Friday, May 11, 2012

Should I "jump right in" next year?

One of the biggest questions I have for myself is HOW I am going to introduce the flipped classroom to my students next year.

Should I just jump right in from day one and start flipping lessons the first week, just expecting students to come on board and figure it out?

 Or, should I slowly get them used to it, transitioning them from traditional to a fully flipped class?

Before I say what I am thinking right now, I wanted to share what my students had to say.  I asked them this question:

How should I present "Flipped Classroom" to my students next year?  Jump in from day 1? Slowly teach them how it works?  What do you think would be best?

From My Algebra 1 Students:
  • I think you should slowly teach them how the flipped classroom works because if you do it on the first day, they will get overwhelmed and it will be confusing to them. This is a hard decision because I think both ideas are good. If you jump in on the first day, it will help breaking the habit of the regular classroom. Also, the students might be excited to be doing something new.
  • I think you should tell them about it on day one but begin it after school has been going on for a while. Show them the difference and they will most likely like it better because they can go at their own pace. Not only that you will be able to see who can take responsibility for their own actions.
  • Show them some of your videos from this year to give them an idea of what to expect and slowly teach how it works.
  • Yes from day 1 so by the end of the year they can keep up with the program. 
  • Talk to them what is a flipped classroom and tell them the purpose of the flipped classroom. You can show them examples on your computer or take them to the lab and show them on school tube.
  • I would tell them like you told us. only because it helped. BUT you should also teach them more on how to do it. (watch the video, do the W.S.Q)
From My Math Analysis Honors Students:
  • In all honesty the best, I feel, to do would be to slowly teach them how it works for Algebra classes but for M.A.H classes jump right into it and give them a little explanation on how it works.
  • I think you should just teach Flipped Classroom like it is the normal thing to do because that way, there is no transition, just something they would feel is normal.
  • Slowly teach them how it works. Its a huge change.
  • I think you should jump in from Day 1, but go through the process with them each day, just so they know exactly what to do. I think it'll be easier that way, because the videos and WSQ have gotten much more easier and simpler to do than our old methods (summary in notebook). 
  • Teach them how it works explain procedures and be flexible for about the first week but from then on you can't give much room so that they stick to the schedule and so they can be accustomed to the new system as quickly as possible.
  • I think you showed slowly teach them about flipped classroom because they might not be used to a flipped classroom being taught traditionally the previous year. You should slowly enforce the flipped classroom by giving them the easy concepts to do at home and so they get used to being taught through a video.
  • I would say jump in from day 1 and teach/introduce "Flipped Classroom" there. That would be best, I think, because it gives them no reason to compare traditional to flipped. Personally, I have been comparing my experience from your traditional to our flipped teachings. If you had started flipped right from the start, I would be more aboard (It's because I liked your traditional teaching).
  • Slowly teach them how it works. The first few units do not require a flipped classroom; therefore, it would be more beneficial for them to get used to the idea that they will be using this system from that point on out.
  • I think it would be best to slowly introduce the "flipped classroom" so that students get used to the idea the way we did. I think it helped us get used to the idea of a flipped classroom and to learn the different things required of us.
Right now, I am thinking about jumping right in.  The comments in RED above are the ones that really resonate with me.  The expectations would be in the syllabus and from day 1, students would understand what this class would be like and what they need to do.   There would be no comparison to traditional, and all the routines and procedures taught at the beginning of the year would be in line with the Flipped Classroom.

With that, I would start the year with a lot of modeling and training - more for my Algebra 1 kids than for my Math Analysis kids.  I need to model HOW to watch a video and learn from it, how to take good notes, how to write a good summary, how to ask a good question, how to participate in "5 minute WSQ chats", how to manage their time in class, how to self-evaluate and know when they are ready to assess and move on, etc... lots and lots of modeling!

I'm hoping to not change as much next year as I did this year.  Because this was all new to me, I did keep trying new ideas, tweaking things, etc. this year, which did cause some confusion (on the part of me as well as the students) and some frustration.  While I do want to continue to tweak and adjust next year to best meet my students' needs, I am hoping to have a better idea of what I want to do and how I want it to look so my students don't get so overwhelmed with constant changes to the system.

I'm thinking things of doing things like this to teach/model:
1. Watching a video on the projector together as a class.
2. Taking the class to the computer lab and having the students watch them during class time while I walk around to monitor, model, and guide students.
3. Modeling WSQ chats similarly to how I did at the beginning of the year this year.

From the beginning of the year, I want to start:
1. Involving parents and gaining their support by having students call home when they do not show up to class prepared. [Idea from Tom below: Create a student/parent contract that clearly outlines the expectations for all involved - teacher, student, and parent].
2. Trying to figure out schedule-wise how to avoid assigning videos on the weekend.  Or, really emphasizing the fact that students need to be responsible, plan ahead, and work at their own pace.  Just because I suggest that a certain video be watched a certain night doesn't mean that video can't be watched ahead of time if the student doesn't want to watch a video one night due to any reason.

Do you have any thoughts, tips, or advice?  Please share in the comments!


  1. As you mentioned, I think starting from Day 1 is important along with plenty of modeling and communication with parents. If you haven't developed one already, consider a student/parent contract outlining everyone's responsibilities within the flipped model. Great work!

    1. Hi Tom,
      I really like the idea of the student/parent contract. I have the "letter" that outlines some of the expectations, but I think the more clear it is laid out and agreed to, the better. Thanks for the idea and for commenting!

  2. Do you have a sample of a student/parent contract that outlines responsibilities?

    1. No "formal contract" yet, just the letter I sent home this year. I will be putting something together this summer and will share here :)


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