How to flip your classroom

So, you’ve decided to flip your classroom! Congrats! As stated in my previous post, this does NOT mean you need to flip every lesson or every unit – especially if you’re in an English classroom. Some content works better “flipped” than other topics, so make sure that you are thinking critically about what should stay in class and what be pushed to homework.

 

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What information should I “flip”?

When deciding what information works best in a “flip”, you should consider following Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s policy for “Backward Design.” 

  1. Think about your unit goals and standards. What do you want the students to ultimately learn?
  2. How will you assess students’ understanding to make sure that they have achieved your goals? What will your evidence be?
  3. What learning plan will allow students to work towards your goal? Plan learning experiences and instruction.

IF, you believe that you have a lesson that could be taught and assessed at home in order to best help your students achieve their learning goals, then THIS is information you should flip!

Questions to consider:

1 – What skills do students need?

2 – How will I know they learned those skills?

3 – What questions do I need them to start thinking about?

4 – What skills can be best taught on video?

5 – How will I encourage them to ask their own questions?

6 – What technology do I need to learn about?

7 – How can I tie the homework I assign to the lesson the next day?

8 – How will I accommodate technology struggles?

9 – How can I promote student independence?

How do I film a video?

Full disclosure: filming a video is not easy! Deciding to flip your class 100% of the time would be absolutely crazy because creating content takes planning and time. Instead, think of one or two lessons that you can flip every month and build up your video base over the years. Additionally, consider finding videos that already exist and either inserting clips of yourself or designing your own questions.

Useful tools

For filming, a newer iPhone camera typically works just fine. Make sure that you stabilize your phone or camera so that the video clip is not shaky (Linked is one of the best Flipped Videos on Youtube I came across – an introduction to Brit Lit). For math, science, computer, or history folks, Kahn Academy has a wealth of videos that you might assign or use as examples for your own videos. Flippedlearning.org has a great article on 12 ways to create your digital content.

Think about where you will upload your content. Sites like Ed Puzzle allow you to upload content and ask students to answer questions on the site. Then, you can assess students’ answers and give them feedback all in one place. Or, you might upload to YouTube and send out a Google Form for question responses.

iMovie works as a basic editing tool and is relatively easy to use. You can insert music you own on iTunes, overlay photos on top of videos, and make voiceovers in the program. There are lots of YouTube tutorials about using this software.

Plan it out

The video you film will probably not be perfect on your first take. Every video-maker needs to develop their own “filming personality.” Filming with a friend can help with this because you don’t feel as crazy talking to a camera.

Script out writing and plan what clips you’ll film before you sit down with a camera. Refer to UBD strategies to ensure that you are teaching content that fits your larger learning goals.

Try to keep videos under 10 minutes! Break up topics so that students do not become bored and overwhelmed and include breaks where students pause the video and do some writing, Googling, or chatting with a friend.

Accessibility

As with utilizing any form of technology of the technology in the classroom, you need to brainstorm roadblocks that might come when you decide to implement a “flipped lesson”. Perhaps, you need to campaign to your school’s library and computer labs to stay open before and after school. Consider sending out an email to parents to allow them to access flip content. Additionally, subtitles are extremely useful, particularly for students who either are hard of hearing or need to watch the videos in a public place where they cannot use sound.

For students who do not have internet access or cannot download videos at home, think of ways that they can still access content. Perhaps, offer an opportunity for students to bring in a flash drive each week so that you can download video content for them on the school wifi.

Time stamps are also a useful tool that allows students to refer back to particular parts of the video without having to scroll through the entire thing.

How do I make the video engaging?

Before, During, & After Activities

In order to keep your students engaged throughout the video and ensure their understanding, you must ask them questions or ask them to take specific notes during the video. Flipped learning doesn’t just “happen”. Students should have actions they take before viewing the video, during the video, and after the video. Tell students ahead of time how much of a time commitment you expect from them. This shows students that you respect their time and allows them to plan ahead of time.

Using technology to encourage communication

Troy Cockrum has a great post on how he uses technology to help his students communicate with each other. Consider having your students complete weekly blog posts and comment on each other’s writing. Word Press is FREE and encourages multimodal learning because students are practicing writing skills and basic web design. Flip Grid is another way to assess students’ understanding. On Flip Grid, the teacher can create an “educator” code and request video submissions from students on a particular topic. Students can also make videos commenting on each others’ content. Video making allows students to practice public speaking, assesses understanding, and incorporates multimodal features.

How do I know that I “flipped?”

Because I do not yet have experience “flipping” my own classroom, I sought out a list created by a well established flipped classroom teacher and blogger, Cheryl Morris.  

Check out her post for a wealth of information.

Morris explains how you know that you’ve flipped as follows:

–your students are excited about learning, and their curiosity drives the learning, and possibly even the content
–you use technology when/where appropriate to do direct instruction
–you change how you structure class time so that students can work with the expert (the teacher) in the room
–you help students see real-world connections between what you’re doing in class and what they’re doing outside of class, and what they will need for their future
–you find that you know your students better because of the increased amount of meaningful contact you have with each student

Ultimately, there’s no “right way” to flip. What matters most is student understanding and self-reflection. If you find that you can make “lower-order” learning more engaging through assigning it at home in video format and it opens up class time for higher-order thinking, then do it! Always utilize student feedback and assessment scores to help you design your lessons. I’ve also come across bloggers who also have their student make content videos – I love this idea! #Sharethelearning

What comes next?

Tying learning at home into class

The topics covered at home in “flipped” videos need to be made applicable to work done in the classroom. Before watching, students should know how long the assignment will take, what they are learning about, and what information they need to come to class prepared the next day. Hopefully, the video is something that they will return back to at a later date.

At the beginning or end of each video, provide a list of questions or ideas that students should begin thinking about before your next class. Homework is not only a continuation of what happened the day before but a preparation and precursor for what they will learn about the next day. 

Any tips for me?

If you’ve come across this post and have tried flipping your classroom or plan on flipping your classroom, I would love any advice you have! When student teaching next semester, I definitely plan on flipping the occasional lesson and seeing how the students react.

If you would like to check out the Youtube video I made for this project, you can check it out here.

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