Monday, January 30, 2012

3 most important things to think about when considering "flipping"

Today was our "Duty Day" between semesters to get our grades submitted and get ready for the second half of the year. We had a couple of meetings and short trainings where I got to have some GREAT conversations with others teachers that I don't see very often about flipping my classroom. Most of them only know about it because I sent out a pre-survey to the leadership team about what they knew about the flip so when I present on Wednesday I know where my audience is coming from. I guess they just couldn't wait to hear about it! This makes me even more excited to present on Wednesday!

I spoke with two English teachers and two Science teachers who all think flipping the classroom is a great idea. None of them have tried it themselves extensively, although two of them have tried it in one-time or modified situations and didn't necessarily know where to go with it.

I believe that "flipping" can be done well, and I also believe it can be done very poorly. I hope to be able to express on Wednesday how "flipping" can be done well and hope to see more teachers at my school trying it!

Here is my list of the most important things about "Flipping your Classroom" that need to be conveyed when talking with a newbie. This is my list as of now, a teacher who has about four months of experience and still has a lot of learning to go...

A lot of these thoughts are not necessarily my own original thought, as I have done a lot of reading and research on flipping and don't know where I originally read most of this :)

1. It's not just about the videos. While I believe the videos/podcasts/vodcasts/whatever you use are a VITAL part of the flipped classroom, using this instructional model is MORE ABOUT what it allows your actual classroom student interaction time to be like. If in-class time does not change drastically, that's a problem. Read about "5 reasons why flipped instruction is more than video" here.

2. In order for "flipping" to be beneficial, the focus of class time must shift from the teacher to the student. This goes along with #1. It is very easy as teachers to be used to being the center of attention. If flipping is going to work, we've got to get over that. Let students be the talkers and thinkers, with you right by their side to steer them in the right direction them, correct them to stay on the right path, and to support them in their learning.

3. It will take time to figure out how the flipped classroom works with you, your teaching style, and your students. I have my method (the WSQ) that works really well for me so far with these students. I don't know if that is what my flipped classroom will look like three years from now or ten years from now (I'm sure I will continue to modify and adjust as I figure things out, I'm still a newbie!). I read about what other teachers are doing and take pieces of their ideas to add and make better what I am doing in my classroom. It's constantly being refined, just like any good teaching practice. The same goes for any teacher starting the flip. Most likely you won't figure the perfect way of doing it right away.

The best advice I can give to a teacher considering the flip is summed up in these three points above - focus on using the video to help shift your class time to focus more on the students and their interactions, learning, thinking, and questioning...and realize that it won't always be perfect but you'll figure it out along the way - didn't someone say that learning was supposed to be messy? :)

What would YOU add to this list?


  1. Have your students read, write and discuss during your class time. You will know more about what they know than ever.

    1. Yes, very important as well! :). What do you do specifically in your class to have that happen?


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