Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Note: I would highly suggest you check out these sessions yourself as well, because what stood out to me may not be what impacts you the most! :) 
Register for virtual access to all these sessions here.

See previous posts about #flipcon12 here:

Wow. My brain is fried after this afternoon! I don't know if I'm more exhausted sitting at home staring at my computer (and typing notes) or if I was actually in Chicago interacting with people all day. I'd much prefer the interaction... does that mean I need to plan for... (drumroll please...)

Flip Con13! June 17-19, 2013 in Stillwater, Minn.

I sure hope so! It's way too early to make plans, but I'm definitely jotting that date down!

Okay, so for the afternoon sessions I was able to see Andy Schwen, Steve Kelly, and then Brian Gervase and the panel.

Tomorrow I'm not sure which sessions I am going to see because I planned my whole calendar before learning that not every session is streamed every day for us online folks :( So, some of them I had planned to watch today I can't watch until tomorrow, but that takes the place of ones I wanted to watch tomorrow... oh craziness. Oh well :) Anyways, I'm going to have to wait until next week to listen to some of them. The only thing I DO know is that my morning starts at 6:30am Pacific Time... it's gonna be an early morning!

Okay, here we go:

Andy (@mrschwen)  did an amazing job of presenting all the stuff he has created with Google Apps. I was seriously sitting here with my jaw dropped trying to take in as much as possible.  I will probably have to rewatch his session after going through all the stuff on his website.  I definitely couldn't play around with any of it while he was talking!

If I can figure out how to make this work, this could be amazing...I already use Google Docs for a lot of things, and that is how my students submit their WSQs online - it would be so great to streamline everything and do so much more with the Google Apps stuff!

Here are some things that stood out to me, which is definitely not all inclusive of everything he talked about... (from Andy in bold, from me in italics):

Andy Schwen: Managing the Flipped Classroom with Google Apps
  • Giving students instant feedback
    • When students submit their assessments via a Google Form, it tells them right away how they did. It can also send the student an email with their results!
  • Lots of instructions and steps at mrschwen.blogspot.com
  • Two quotes
    • "I made this so we can get away from all the little things that pull us away from teaching."
    • "Make low level teaching things more efficient so that I can do high level things like differentiation with my students"
      • Yes!!! Streamline the "teacher tasks" so we can actually spend more time with the students!!!
  • Three more quotes :)
    • “It’s not about the score, it’s about understanding” 
    • “If a kid’s not ready for a test, it would be stupid to have him take it”.  
    • “You’re wasting everybody’s time by doing that”
      • He has the same mentality as me!! I have really found myself getting to this point this year, and hoping that my kids would understand as well. They are so used to getting a grade and focusing so much on the "A" or the "B" (or the "F") and not really thinking about "Did I understand this material?"
      • I didn't realize I said it so much until I had a couple students quote it. "I don't want to waste your time, Mrs. Kirch. I'm not ready for the _____ (quiz/test/etc)". I agree - it's a waste of my time to grade tests that are D's or F's. In fact, it takes me twice as long to grade a poor test than a great test because I have to go through and try to figure out where they went wrong and decide how many "points" to give them.
      • My one struggle with this is student motivation in making sure they push through tough content to get to the point where they do feel comfortable with it, no matter how long it takes them. I know a lot of my students would just say "I'll just take the F and move on", not realizing that all the content builds on each other and we want them to be successful at the later things, thus they have to find a way to master the smaller things. I saw this a lot with my "low-low" freshmen this year that I pulled out of regular class the last 6 weeks and had them working on remediation for repeating Algebra 1 again next year. I had some girls who spent the last month on chapter 1 (adding, subtracting, distributing, order of operations) and still got a 50% on the test! Yes, some of that is to blame on me because I didn't really work with them one on one too much - I had the rest of the class to worry about as well, but still... very low motivation.
  • We will always have those kids who will fall behind - homeless, parents divorced, etc
    • Kids are more collaborative
    • Kids allowed to do things when they are ready to do them - happens naturally
    • Kids appreciate the freedom
    • Challenge to move them to student-centered model, not being spoon-fed., but still got positive feedback from students
    • “I learned this year that I can teach other people and that I can explain things”
    • “I’ve never gotten A’s before in math” - and she should have been, and now she did! She thrived when she could do her own thing.
      • This was a great reminder that the Flipped Classroom is not the magic bullet. We (unfortunately) can't always reach every kid because there are circumstances outside of our realm of influence. How am I supposed to help the student whose friend overdosed over the weekend learn math in my class? A little too much on their minds besides my class...
      • HOWEVER... think about all the things the FC enables our students to do that traditional did not do a very good job at! Even though it's not the perfect "quick fix", it has so many great benefits. I couldn't agree more with the ones listed above that Andy mentioned during his session.
  • Video organization
    • Embed it as a chart in a google site (make public)
      • learning target, link, section in textbook
    • Has link to template on his presentation
      • Definitely want to look into this as a "catalog" for my videos. I hate YouTube playlists, and although I will be putting my videos on Sophia Tutorials and MentorMob playlists, I would love an easy to access, organized place, especially for students who like to watch it on YouTube via their phones - having them search for it directly from YouTube (even from my channel page, where the videos were in "playlists") was a few too many steps for some of my lower kids. The least amount of steps for some of those lower ones the better - that way you don't lose them on the tech side of things.

Steve has been teaching for over 20 years and has been transitioning to a flipped classroom.  It was interesting to hear his perspective as a veteran teacher, especially since I hate hearing about the FC being the "new hip thing" and teachers who say "why should we change what's been working for 20 years?"

Here are some things that stood out to me, which is definitely not all inclusive of everything he talked about... (from Steve in bold, from me in italics): 

Steve Kelly- Flipping out: Reinventing Yourself Using the Flip Model

  • “Algebra 2 has changed as a course ever since students were required to take it to graduate”
    • Doesn't necessarily have to go with the FC, but being a math teacher, I agree. Algebra 2 has been watered down and it's really sad :(. That's another story for another time!
  • “Teacher-guided-deadline-pace” … or you can work ahead!
    • I liked the way he phrased this. I'm not ready for mastery next year, but I am willing to allow students to work ahead if they are ready and meet the expectations. I still think I will be giving my students deadlines as they work through material. How this will work with Andy's comments above about students not taking tests if they aren't ready, I'm not quite sure yet. I guess I have another 7 weeks to figure it out :)
  • Have students create Prezi’s, Blogs, Glogsters, etc
    • He had some great examples on his powerpoint of some creative projects his students have done. I would like to look back at it and explore some of those ideas. When we allow students to be creative, we can prepare ourselves to be amazed!
  • Sell it to the kids like crazy  (SHOW THEM DALE’S CONE) why we are doing this the first week of school.  Show them WHY and HOW it fits with today’s day and age!
    • This was probably one of the biggest points that stood out to me from this workshop. I am definitely going to be using Dale's Cone in my explanation of the benefits of the Flipped class - with students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. I googled "Dale's Cone" and here are five images that I liked the most. Click on image for larger picture.

  • Changed from “what are we doing today” (from the students) to “what are you doing today” (from the teacher)
    • This is another one of those "shifts"... focus from the teacher onto the student.
  • It is mentally exhausting in class - it’s not going to make your life easier!
    • Important point to make to teachers thinking about the flip, as well as those observing the flip from the outside. It's actually MORE work, but the benefits are so much greater!
  • Class size makes a difference... duh! :) (16 vs. 34)
    • He mentioned that he had two sections of the same class, one had 16 kids and the other had 34... and of course the class of 16 did phenomenally better than the larger class. I only wish that we had the funding to keep class sizes smaller. 34 was my smallest class this year. Usually mine are between 37-40. I don't say this as an excuse, but just as a hope that one day people will figure it out and push for smaller class sizes! We can do so much more if we give our students more attention. Now, the flipped classroom helps me give much more individual attention to my students than traditional, but if I had even TEN fewer students, it would be exponentially better!
  • Just a link to his State Board of Education video on YouTube I saw a few months ago
  • Room for improvement
    • better classroom discussion
    • “Social cards” - social discussions ?? ask about
    • Video cleanup (especially near end when I was making so many at once)
    • More options for differentiated instruction (tomlinson)
      • Most of his comments on "room for improvement" were also things I want to improve on. I want to constantly improve my classroom discussion and find ways to keep all students engaged and involved.  
      • I'm not sure what he meant by "social cards", but it sounded interesting. If anyone understood exactly what he meant, please comment!
      • I do want to work on video cleanup as well. My husband is THRILLED I won't have to be making videos all year - but I do want to go back and edit a lot of them. And some of them just need to be redone. But, I need to limit myself, just due to time. I'm not going to be able to make them all perfect. I'll never be satisfied. I agree that near the end of the year some of my videos got a little "rushed" and not as clear or detailed because I was just trying to get through them
      • Yes! Been talking about more differentiated instruction for months. Excited to see what I find this summer. I'm assuming the Tomlinson he was talking about is Carol? http://www.caroltomlinson.com/
  • Woodworking example - shape it into what you want it to be. There will still be rough edges and it won’t be perfect... but it will be yours!
    • Great visual to end with. My flipped classroom will look different than your flipped classroom (CYOFF - Create your own Flipped Formula by Emilia Carrillo - check out her blog at http://spanish4teachers.org/flipblog/). And that is okay, in fact that is how it should be. The flipped classroom is not a methodology "follow these steps to get it right" - it's a mindset shift and how it's applied in the classroom will look different in every classroom.

Brian is a high school math teacher.  He spoke briefly about the importance of communication (with everyone!) with the flipped classroom and then moderated a panel of two students and a Educational Technology Specialist.

Here are some things that stood out to me, which is definitely not all inclusive of everything he talked about... (from Brian or students in 
bold, from me in italics):

Brian Gervase - Panel moderation of students, administrator, and parent
  • Communicate!  People want to know what is going on.  If all you tell them about is the videos, that’s all they are going to think is going on!
    • Such an important key to remember. Sometimes I struggle with describing what a flipped classroom is to someone who has no idea what it is or who is not in education. I need to come up with a better "quick definition" that puts very little focus on the videos.
  • "you'd be hard pressed to find someone that thinks flipping your class is a bad idea" It's always about what's best for students
    • When people fully understand what a flipped classroom is, I would agree with this statement. It's the people who are misinformed that find all sorts of faults with it.
  • “one thing I would write down” - don’t go and talk to your administrator without having all the answers... have all your answers prepared when you go in to talk to them!
    • Great point. I feel like I only knew a bit about the FC when I presented it to my admin, but I did have my intro letter typed up and that explains a bit more than the videos.
  • Cycle: Video assignment → practice/discussion → deeper problems (which we never usually get to!) → Quiz → start over
    • It was nice to hear a high-level math teacher's perspective on the flipped class cycle, especially since I'm not ready for mastery (and don't know if I will ever be... we'll see with time!!)
  • Move away from working with “classes” and start working with “students”
    • Students are our focus! This is why we do what we do!
  • great point: since we are re-inventing math due to common core standards, we might as well reframe them around the flipped class model--via Brian Gervase.  FLIPPED CLASSROOM and the 10 STANDARDS FOR MATHEMATICAL PRACTICES go together so well!! “Makes too much sense to me”
    • The first time I heard about the 10 standards with the new CCSS, that is EXACTLY what I blogged! I was scared at first about the CCSS and what that would mean for my classroom, but now I feel like it fits in so well with the FC! See them here.
  • “We can’t just bring in more technology - we need to create a compelling WHY”.  Least favorite phrase “integrating technology” - we don't just want to “plug the technology in!”.  
    • We don't just use new technology because it's cool or because we have it - it must have a purpose... WHY are we doing this??

  • “How long did it take for you and your peers to grasp the big concept of the FC?”
    • At first, the whole class was on the same schedule
    • Takes a couple weeks to get used to it.
    • “No more homework” (or regular homework that is)
    • Teacher showed step by step how to go through the video and answer the questions at the end.
      • Interesting concept about presenting it to students as "no more homework"... I guess I would agree "no more 'what you are used to' homework"... but they still have to do stuff at home, at least in my class right now. I don't know if I want to say that to them because many of them would take it as "I don't have to do any work/thinking outside of class!"
  • Katie Bergman really feels like she “deeply learned” and “retained” information from the flipped classroom
    • Yes!!!!!!! I am nervous/excited to see how my students do next year in their non-flipped math classes. I hope that, if anything, using the FC and making my students actual discuss and work with the content differently makes a difference!
  • Tips to teachers
    • make videos shorter (10-15 minutes, 20 tops). 5 is a little short
      • Brian is re-doing his videos completely now for Year 4. One topic per video, focusing on the 5-6 minute range
        • My video limit is 15 minutes for Math Analysis, about 12 for Algebra 1 (usually try to keep it to 10). I think that is a good amount, but we'll see how it goes next year. I double the video length for how long it should take my students to watch it, and that is pretty much what they told me in their end of year surveys as well (see those three posts at the top of the page here). Another 5-15 minutes for the WSQ, and that is the 30-40 minutes a night they should be spending. That doesn't mean I'm TRYING to make my videos that long - I try to make them as short as possible still giving the content needed. However, I do cut it at 15 max. I also (in Algebra 1 only) made supplementary optional videos that went over more examples for the students. I didn't do that much in Math Analysis, but I might add in new ones here or there. I'm planning on having the normal "lesson" playlist on Sophia.org (see sample playlists starting to be built for next year here) and then having "extra videos" and other curated resources from the internet on a MentorMob playlist (so easy to add to it with the Chrome Extension!)
    • Engaging part of class - letting Ss ask questions in class, interactive times
      • Notice it WASN'T "listening to the teacher!"
  • students who hate flipped classroom
    • students who aren’t going to do hw anyways... don’t have much sympathy for them!
    • straight a students who learned it for the moment to get the A on the test.  In the flipped classroom, you actually have to learn it and process it and think through it.
      • I would agree completely with these two comments. I'm going to have to learn to be fine with it. We'll see!!
  • "Flipped classrooms teach you curiosity - you have time for the quirky questions." - student panel
    • Love it!
  • --lost last 10-15 minutes (will watch on archive)
    • Sad times...

  • Random Twitter conversation:
     What r the top 3 responsibilities of the student in a flipped classroom and why

    @bennettscience 1) watch vid, 2) attention during class, 3) work tchr gives in class to reinforce.

    Sounds pretty simple, right?  ;) 


  1. Thanks for the write-up--it flew by for me too :) I was contemplating going to Steve's session tomorrow and definitely will now after skimming your summary. Looks like another good one!

    1. Thanks for the presentation! It was great to "see" and hear you in person after reading about all the awesome stuff you have done online! I am very excited to look into everything you talked about - seriously, thanks for all your awesome work and for sharing it with all of us!


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