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Reader questions

Reader questions


What is a "flipped classroom"?

Quiet simply a flipped classroom is where you move the focus of the class time from direct instruction to application and practice.

Think of it like soccer practice. If a coach ran soccer practice like the traditional classroom, players would all watch film and the coach would demonstrate how to do a few drills. Then, as they walked off the field, the coach would yell, “And do those drills tonight at home! I want you to be better soccer players!”

So, in a flipped classroom, your students run around and get sweaty (usually metaphorically speaking)! Because you’re running the drills in a flipped classroom, students get feedback and help when they are in the moment of learning. And you? Instead of being the “sage on the stage” your role is more like a soccer coach—setting up the drills and providing individual and in-the-moment feedback to your students.

This is part of the reason that a flipped classroom is so effective. It helps provide a more equitable and differentiated curriculum instead of a one-size-fits-almost-no-one approach.

Keep these things in mind:

1. No need to “flip” everything you teach to start. Instead, think about strategic places in your curriculum that lend themselves to being flipped. 

2. This will affect homework, obviously. So talk to families and make sure they know the purpose and theory behind it.

3. “Flipping” requires different types of assessment. Jon Bergmann points out that many videos have tracking software that can help you check up on students. Or you can ask them to take notes. But the real reason that students do the homework in a flipped classroom is because a) it’s doable and b) they know it will directly relate to what they are going to do in class the next day. Jon Bergmann says that as long as you don’t enable kids by lecturing for kids who didn’t do the homework, kids catch on fast.

4. “Flipping” an elementary class is different than flipping a high school class. In high school, it makes sense to put some responsibility for learning onto individual students. In elementary school, maybe not so much. But consider flipping some lessons or even “flipping” Back-to-School night as Aaron Sams suggests here.

5. Not everything has to be done at home to make a “flipped classroom.” You can “in-flip” by having some students watch a video to introduce a concept while you work on something else with another group of students. Then you can switch. The main goal, according to  Aaron Sams is to “… get direct instruction out of the classroom and…onto the individual responsibility [of students].” You can be creative in how that looks.

6. This will take some time. Aaron Sams has a few places to start:

  • think strategically about where to use it and what you will do with the time that is freed up.
  • think about what the assessments (both formative and summative) are going to look like and plan backwards.
  • think about how you can free up some time for planning upfront because flipping requires you to gather or create some resources. You can do it, but you’re gonna need time.

Have a question? Ask me!

Did you know I love to work directly with teachers, families, administrators, librarians, dads, students, abuelas, community members, program directors, teachers-in-training and literally everyone else? Talk to me.

Amanda Hamilton Roos