complain each night about doing their word sorts. We saw a little increase in their spelling scores, but the biggest increase was our time to work with the words in class. Another success.

So now we head into this year. Vocabulary and spelling are short subjects that make up a piece of our language in a day. We have decided to go with flipping our math program this year. That will be big. We sat down and planned out our days and the home learning we will be having the students do. Each night the students will watch a short math video while taking notes from the video. Students will look for key words and concepts and in the end write any questions they might have. If there are no questions we want the students to write something about where they would use or find the concept in their lives. When they come into math class we will start with a short assessment question about the concept in their video. They will collaborate with their team to come up with the answers. After our discussion we will review the vocabulary and questions students wrote down from the video. we will them move into the work or activity portion of the day. Students will take the lessons further, find answers, work on activities and play games. If needed, students will also be able to practice within a small group or individually with a teacher to improve their understanding of the concept. At the end of the class we will all come back together and review some of the concepts we have worked on previously. Students will work collaboratively on all assignments.

This is a big step into the flipped classroom. We are looking forward to the extra time to discuss and practice the concepts with students. We are excited at the possibilities of what we will be able to do. And so here we are in the first week. The hardest part of the whole thing is the change for the teachers. Changing our schedule and rearranging how we teach has been tiring. We are moving into new territory. We have been so excited to do more flipping in our classroom. It is worth the extra work and change.

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