Thinking about the Flip

This month I have been looking at the design of the flipped classroom. I have a new classroom for science and I am currently leaving a structured co-teach format that did centers ALL THE TIME. I loved the class, but it was too structured, too regimented, and I wasn’t able to do much else other than the centers. Next year… I will not have this. Our school is also are going 1:1 Macbooks next year, so I really want to make the most of our technological edge to help my students? I loved that the students were the ones working, and I was around helping, monitoring, and engaging the students in conversation on the content.  My question is: How do I keep this in MY CLASSROOM, use the technology, teach the students the content, and get it all done in one period per day? Besides prayer for a time lapse in my room I was still looking for ideas.

Enter the Flip-

Some may have heard of the flip before, but what it means basically is that the students can learned the basic bare-bones Acquisition learning in the comfort of their domain. Then while in school, we spend time applying those skills, practicing, and creating new learning based on the structured learning at home. Make sense? At it’s very basic idea, it seems like I can pigeon hole this premise and dismiss it without a second thought. Questions that I had are:

  1. What if the students don’t watch the videos? How much freedom should be given to students in this regard?
  2. Make my lessons into 5 minute videos? What are they going to learn in 5 minutes?
  3. Do I have to make videos for every lesson? How much time do you think I have?
  4. How do I structure my room? I’m used to being the center of attention?
  5. How do I structure my units? Is it whole class? Centers? Student pace?
  6. What does assessment look like? Formative and Summative?
  7. How are the kids held accountable?

But something in me decided not to be overly critical, but to entertain the idea and see how I can make it work. As I researched this I began to see how this could be a solution. Further research in Blogs, videos, and conference articles have helped me research these tough questions, many of which were topics of keynote speakers at their conference in Colorado in 2011 and in 2012. Soon I felt confident enough that I even talked to my principals and superintendent on the premise and probed them on it. They RAVED about the idea and were absolutely “pumped” that a teacher was coming to them to try this out! I am personally excited at the new path, but to travel down it seems daunting. I have 1.5 months left in the summer, and all I have to my name is research… not a lesson, week, unit, or video of progress to show for it.  I will try to take on each question One at a time in the next weeks on this blog.

The last thing I read which really made my head spin after hours of reading on the model was this, “It’s not all about the videos.” Think about that and I’ll be ready to fire away later on this week on question 1, “What if the kids don’t do their homework (watch the videos)?”

Links if you want to read ahead:– A blog by one of the pioneers of Flipped education, Jon Bergmann

Flipped Classroom Network– A social network dedicated to educators pursuing the flipped model.


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