Thursday, July 26, 2012

#flipclass webinar: Tuesday, August 14th 4pm PST

Join me in a webinar about the Flipped Classroom!

Hosted by

Flipped Learning Network Tour coming to California!

Please join me in this one-day Flipped Learning PD Workshop in either San Jose or Orange County!  Details Below...


The Flipped Learning Network ™ presents the Flipped Learning Tour – Summer 2012 in California  AND  you are invited.

Ready to head back to school with your class flipped?
 Sign up for a one-day workshop now and get ready to flip! The Flipped Learning Network (FLN) has partnered with  the ISTE affiliate CUE to host these summer training events.  

These workshops are highly-participatory; not the traditional “sit & get” events, come ready to dive right into the discussions, help create the agenda, and share your stories. Prior experience in flipping your class is NOT required, but a willingness to be open to increased job satisfaction, increased student learning, and some classroom chaos is mandatory!

Thursday, August 2 --Krause Center for Innovation,  San Jose, CA
Friday, August 3 -- Orange County Department of Education, Costa Mesa, CA

Join us for this exciting event with keynote and training by Jon Bergmann,one of the pioneers of flipped learning and co-author of best-selling Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day (ISTE/ASCD, 2012). California flipped educators – Crystal Kirch, Lisa Highfill and Will Kimbley – will also participate on panels and sessions.

TechSmith, lead sponsor of these events, is providing  each attendee with a license for Camtasia 8 and Snagit 11.  And Wacom Technologies is providing Bamboo tablets for hands-on demonstrations onsite.   Attendees will be sent a website link with a playlist of videos to watch prior to arrival.

Workshop fee: $199 for CUE members or $239 for non-CUE members.

Register for a California workshop now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My favorite things from 6 months of blogging

I spent some time over the last few weeks reading back through my blog. Yes, all 200 something posts. Gosh I wrote a lot.  

But it was very good to reflect during, and definitely after, my first year of flipping.  

As I went through, I picked out some posts that struck a cord with me still, and here they are:

  1. 3 most important things to think about when considering "flipping"

  2. Conversations and Observations - Every Single Student

  3. Truly differentiated instruction...

  4. 9 reasons why I'm a flipping convert

  5. John Wooden and the Flipped Classroom

  6. Why I Flip My Class (Student Quote)

  7. What would you tell a student next year?

  8. 3 month blog-aversary... What I have learned thus far

  9. A different type of final exam...

  10. Reflections on Week 19... It's finally summertime and I survived!

  11. 7/2/12 #flipclass chat: How will you start next year's #flipclass differently?

  12. Today in my flipped class (Pictures and Video!)

  13. Reflections on Week 5 (Freedom...a good or bad thing?)

  14. What would YOU say? (part 1) - MY ANSWERS

  15. Presenting the Flipped Classroom (part 3 - answers to teacher questions)

I also copied some quotes that stuck out to me that I wanted to remember as I start this next year.  Most of them represent "key moments" to me in my year of flipping.  They are all from different posts, so I apologize if it's hard to follow:


  • more "question and conversation" and less "checking to make sure they got their work done".

  • More interaction with WSQs online and reading each others!

  • When I presented the remediation, I gave the analogy of running a marathon (finishing the marathon is like passing the test).  I told them that if your goal is to run a marathon (pass the test), you have to prepare.  You have to train your body and your mind, or you will show up, try to run it, and puke all over everyone (fail the test miserably).  I told them we will be in training for the next 7 school days so we can successfully finish the marathon (pass the test).   The training will not always be easy.  Sometimes they won't want to come because they would rather relax, hang out with friends, etc.  But in the back of their mind, they need to remember that if they don't train, they will show up on the day of the marathon (the day of the retake) and it won't be a pretty picture.  I challenged them to think about that when their alarm goes off in the mornings (is it worth it to push snooze or will it pay off if I wake up now and get to school for the 'training' session) and after school (is it worth it to hang out with friends and socialize or will it just pay off to go to Mrs. Kirch's room and go to 'training'?).  

  • I want students to realize that if they do a good job on their WSQs and don't just write crap down (which right now, most of their summaries are simply crap - two sentences that come straight from the first few things I say on the video with little or no thought beyond that), the WSQs can be very helpful for them in many ways.


  • before you take a concept quiz, you need to have (1) watched the video because I do convey more important information than basic rote mathematical operations and examples - the stuff I describe and talk about, the connections I explain, etc are all important to the overall understanding of the material, (2) completed the full WSQ to really cement the information in the student's head in their own words instead of mine, (3) tried at least a few of the homework problems on their own to make sure they can do it without my help on the video.

  • I made a few important adjustments in the flipped classroom this week in terms of the expectations I have for students and their WSQ's: 1. Students cannot ask "yes/no" questions.  I was getting far too many of them and students were not thinking deeply about the concept.  So, I took a lot of my class time this week spending at least a few minutes at each group's table reading their questions and answers, probing them to think deeper, asking them follow-up questions, and then having them write their new answers down in their own words.  I wouldn't sign off their "Q" until this was done.   Students must use at least three math vocabulary words (mine are bolded below) in the "Summary" part of their WSQ and also in their answer to the questions.  This would change the previous question and answer to look like this:

  • I told them that I understood that things come up and they may not always have the video watched, but they need to show some sort of concern or care for their education and take responsibility for that action by letting me know in person before the tardy bell rings that they are not prepared.  I told them it was unacceptable to come into class not having watched the video and to then just sit there and not say anything about it.

  • One of my top students in Algebra 1 stayed after class on Wednesday to talk to me.  He was frustrated that I had to take class time out every day to lecture the students who weren't prepared and didn't think the "flipped classroom" was working because I just had to get mad every day.  He didn't think it was fair to him that I waste class time getting "mad" at the students who didn't care. I appreciated him feeling open enough to come and talk to me about it and offered some guidance and solutions.  First, I made him aware that I do look at the clock and no more than five minutes of class is spent on getting the class started and "kicking out" the kids who need to be talked to.  Second, I reminded him that the beauty of the flipped classroom is that you can work at your own pace - whether that be slower or faster than the students around you.  I told him that he is more than welcome to be working ahead and starting the assignments before I actually tell the class to get started.  He needs to participate in the whole class portions (activities, group discussions, etc), but otherwise he can be working on his assignments.  I told him that he can even choose to watch all the videos in one night if he wants and then just work by himself on the problems if he chooses.  He was (somewhat surprisingly) very happy and satisfied with my responses and very grateful that he sensed that the flipped classroom could really help him.  All in a 5 minute conversation!  I am hoping to see him start to stretch and push himself next week; we will see!

  • I get to spend about 4-5 minutes with each group (I have 9 groups total in my class, 54 minute periods) basically grilling them about the content.  I use their summary as a guide, but mainly focus on their math vocabulary words.  I ask them everything about them and have them go deep into the content.  I ask follow-up questions and continue to probe deeper.  The funny thing is, students think they can just carelessly highlight random math vocabulary words, but with this, they actually have to KNOW them, and know them WELL.

  • With that whole responsibility thing, I have found it very helpful to keep a visible "task list" on the standing whiteboard in my room to guide my students.  It lists out everything the students have to work on (in order by what I feel should be priorities).  Students constantly have things to do, and when they are done with one task, they move on to the next one.  It is a visible reminder to them of what needs to get done and what they can work on in case they don't feel like doing a certain task at that moment.  I am trying to give them as much ownership as possible, but still feel they need to be guided, and this allows them that freedom within my expectations and boundaries.

  • On a final note, on Thursday I did something new with Math Analysis.  Normally, the classwork assignment for Thursday would not be signed off until Friday, because if a few students didn't finish it for whatever reason, they would have to finish it at home in addition to the videos. However, on Thursday I told the students that they had to finish the classwork and get it signed off before 4pm that day or they would receive a "red line" (late credit) for the assignment.  I did this because I really felt a lot of students were not making good use of their time with the excuse "Oh, I'll just do it at home". (Then, of course, they complain that they have too much to do at home and I give too much homework!!).  They don't all know how to manage their time or realize that it is more beneficial to get it done now than to have to do it later.  Anyways, it went well and I don't think it is something I will do every day, because it did make several students feel very pressured and rushed, but every so often, I think it's good to throw it in there to keep them on their toes and focused.

  • I notice that I still have several groups of students in my Math Analysis classes:
1. The kids who are doing really well, get their work done, and keep moving forward to the next lesson/concept.
-I feel these students are fully taking advantage of the Flipped Classroom and it is so exciting to see them working hard and striving to be their best.  I am also able to have these students work as peer tutors and help their classmates if they are done with the work they want to complete that day.  It's like having a second me to help in class!
2. The kids who are doing really well, get their work done, and then just feel like sitting there doing nothing (and in my opinion, distracting the students who are still trying to work)
-While I'm glad the students are doing well and getting their daily work done, it does frustrate me that they are okay with "getting their work done so they can be lazy".  They could easily work ahead and never haveanything to do at home because they could get it all done in class, but they choose not to.  At some points, I have to ignore it.  However, this week I had three guys who I had to keep after class and talk with because they started to be a huge distraction to the other students.  That was Thursday, and today (Friday), they did much better of continuing to work the whole period.  I hope this continues.
3. The kids who are working really hard to understand the material and work the whole period, asking questions when needed.
These are the students I feel the Flipped Classroom helps the most.  These are the ones who normally got lost in a normal lecture because the pace was too fast or they needed more examples to understand.
4.  The kids who are struggling but don't really get it, and will only ask for help if you ask them directly if they need it.
I check in with these students often, and I hope that as we continue this semester, they grow more confident in asking for help themselves, taking full charge and responsibility for their learning.
5.  The kids who are greatly struggling, won't ask for help, and will say they are fine when you ask them if they need help.
I really don't know what to do with these kids.  I hope they come around by the end of the year...

  • 1. Should I require a certain amount of Practice be done before the "waiver" can be taken even if the students feel they get it?  This could be as simple as one problem they have to complete correctly on their own before taking the quiz.  Today, I did that for Unit O Concepts 7-8 - I put 3 specific problems everyone had to complete.  Then, there was the rest of the assignment for those who needed practice, but those who "got it" could take the quiz.

  • I still have concerns about how to teach my Algebra 1 students to watch a video to actually learn the material and not just copy the notes.  I honestly think only 20% of my students really know how to do this, but how do I teach them this skill??? I talk often about pausing and rewinding (and even fast forwardingafter trying a problem on their own that I work out for them), but how do you teach them to learn material on their own and actually pause it long enough to think about it and actually understand it rather than just copying the notes down.  I really think this is the root of many of my students' problems - they don't get the quality lesson I plan for them because they aren't willing to take the time to process and think about it.  They don't know how to tough it out and really learn something if it isn't easy.

  • My goals for my Algebra 1 students is that they learn that practice and homework is for THEIR OWN GOOD.  Their goal is to practice enough so they "get it", then test out and make sure they get it by taking the quiz (which they can retake if they don't pass), all to be ready for the big chapter test.  I think that even after just a few days, this is becoming clear to several of my students and I hope I continue to see progress.  

  • 2. "Ask 3 then me". Emphasize to students the importance of collaborating with each other before going straight to me to answer their questions.

  • I tried to make the connection for them between sitting in a traditional class mindlessly taking notes and sitting in front of a video mindlessly taking notes.  There is NO DIFFERENCE if that is what they are doing!  I find many of my Algebra 1 students will do whatever possible to just "get through" the video but not really think about it, ponder it, try to make it make sense, etc.  because that is what they are used to doing in all their years of education.  So, I tried my best to describe to them what the purpose of a flipped class is and how the emphasis should be on the fact that we can use class time more efficiently and effectively for their learning than in a traditional classroom.  If they don't process the information and do their best to receive and make meaning of the content in the video, our class time can not be used as well as it could.

  • Our students these days need so much more than knowledge of the subject.  They have to be taught time management, goal-setting, strong work ethic, value in education, motivation, how to focus, how to ask questions and advocate for themselves...

  • I don't feel like I can require every student to submit their WSQ online every night, because many students watch it offline.  However, if I don't REQUIRE that the WSQ been done online, I can see many students taking the easy way out and just staying with the written WSQ.  The only way I can counteract this is by requiring the WSQs be turned in, so those that handwrite them are still held accountable to the same standards.  I have heard some teachers (can't remember who, so if it's you, please tell me :)!!) talking about having students submit their WSQ orally like through a Google Voice number or something they could do with a cell phone call instead of needing internet access. I will need to look into that.
  • (2) Flipped Classroom Resources
This week I took the opportunity to present additional "Flipped Classroom" resources to my students.  After my "I'm sick of the videos" post last week that has been incredibly popular, I decided to look into additional resources I could provide my students and ways I could encourage them to look for resources for themselves.  I found several additional online resources (more videos, online step-by-step quizzes, etc) provided by our textbook publisher as well as a few other teachers' YouTube Channels that have great videos for Math Analysis.
Next year I will be putting together a list at the beginning of the year of all these resources so students know from the start where they should be looking for help.  There's really no excuse for them not to learn, and there are so many different ways they can learn that they don't have to ever get stuck in a rut and get "sick" of one method or another.

  • Also, since my Math Analysis classes have been flipped for a little over 3 months now, there has been a development in what class time looks like.  At the beginning the students need a lot more guidance and structure of expectations and good work habits.  Over time, I have found out ways to give them more freedom but still have them be on task.  I have definitely tried some things that haven't worked, so I am just continually trying to find more "keepers" to add to my list of what is working.

    • 27/03/2012 00:10:48 sundayfunday34 big mistake for me was not transitioning students well enough, didn't follow gradual release formula well enough. #flipclass
    • 27/03/2012 00:11:16 DeliaBush @sundayfunday34 start by watching the videos with them to model how to view them correctly #flipclass
    • 27/03/2012 00:11:41 Smacclintic @sundayfunday34 need to spend time on front end explaining reasons to Ss and being clear with their responsibilities #flipclass
    • 27/03/2012 00:12:20 runfardvs @sundayfunday34 I call it "potty training". #flipclass students need help getting used to expectations.             
    • My thoughts: 100% going to be one of my most important focuses for next year and I start with a brand new class.  I often tell myself "oh they'll just pick it up as they go through the year".  To a certain extent that is true.  However, I think I will alleviate some unneeded stress off of my plate by just taking the time to do that in the beginning.

  • Class time is becoming more useful as the weeks go by because at first I think (not just me but) everyone was happy because they would have "free time" to talk to friends but I have then began to take advantage of that time and do some problems so that way if I have any questions about it I can just ask the teacher and also it gives me a head start on math homework for that day. The point is that I've begun to take responsibility and been productive during math class. I really like the flipped classroom for that reason that I'll have help while doing my math homework during class. In addition to taking responsibility, it definitely has changed me as a student in a good way because I have begun to think differently about education and taking the responsibility to learn the material for yourself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

#flipcon12 Notes/Reflection table of contents

Figured I should finally publish this, since I've watched most of the sessions... still have several to get to at some point, but here's what it is for now!

See this agenda (in more detail) as well as find out how to register for virtual access to all these sessions here.

I also just found the link to the (free) YouTube playlist of some 2011 #flipcon sessions here

Pre-Conference, MentorMob Meet/Greet, and live #flipclass chat via google hangout

Brian Bennett
Brian Gervase & Panel
Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams

  1. Jerry Overmyer University of Colorado 
  2. Ryan Curtis Fort Smith Public Schools, Fort Smith, AR 
  3. Steve Kelly St. Louis, MI 
  4. Troy Cockrum St. Thomas Aquinas School, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, IN 
  5. Marc Seigel Middletown HS South, Piscataway, NJ 
  6. Andy Schwen Roosevelt Middle School, Blaine, MN 
  7. Kim Duncan Flint Hill School, Oakton, VA 
  8. Kim Darche Tarkington School of Evidence, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), IL 
  9. Anthony DiLaura Zeeland East High School, Zeeland Public School, Zeeland, MI 
    • Creating Interactive Flip Class Content with iBooks Author
  10. Mark Carlson Valley View Middle School, Edina Public Schools, Edina, MN 
  11. Joe Liaw Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale, IL 
    • Mastering the Mayhem: Using Moodle to Manage and Leverage the Flip   
  12. Brett Clark Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation, Evansville, IN 
  13. Heather Witten Elizabeth High School, Parker, CO 
  14. Kristin Daniels and Wayne Feller 
 Stillwater Area Public Schools, MN,
  15. Eric Watt and Suzanne Huntemann Carmel Catholic High School, Bolingbrook, IL 
  16. Ellen Dill Bellingham, MA 
  17. Anna F Brown Chicago, IL 
  18. Jennifer Gray Falcon High School, Falcon District 49, Colorado Springs, CO or 
    • Assessment in the Flipped Classroom
  19. Amy Larrison Gillan, Ph.D. Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 
    • Encouraging Student Teachers to Flip Out – Out in Their Placement Classrooms
  20. Dalia Zygas West Leyden High School, Northlake, IL 
  21. Dan Spencer Jackson Intermediate School District, Jackson, MI 
    • Flipping Professional Development 
  22. Dr. Sally Lindgren Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Burlington, IA 
    • GPAEA TV- Iowa AEAs in Motion!
  23. Laurie Aaronson ISD 197, Mendota Heights, West Saint Paul, Eagan, MN 
  24. Jac de Haan, Seattle, WA 
    • Invite your Students to Interact with Videos 

7/16/12 #flipclass chat: In Class activities

I found this in my drafts folder... guess I never finished it!  Here are some great tweets that stood out to me from the 7/16/12 flipclass chat

I need to make a video on "how to make a video". lol :)  I'll put it on my to-do list!  More importantly, I think when we start making them it will be important to have discussions about the video quality and what could be done to make it better so they are continually learning and improving.

Random webinar notes

Just some random notes from a few webinars I attended last week. Links and programs to check out

Simple K12 - Paula Naugle

4C's in math

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Bloomin' iPads by Kathy Shrock

FLN Podcast - Andy Schwen (hosted by Troy Cockrum)

Episode 7

  • "more kids have the ability to ask more questions" - andy schwen
  • "I see my kids growing up to be persistent in class, in difficult situations.  I want my kids to be successful after they get out of my class and I want them to have tools to get them there"
  • "Data is cool, but at the same time it's not everything"
  • What I think is most important "the anecdotal evidence in my classroom that I can't quantify" - Troy
Simple K12 - Erin Klein - Common Core

  • MasteryConnect
  • Utah Education Network
  • Watch Know Learn (engaging videos)
  • Study Jams!

7/23/12 #flipclass chat: Personalizing Learning

I got home about 5:30pm from vacation, thought about joining in, and then just decided to catch the archive.  This was a chat I really wanted to join in on, but time with the hubby won over (as it should...)  So, here are my thoughts and tweets that stuck out to me.

24/07/2012 00:01:00 KristinStrauman @runfardvs I also do not require video notes, but make it optional, just like other resources. Kids choose their resources.  #flipclass

  • As of right now, my students must take notes from the video.  I feel they still need that "assignment" to teach them how to watch a video for learning and not for entertainment.  It is also a way I hold them accountable for watching with my WSQ system.  As the year goes on, I would like students to start to use the resources they want to learn, which may mean they use the textbook, another website, a different video, etc for learning... but I still think I will require some form of notes.  We'll see as the year goes on.  Starting from day 1, I'm going to start off with everyone on the same page and doing the same thing, and then slowly allow freedom.  I feel that is an important transition as students need to be trained and not just let loose from day 1.

24/07/2012 00:01:06 KristinGregory7 Personalize with assignment checklists that will become menus next year #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:38:06 runfardvs #flipclass idea: "You Choose Assignments" - this is the learning objective - these are your options to show me you understand
  • This has been big on my "thought" list this summer, and after reading through Laurie Westphal's math menu book and a great Google Chat convo with Cheryl Morris, I've decided that I will probably start small with menus, using them as options for projects and not necessarily for the assignments for the whole unit.  The way I have my system set up right now, I just can't see it working as a normal every day thing for regular assignments.
  • I will be trying to throw in more informal "You Choose" assignments... so not full menus, but still allowing them a degree of choice in how they show me they know.

24/07/2012 00:01:53 jtague252 #flipclass since you talk to every student every day you know where they are and what they need.
24/07/2012 00:04:57 arnoldscience As far as the kids, the hope is while I may not have formal IEP for each or anything, that I make them feel like a PERSON not a # #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:06:10 ICETeacherSara @arnoldscience I agree, it's about connecting with each student and getting to know their strengths and interests. #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:07:45 arnoldscience That means to treat them like what they say matters, that it is ok to be frustrated, to listen when they talk, about anything #flipclass
  • This is one of the amazing things about the flipped class, and one we talk about often as "a reason we flip".  I really want to do a better job of personalizing learning in this way next year, knowing that every student is different and being willing/open to give the students what they need individually and not necessarily what everyone else needs.   It gets harder for me to do this as the year goes on and I get tired, frustrated with lack of effort from some, and just overwhelmed with the paperwork/meetings/etc of a teacher-leader.  But, I just need to be more intentional about it.
24/07/2012 00:04:13 KristinGregory7 1) Give Ss access to lots of videos/resources on the same topic and allow them to pick which.  #flipclass

  • I will be providing students with my videos, the textbook, and then a playlist of "curated" resources that I have found helpful.  In addition, students will be making their own "resource playlists" for each unit and posting them on their blogs (HOPEFULLY!!!).  I've made a playlist of "sites to find good resources/videos" for students to use as they begin to learn how to find resources online.  It's a work in progress, but looks like this right now: 

I also found one put together by Jackie Gerstein... haven't checked out all these sites yet.

And, I'm trying to keep track of my #flipclass friends' video sites that they have posted about so I can reference them when needed.

24/07/2012 00:07:57 KristinGregory7 The best part of flip is that face to face interaction that you have with EVERY student each day. They learn they can't hide #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:09:51 jtague252 @arnoldscience agree. And #flipclass gives you the time to connect with each student every day. Best use of face to face time.

24/07/2012 00:11:06 Mr_Driscoll Going to have all students blog this year. Hopefully will lead to more reflections/metacognitive skill building. #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:15:26 Mr_Driscoll @ArcherMHHS Blogger I think. Ss will blog about setting goals, progress monitoring, reflections, current events... #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:18:41 Mr_Driscoll @kls4711 proposed having them submit google form with post url and brief summary to help manage blogs. #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:18:56 reginaschaffer @runfardvs: @Mr_Driscoll you can set up a page on a site with all the rss feeds #flipclass
24/07/2012 00:20:54 runfardvs @reginaschaffer @Mr_Driscoll - @thenerdyteacher does an amazing job with Ss blogs. He made this vid about it #flipclass

  • Yay for blogging! I have yet to hear back from my district about any policies regarding blogs... I'm supposed to hear back this week so it's Tuesday and I hope it's soon! I'm anxious to get things started. I have a ton of ideas about student blogging that I posted about a few weeks ago here
  • I still haven't fully decided how to keep track of student blogs (assuming I'll get to use them). I'm thinking GoogleReader will work well, since I already use it daily. I will probably add a Blogroll to the class pages as well, so the most recently updated ones are on the top. I think you can also RSS subscribe to the comments on a blog, so I'll do that.

24/07/2012 00:24:42 KristinGregory7 Found that learning becomes personal to the Ss when they help their peers to understand material. #flipclass

  • A few key things from this:
    • "Ask 3 then me" - I want students grappling with the material themselves before coming straight to me.
    • Student created videos that are posted for others to use to help them understand. If they watch a video on something on Monday night, and a student understands it, makes their own video to post on Tuesday night, that video is now up for all students to learn from if mine was confusing! yay!

24/07/2012 00:33:40 mistermcintosh One way to personalize learning in a #flipclass is to allow some degree of self-pacing. It's tricky though. Some will take advantage of it.

  • I am planning on starting the year with everyone on the same pace.  As we get used to the flipped classroom, students will learn that they "can work ahead, but don't fall behind" to a certain extent.  I will be very interested to see how students take the initiative in working ahead... we'll see - this is definitely going to be a test run year for that!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Intro to #flipclass for parents

and... Here is the "first draft" of my "Intro to #flipclass" for my parents to watch during the first week of school.  I would love any thoughts, comments, and feedback. 

I know that I am talking pretty fast throughout the video (wanted to hit that 5 minute max!), so let me know if you think it detracts from the video at all.  I will be somehow providing the transcript of the video to parents, so they can read along or read through it afterwards if it goes to fast for them. (and of course, the beauty of the flipped class videos is being able to pause and rewind!!)

I am still planning on:
1. Getting the transcript (see below) translated into Spanish and adding captions throughout the video.

2. Editing my parent letter from last year (which is much more detail about what will be going on) and getting that translated into Spanish as well.  

3. Updating the "parents" site that is linked from my two class sites referred to in the video.  The video for my students from my previous post will be on that site for parents who want to see a little more.  I plan on recording a few more short videos for my students, such as "How to watch a video for learning and not entertainment" (based off of FITCH), "How to write a WSQ", "How to participate in a WSQ chat in class", etc... I will be putting all of those on the parent site as well to keep them involved and capable of participating in their students' education.


Hello! My name is Mrs. Kirch and I have the privilege of being your son or daughter’s math teacher for this school year.  I am really looking forward to getting to know each and every student and work with them in order to help them succeed.

The purpose of this video is to let you know what your student’s math class will be like this year as we transition to a new style of teaching and learning called the Flipped Classroom.

In a traditional math class, like the ones both you and I grew up in, students sit in rows or groups, facing the front of the classroom, and listen to the teacher present the lesson for most of the class period.  They are assigned a set of practice problems to bring home to do individually for homework.  Then, they come back to class the next day and follow the same routine.

I have come to find that this is not always the best way to help our students learn, for many reasons.  Let me talk about three of them.
1. Students all learn at different paces.  When I would teach a lesson to the whole class, there would be many students who did just fine. There would be many who understood it quickly and wanted me to move on, so they got bored. Then, there would be several students who learned at a slower pace and needed more time than we had in class to process the information.  In a traditional class, I was not able to reach all of my students every day.

2. Students often bring home practice problems for homework that they don’t know how to do on their own quite yet.  So, this means they either find someone to help them, they just write down a bunch of numbers to try to make it look like they did it, or they copy a friend’s the next day.  Either way, the practice problems do not help the student learn the material in any way, and it becomes a waste of time.  This is not helpful to our students or respectful of their time and effort.

3. Students miss class throughout the year for a variety of reasons, whether it be illness, sports, or family reasons.  When they miss a lesson in math, it’s a big deal, because the lessons often build on one another.  Thus, the student has to come in on their own time to learn the lesson, and the teacher has to re-explain the whole lesson to the student.  This is not an efficient use of anyone’s time.

All of these problems can be resolved with the flipped classroom. So, what is the flipped classroom?  I’m just going to give the very basics.  If you want to see or hear more, feel free to visit the Info for Parents section of our class blog.

1. What was normally done in school is now done at home, meaning students will get the lessons at home via video.  They can watch this on their computer, mobile device, or television if they need to. They take notes during the video, making sure to pause, rewind, rewatch, or even fast forward as needed.  They learn the lesson fully at their own pace and are in charge of their learning.  When they finish the video, they complete a WSQ, which makes sure the student takes time to process the information learned and writes down any questions or concerns they have.  You can read more about the WSQ in the letter that was sent home.  In addition, there is a live online study group students can participate in every night that is moderated by me. Students are not expected to master the material just by watching a video, but they are expected to understand the basics and bring confusing topics to class to discuss and get clarified.  

2.  So, since they get the lesson at home, what do they do in class?  This is the fun part.   Students will be able to participate in discussions about the math and get their questions answered by me and their peers.  They will still do most of the normal practice problems that they would have done at home, but now they have help whenever they need it, so they don’t get as frustrated.  Any questions they have are answered right away.  Because of the extra time we will have, students can now work on higher-level thinking activities, such as analyzing the problems, applying the concepts to real-world situations, evaluating their work and the work of others, and creating their own material to share.  It is a much more exciting and engaging environment to be in and students have an active role in their learning, rather than passively sitting back listening to me talk all period.  I am very busy throughout the entire class period, helping students one-on-one and in small groups, answering their questions and challenging them to think deeper.  It’s very exhausting, but so worth it when I see them begin to take responsibility for their learning and really master the material I have set out for them to learn.

I am ready for an exciting year of learning math with the Flipped Classroom.  I know that it is the best way I can give your student one-on-one attention every day and your student can grow not only as a math student, but learn skills that will help in the future as they pursue college and a career.

Please feel free to contact me via email or phone if you have any questions about the flipped classroom.  It will take your child a few weeks to adjust to the changes and the expectations of this course, so please continue to encourage them to give their best effort and to communicate with me any concerns or questions they have.  

If you want to know more about the flipped classroom, please check out the “Parents” tab on the right hand side of the class blogs.  Make sure to bookmark the class blog for easy access in the future!

I look forward to working with you this year and meeting you at Back to School Night on Wednesday, September 26th

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Introducing the Flipped Class to Students

After a long day of thinking, planning, editing, and revising, I have finally put together the "first draft" of the video my students will watch on the first night of school. (side note: It will probably be my final draft, unless I find some grammar error or something else like that)

My plan (so I have from now until August 22nd to figure it all out!!) is to do a few different activities the first day (different from what I've ever done before), and introduce the three "pillars" of the flipped classroom to my students before they go home.  Then, on the first night for homework, students will watch this 10 minute video, take guided notes (still have to make that up), and write down as many questions, comments, or concerns that they have.  Using the advice of someone wise on Twitter (sorry I can't remember who!!), I want to make this a CONVERSATION with the students where they feel ownership and feel they are a part of it - not just some directive I'm handing down to them.  I want them to buy in to what we are doing. the way, the three "pillars" are...
  • Three key "pillars":
    • students managing their own learning,
    • making the best use of our face-to-face time, and
    • using higher order thinking to drive our class activities.

Throughout the first week or so of school, we will take time to have discussions, ask and answer questions, and just clarify anything about the flipped classroom that needs to be brought up.  I'm not sure how this will look yet (whole class, small group, partners, etc), but I'll figure something out.

With no further ado, here is the video...

Before I made this video, I typed up a script... me reading through the script was 8-10 minutes (I tested it 3 times, with small edits and changes each time).  Then I realized... why am I talking about everything being student centered and there are no students in this video?!?!  So, I chose some key portions of the script to actually say, and let my students do the rest of the talking with interviews I had done with them earlier in the year. 

Here is the script of what I actually ended up saying, for those of you who like to "see" it:

HI everyone!  This is Mrs. Kirch, and I am very excited to work with you this year as we delve into another year of math.  This year, you will be experiencing a new way of teaching and learning called the Flipped Classroom.  This video will talk about what a flipped classroom is, what you can expect this year, and why we are making the change.  

Let’s start off with “What is a Flipped Classroom”?  I’d like you to hear from my students last year a little bit about the flipped classroom.

-- students--

The flipped classroom is a place that is completely student centered and focused on your needs rather than on me...but what does that mean, exactly?  How is the flipped classroom different than what you are used to?

In a flipped classroom, I am not up in the front of the classroom giving a lesson every day, because you watch the lesson before you come to class on your computer, tv, or mobile device.  A 45 minute in-class lesson is whittled down to an 8-15 minute video lesson, so you save a lot of time and are able to learn at your own pace, whether that be faster or slower than your peers.  You are completely in charge of your own learning and the speed at which you receive the information.

When you come to class, you are ready to discuss the material, ask and answer questions, solve problems, and apply your learning in a variety of different ways. I’m able to walk around the entire period and help you either individually or in small groups, clarifying misconceptions and asking you questions to make you think deeper about what you are learning.   It’s a much better use of time - and the best part is that  you have a ton of help around you if you need it! My role has flipped from spoon-feeding you the content on a daily basis to providing you with all the resources and support you need to master this math class - it is now your responsibility to learn it!

And that is exactly what the flipped classroom is - flipping the responsibility for learning and focus of the classroom time from the teacher to the student..  In a traditional class, students are very passive and expecting the teacher to tell them exactly what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how they need to do it.  The teacher is generally in full control of everything that goes on.
In the flipped classroom, the responsibility for learning is flipped to the student instead of the teacher.  While I will still be providing all the resources you need in order to learn, it will be done in an individualized way and in a way that allows you to be active learners both in and out of class.  These resources might be videos, websites, or other sources that I find helpful, and you will even learn to find resources on your own! Because you have all the information you need in terms of the lesson, you are able to learn the material at your own pace, in your own time, in your own place, rather than during the 54 minute class period.  The flipped classroom enables you to take full responsibility for your learning and for class time to be focus on your individual and unique needs.  And now, I have the time to focus on YOU and help YOU in the way that YOU need it.  That’s what the flipped classroom is all about - focusing on the student and helping the student to succeed in the best possible way.  You are the one that matters the most in our flipped classroom!


Some of you may be thinking, “This sounds awesome! Let’s get started!”  Others of you may be wondering why we are making this change?  You’re thinking, “Isn’t what we’ve done the last 100 years good enough?”  I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with being “good enough” - I want to be great!  Because of the flip that will be happening, we are now able to make the best use of our time together, help you learn how to manage your own learning, and challenge ourselves in ways we weren’t able to in a traditional classroom.  We can no longer settle with just getting by, playing school, and passing tests- surface level learning that is spoonfed to you is just not enough anymore.. I do know that any change is difficult, and it will be rough for you at first as you transition to the expectations of a Flipped Classroom..  But, I will be here every step of the way to support you and help you as you make this transition.  I know that even though it will be hard at first to get used to this new style of learning, you will be grateful for it in the end because you will have learned math much better and deeper than you ever have before.  The most important thing is to start off with a positive attitude towards the change and be open to learning in a new way.

To summarize, My ultimate goal is to help you learn.  I have found that teaching for 45 minutes and then having you go home to try problems on your own for 30-45 minutes was not the most effective use of my time with you.  So, we are flipping things around.  You get the lesson at home, take some time to process it, and try a few examples on your own to test your knowledge.  Then, in class, we can spend then entire period working together, asking and answering questions, solving problems, working in small groups and one-on-one, applying our knowledge, and helping you to learn, understand, and succeed.  I think that sounds awesome!

Wow, this was a lot!  At the end of this video, I would like you to write down all of the questions, comments, and concerns you have regarding the flipped classroom.  We will be spending time in class over the next week discussing what you write down, and this will help us work together as we make this transition and make sure that everyone will succeed.

Here is some stuff I typed up, but didn't end up using. I figured I'd post it, since I wrote it, and it might spur some thoughts for you! Originally, all these thoughts were interspersed with what I actually chose to say (above)

Sound interesting?  Let’s talk a little bit more about what you can expect in a Flipped Classroom and how is it different from what you are used to.  There are two “flips” happening in the flipped classroom.  The first is a physical flip, and the second is a mental flip.
  • Traditional
    • Graphic: traditional - 5 minute intro, 30-40 minute whole-class lesson, 10-15 minutes for individual or partner practice, 30 minutes at home individual practice
    • Let’s start off by talking about the physical flip.  In a traditional class, I would spend about 45 minutes of the class time up front explaining the lesson, working out examples, and answering questions as a whole class.  Some students would be bold enough to raise their hand to ask a question while others would sit there quietly, not understanding but not wanting to be embarrased in front of the whole class. Still others would be bored because they understood the material quicker than their classmates
    • Sometimes there would be time at the end for you to do some practice on your own before the bell would ring, but sometimes not.  Then, you would go home and try the homework problems on your own.  Hopefully, you would remember what you learned in class and be able to do it.  If not, you either stared at it for a really long time, wrote some stuff down to make it look like you did it, or copied from a friend the next day.  Either way, the practice was probably not very helpful or meaningful to your learning.
  • Flipped
    • Graphic: flipped - 5 minute intro, 10 minute WSQ discussions, 40 minute individual/partner practice, small group teaching, applications, creation, etc, 30 minutes at home completing WSQ for next day
    • The idea of homework and classwork is going to be physically flipped around.
    • In a flipped class, that 45 minute in-class lesson is whittled down to an 8-15 minute video lesson that you watch at home before you come to class.  You take notes, pausing and rewind when needed.  If you need to re-watch the whole video all over again, you can.  If you understand the material and want to watch it at double-speed, you can.  The important thing is that you are in charge of your learning and the speed at which you receive the information.  There is no pressure from me or the people around you.  There is even an online study group you can participate in via ThinkBinder to ask questions and share ideas with your classmates and possibly Mrs. Kirch that night.  
    • After watching the video, you complete a reflection piece called a WSQ and come to class ready to discuss and ask questions.  Everyone comes to class with the same notes and received the same lesson, and it didn’t take nearly as long as it would have in a traditional class!  In fact, the average student from last year says that they usually double the length of the video as a guide for how long their homework will take that night, so it’s very easy to plan ahead. Once class begins, we are able to get right to work - discussing, asking or answering questions, working on problems, and clarifying anything that wasn’t clear from the previous night.  
    • You are not expected to master the content after just watching a video, although if you do, that is great!  Generally, that’s what class time is for!   Learning the concepts is done outside of class time so that class time can be focused on YOU and YOUR NEEDS rather than on me:  actually working on problems where there is help if you get stuck, asking questions to clarify misconceptions, discussing material with your classmates and teacher, and applying what you’ve learned in a variety of different ways.  I am active and moving around the whole class, there to help you with whatever you need help on.  You no longer have to sit there and listen to me teach during class, because you have already been given the lesson and are ready to dive right in to practicing and applying it. It’s a much better use of time - and you have a ton of help around you if you need it!
    • My role has flipped from spoon-feeding you the content on a daily basis to providing you with all the resources and support you need to master this math class - it is now your responsibility to learn it!
  • And that is exactly what the “mental flip” is - the responsibility for learning and focus of the classroom time.  In a traditional class, students are very passive and expecting the teacher to tell them exactly what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how they need to do it.  The teacher is generally in full control of everything that goes on.
  • In the flipped classroom, the responsibility for learning is flipped to the student instead of the teacher.  While I will still be providing all the resources you need in order to learn, it will be done in an individualized way and in a way that allows you to be active learners both in and out of class.  These resources might be videos, websites, or other sources that I find helpful.  You will also learn how to find resources on your own, called curating content.  Because you have all the information you need in terms of the lesson, you are able to learn the material at your own pace, in your own time, in your own place, rather than during the 54 minute class period.  The flipped classroom enables you to take full responsibility for your learning and for class time to be focus on your individual and unique needs.  And now, I have the time to focus on YOU and help YOU in the way that YOU need it.  That’s what the flipped classroom is all about - focusing on the student and helping the student to succeed in the best possible way.  You are the one that matters the most in our flipped classroom!

  • A while back, I thought about one question: “What is the best use of the face-to-face time I have with my students?” I quickly realized that standing in front of the room talking at you and showing you the math myself was NOT the best way, especially when I was doing so to all 40 of you at once.  The Flipped Classroom makes the best use of our class time because you are given the opportunity to get the individualized attention we all crave and we all deserve.  You are able to get the extra help you need IN CLASS during class time, and work at your own pace on the concepts you need to work on during any given day.
  • In addition, the Flipped Classroom helps you acquire some very important life skills, including managing your learning and your time, communicating and working with others, and using a variety of technological resources.  This environment will set you up for success in your future as you grow and mature into a responsible member of our society, especially as you prepare to enter college or the career of your choice. By being in a "flipped classroom" you will all become more independent learners who know HOW to learn and HOW to use your resources to help you succeed.

  • Lastly, because we have so much class time to work together, we can now focus on higher order thinking skills and do more engaging activities, such as applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating instead of focusing on just working out math problems - that can get boring after a while and doesn’t challenge our brains in the way we should be!  We will be learning about some of those activities in the coming weeks as we jump into this school year.
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