Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Flipped Classroom

I recently taught a class for practicing teachers at a nearby university.  We had many great discussions about what works well for students who struggle in school and what teachers can do to support them in the classrooms.  I asked them if they had ever used the idea of a flipped classroom in their teaching, which had been introduced to me by a co-worker this past school year.  They had not heard of these types of lessons.  I challenged them for one of their teaching lessons to create a math lesson using the idea of a 'flipped classroom.'

This came with some trepedation & many questions, not only from them, but myself as well. I kept wondering would it be beneficial for students, would teachers be excited designing their lessons, is it worth the time & effort it takes to create the lesson, video, & learning guide? We continued to challenge each other with the idea of a flipped classroom through our conversations and questions, and I began to explore research-based articles & web links of teachers who use the teaching concept. 

The last week of class came, and I had never seen practicing teachers so excited about presenting their learning to each other before. Each student chose a different math lesson and presented by creating a powerpoint, used storybooks & sing alongs, manipulatives, and visual presentations for their students. The lessons consisted of learning how to count & write the number 5, finding the perimeter of polygons, determining the correct change after a purchase, and finding patterns based on colors. I had chills with what they created, and I felt I had done something really great for their students, even if I never meet them face to face.

We discussed how flipped classrooms are beneficial for students in many ways:
  • Students come to class knowing what they are going to learn
  • Parents can see what students are learning and through the teacher's examples may be able to help at home with questions & homework
  • Even if students don't have access to computers or internet at home, teachers are more than willing to find time & resources during the school day to access the flipped lessons
  • Teachers will be able to use class time to apply concepts and have time to meet with each student to ensure they are understanding and learning the material
  • Students are held accountable for their learning by how the teacher designs the flipped lesson
  • Using flipped lessons may be a way to help close the achievement gap for struggling students
  • Using flipped lessons could extend gifted learners to the next level of understanding a concept
  • Learning new ways to reach students is really, really exciting for teachers!

I realized I had done something really exciting when one teacher in the class said she had already talked with her principal about implementing flipped lessons in her curriculum to help reach students. The principal and her are going to continue to talk about it as the school year approaches.  I, too, am already planning on using a several flipped lessons in my math classes, and I am really, really excited about trying somthing new & growing professional!

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