Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Flipped Classroom

At the ECIS Technology conference, I attended a workshop on the flipped classroom and was fully intrigued.  The presenter, Heather Martin, teaches Middle School English.  She creates grammar and writing videos for her students and posts them on her You Tube Channel.  Her kids watch a video for homework and respond on a Google Document.  Then, in class, they work on application activities involved in writing, editing, revising etc.  Here is one of her videos:

Mrs. Martin isn’t the first teacher to use a flipped classroom model.  The first flipped classrooms began to show up in the 1990’s and now are showing up all over the world.  In a flipped classroom, all or some of the homework is a video or online simulation that “teaches” what you would normally teach in class.  Then, in class the kids focus on activities, projects and practice problems that would generally be homework.  This way, there is nobody sitting at home stuck on how to figure out a math problem, or even worse practicing doing it wrong. 

After the conference, I decided to adopt a flipped classroom method for my math block.  Two days a week, my students have “video homework”.  I don’t have time to make all of my own videos (although I have a few particular videos I’m planning to make over the summer).  However, there are SO  many videos already available, that I have found what I need for the rest of this school year.  The majority of the videos my students are watching have come from the Khan Academy, which is an online library of over 3,000 videos on tons and tons of subjects.  Other good sources of online videos include: Knowmia, Engvid, Teacher Tube, EDTed, NeoK12, and Math Playground.


All of my students’ homework is done through Edmodo.  So, on the days that my students have video homework (Friday and Tuesday), I post the video link into an Edmodo post and ask for them to watch it and then respond with a good quality sentence or two about what they learned.  Then, the next day in class, (Mondays and Wednesdays)we work on text book pages that would “normally” have been assigned for homework.  While they are working on these pages, I am right there to solve problems and answer questions.  I can spot right away if there are things that need to be better explained, or when they need a hands on example and I either pull them right then for a quick impromptu mini lesson or I plan one for the next day. Whatever students do not finish in class that day becomes their homework on those days.  image

On the days where my students haven’t had a video homework assignment the night before, my students work on their Problem Solving Paths, or Math Projects – like the Balanced Checkbook project we just finished.  Again, I am right there to help guide them.  This is the time of the week where I plan specific mini lessons on things that videos won’t cover or on topics that I have seen the kids get stuck on during class time.

Friday is assessment day in my classroom.  We flip flop Fridays.  One week the students will have a traditional test or quiz.  The next week, the students will work on creating a video about one of the topics we have been working on.  My students are currently using the Explain Everything App to create our movies, which we actually paid for.  (If you are a regular reader, you know that I pay for as little as possible, but this one is worth it!)  We have also used Educreations, which I also like.  Explain Everything has 2 big advantages.  1.)  It breaks the presentations down into slides and each slide is recorded separately, making it easier for students to edit their work.  2.)  Videos can be exported as a .mp4 file, and then can be further edited or added to other movie projects. Here is one of the videos my students created this week:


I have found that watching the videos for homework has also made my students more aware of what they need to have in their own videos.  They also spend time critiquing each others’ videos.  While creating videos isn’t necessarily a part of the flipped classroom model, it goes very nicely with the ideals.  Here is a cool iconographic I found that explains the flipped classroom model well.Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

My students are loving the flipped classroom concept, because to them it feels like they don’t have homework.  I am loving the flipped classroom concept, because I have more time to work with them each one on one.  The parents are loving the flipped classroom concept, because they get a chance to “see” how I am teaching and explaining concepts and can be more of a help to their children during homework time.  Since I have many international families, who may have completely different strategies for math (See my post on the many ways to do Long Division.) – this is an extremely important part of the flipped classroom.

Have you considered flipping your classroom?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources