Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Flipped Classroom

At the end of last year I discovered "the Flipped Classroom" by stumbling on a recorded webinar by Crystal Kirch (forever thankful for that day!) and over the summer researched and planned and surfed and tweeted and watched webinars all in an effort to better differentiate and engage my students.  
I had lots of different visions of how my classroom was going to "look" and the actual procedures that I was going to teach them the first week.  However, I was bringing in a lot of new elements-flipping, ISNs, and layered curriculum!  I was a nervous wreck...I truly believed that these things were sound, solid ideas that would benefit my students, but I wasn't 100% convinced that I could pull it all off (especially being only a 2nd year teacher.)

Now I have to preface this blog post with the fact that it is still the beginning of the year, and I don't know how this will all translate to actual student results which is the only way to gauge if this is a success or not.  But I can tell you what I have let this evolve into feels so natural and RIGHT that I want to share a few things that I am doing.

My Take on Flipping
So first off, my homework is not a video lesson.  The video homework consists of only a very important concept (stolen from Katie Gimbar) which is the big idea of the concept, the main vocabulary and a quick example.  I screencast a powerpoint and even tell the kids that it isn't a terrible thing if they don't listen!  All they have to do is copy the slides onto the right side of their interactive student notebook! Basically I wanted to free up that portion of class time.  Some copy slower than others, some don't pay attention etc. and I wanted to make sure they had an organized notebook to study from later.
The next day I put up a do now based on the concept.  Remember I didn't "teach" them how to do it. I allow them to work out the problem by themselves and they can use the notes they took, usually a few of them have no problem and they share with their table.  When most are done we go over it.  I have one of the kids who got it right away "teach" it by sharing what they did. 

Table Talk
Next I have them spend 5-10 minutes discussing the topic from the video, how it relates to the do now, and what difficulties they might be having with it.  I walk around and listen and ask each table some questions, including having them show me how to do a similar problem (may introduce white boards next week)
We did a foldable type activity with both grades, but what I noticed is it only works if I have 1:15 with them. I only get that one day a week for each class on different days.  So I will be planning something for each concept but only those whose 1:15 falls on that day will do it and the other classes will do their first practice set on the left side of the notebook.

Layered Curriculum
After the talk it is off to work!  They have folders where they keep the assignment sheet I posted here and all of the work they are working on.  As they are working I check their ISNs to make sure their notes are taken and complete (homework check) and then start asking the higher order questions, meeting with students to assess and discuss their progress.  This is the real golden part of the class.  This is the time where I pulled that kid from my other post and got to work with him.  And that was only one class, there were other successes that day in other classes too, just being able to guide the students and really head off any misconceptions right away was so wonderful.  The tiered assignments are really great too.  I have kids that work at so many different paces and levels and to have stuff ready for them to start working on is awesome, like I said they are just working their butts off the whole rest of the time!

Some of my concerns:
  • They are focused and working hard-is it just because its the beginning of the year and this is new?
  • Will everyone get their assignments done by the end of the unit?-its still too early to tell.
  • I feel like I am reaching my 8th's at a deeper level than my 7th's is this because they are smaller classes or because I know them already?
  • Finally, will this result in retention of the concepts which I have found to be the biggest problem with my students?  I actually had a student tell me "aw Mrs. Nehila, I washed that outta my hair two weeks ago!"-I was like "What???!!!!") 
That's where I'm at so far.  I'd also like to say that not everything was a 100% perfect.  There were some things in there last week that didn't work, mostly with timing like the foldable activity and a video mishap that I don't even want to share!  I guess that is why we reflect and revise constantly!


  1. Hey Robin, I like your blog and approach to flipped classroom. I am in your shoes as well, 6th grade pre-ap math with open enrollment which means I need to differentiate A LOT. I did not have a chance to read all your posts but will do in the next couple days while I plan my own flipped classroom. My goal is to be able to spend more time with each student while they are practicing either the skill or higher order thinking problems depending on their level of mastery. Good luck and keep blogging please, sharing our experiences is extremely helpful.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a detailed description of how you are implementing a flipped classroom. You're obviously very passionate about it, and you've put a lot of effort into planning it. I'm not all that familiar with this style of teaching myself so I look forward to reading more about your experiences this school year. Best of luck to you!

  3. Thanks! I really hope to keep blogging about my experience. I am terrible about keeping up with my blog once school work starts taking over my life LOL!

  4. I just sorted your blog for the blogger initiation and had to read it because you have ! in your title. Haha - I'm infamous for putting those in almost every post (read, made fun of). I'm just so excited! Anyway, I LOVE the idea of having the kids copy the notes at home! I teach 6th and some of them write so slowly. What a great idea!! Thanks so much for sharing. What a great in-class time saver!