Saturday, March 10, 2012

Class Time in the Flipped Classroom

I really think that how class time is used in the Flipped Classroom will "make or break" it's success.  

It's not about the videos - it's about the in class time it frees up to work more hands-on and one-on-one with our students. 

I have been trying different things this semester (trying not to change it up TOO much, though - gotta get the students used to something before always changing it!).

My students have daily and weekly expectations for what they need to get done.  Here are a few weeks of a  sample "WSQ chart" that guides them to get the work done.  Right now, they have to keep up with the pace of the class daily to get the grey boxes signed off by me daily.  They turn in the charts at the end of every week for points towards their grade.  If a student completes the assignment by the end of the week but "late" in terms of what day it should have been completed, they only receive half credit.

Question on this: 

  • Do you think if I just gave students weekly deadlines with "daily goals" of where they should be each day, that would lead my students to procrastinate more?  
  • Or, would it motivate them more to get all of the assignments done?  
  • Sometimes if a student "misses" an assignment, they just move on and don't make it up because they would rather get full credit on that day's stuff than late credit on the previous assignment.  
  • My concern with doing the weekly deadlines (instead of daily guidelines) is that more students would be on different pages every day.  However, this would lead students to finding people to work with who were more on their page.  It could also allow students to work ahead, or students that are struggling to NOT move ahead without mastering the previous content.
Maybe I'll try it... thoughts? tips?

Basically, during my class right now, students are doing a variety of activities.  95% of the students are on the same lesson each day right now, although some students do work ahead to the next day during the second half of class.  I have one Math Analysis student who is about two weeks ahead of the class, only slowed down by my ability to make the materials since this is my first year flipping.

These activities include:

1. Discussing "key questions" given to them as a guided summary to go along with the previous night's video ("Summary" portion of the WSQ).
2. Discussing the question they asked on the video last night (sometimes something they understand, sometimes something they don't understand).  If their group can't answer the question well enough, I can help out. ("Question" portion of the WSQ)
3. Working on "Practice Quiz" problems for the concept they watched on video the previous night.  They are given all the answers and are supposed to be checking as they work through the problems to make sure they are doing them right.
4. Taking quizzes on specific concepts.  If they can pass the quiz before they finish the entire "PQ", they can get "waived" from completing the rest of the practice.
5. Watching videos they haven't watched or working ahead for the next concept.

Some cons or issues I have already noticed with my system as it works now:

1. Many students are okay with "crappy answers" and won't delve deep on their own - it takes me sitting and talking with their group to actually think.  I can't do that with every group every day.  I want students to learn and start doing this on their own without my guidance, asking for my help as needed and not to babysit their conversation.

2. Some students are overconfident and try to receive the "waiver" for the concept before even trying any of the PQ problems.  They are looking to do the LEAST amount of work possible.  If they totally understand it, that's fine, but I do believe there is value in a certain amount of practice.  Should I require a certain amount of the PQ be completed before they can try to get the waiver? (50% of the assignment is what I am thinking...)

3. Many students don't flip the page over and check their answers, so they just work on the assignment wrong.  I don't know how to make it clear enough to them that they are wasting their time if they aren't doing it right and don't ask for help!

4. Students are still used to the "old educational system" where they just need to go through the motions and "complete" assignments without really learning or mastering it.  My quiz system helps with this, but there are still some students who never get around to taking the quizzes...what do I do with them?  In an ideal world, I wouldn't let the students take the Unit Test until they have passed every concept quiz (makes sense, right?), but I don't have an unlimited amount of Unit Tests created.  Creating multiple (8-10) versions of the quizzes is easy, but it's a little tougher to make the Unit Tests (and then grading them would be a pain!).  Thus, students are told when the test is, and it is at least a week after they have finished learning the material (and we've moved on to the next unit), but some students still don't get around to taking the quizzes.  Not sure why...

What does your class time look like?

What concerns or problems do you see with your class time that you are trying to find an answer to?

Please comment and share, so we can all learn from each other!


  1. Hi. I just found your blog and I love it. We are having some of the same troubles. I am using videos in 4 of my 6 classes. I love it. I love that there is extra time, but now I have to make better use of the that time. I have a suggestion for you. Do not give students credit for homework. My grade is all tests and quizzes and it has dramatically changed my classroom. I also am asking more difficult questions on quizzes so the students need to understand the difficult concepts to move on. I have found that students are doing homework understand the concepts.

    1. Hi! Thanks for your thoughts. Tests and quizzes are worth 90% of their grade; hw/cw/projects/etc is worth 10%. Our school won't really allow me to have 100% tests and quizzes, so that's how I have scaled it. I think most of my Math Analysis students have realized that the practice is what is good for them and they are doing it to learn; my waiver system is helping out with that. I say "most" because there still are some that are so "well-trained" in passive education that they haven't figured it out yet. My Alg 1 kids are the ones struggling the most with it. I hope to continue to see improvement - we have 12 weeks left in the school year! Thanks for your comment :) What levels and classes do you teach? Do you blog anywhere? How long have you been flipping?


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