Flipping Out Over Flipped Classrooms

By Ashley McFadin — The use of technology in the classroom has revolutionized how I can deliver instruction.

A long time ago, teachers were introduced to the concept of a “flipped classroom” by our math department.  The idea is that students watch teacher-created instructional videos at home and take notes.  Then, they come into class the next day, clarify any misunderstandings, and begin practice in class where the teacher can guide learning.

When our 8th grade math teachers raved about their success with this with their algebra students, I made a mental note to start this when my students received their laptops.

The process is pretty simple.

Long before class, I record myself doing notes on my computer screen using a program called “Screenflow”.  This program records everything I’m doing on my computer screen with my face in the lower right hand corner. While I’m recording, I make sure that I’m explaining everything I’m doing through think-alouds.  Then, I post the video to my YouTube channel (McFadinScience…check it out!).  The homework, then, is to watch the video that I’ve created and take notes on a guided note sheet that is provided to them.

There are five success criteria to watching the videos:

  1. If I write it down, then you write it down.
  2. Feel free to pause the video at any time.
  3. Re-watch any parts you do not understand.
  4. If you have a question, write it down on your sheet.
  5. Do the problems assigned at the end – they might show up as warm-up problems!

The next day, students come in with a completed note sheet and we can start right away on the independent practice.  This allows students to ask me questions on what would normally be homework.  So, if students are confused, they have an “expert” in the room.

But, what if students don’t watch the videos?  Of course there are still some students who will not do anything at home, even if they are guaranteed to be successful or perhaps the students don’t have internet.  So, when I check note sheets at the beginning of class and it’s not completed, they watch the video right there and then.  Then, they get the practice.

Overall, the process has been pretty successful.  Students really seem to enjoy the self-directiveness of the videos and they can take ownership of their learning.  Our first test is next week, so I’ll be better able to gauge how much they’ve learned using this new (to me) technique.

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