Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Don't flip out! It is just a flipped class! (part1)

Notes regarding the last webinars I attended are still coming, but I managed to get some stuff in on Flipped classes today!

First I listened to Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams talk about Flipped Classes in an ASCDWebinar, and here's what turned up :)

OK first let me say LOTS of people have said LOTS of things about flipped classes. They gave us a few links at the beginning, if you end up being interested or just have more questions you should really check them out!

Most people look at flipped classes as: "Classwork is done at home and homework is done at class" This is part of it, but they broke it down to some easy to see steps.

First off as a teacher you have to think. "What is the most valuable use of class time?"

For me, as an ESL teacher, it is speaking practice (pronunciation), them hearing native speakers, them getting to play with the language, writing, critical thinking and peer grading (which I standby as one of the best ways to learn).

To me, Aaron Sams said it best when he said, "We want students engaged in science, not listening in science." He admits that it started when he would record his lessons for his students. That way when someone missed class they could watch the class and catch up on the main ideas and then see the teacher with specific questions (YAY time savers)

In the end they decided to use the videos for the bottom two tiers of Bloom's Taxonomy (recollection and understanding) and trying to do the more complicated parts of Blooms together in class (analyzing, applying and evaluating) and possibly creating!

As a TBL lover this is great point. By moving the first two steps to home we have time in class to work on something more involved.

An important part to note is that the videos aren't always the first time the students see the information. Sometimes teachers give the videos at the start of a lesson. Other times they'll throw in in the middle. And yes, even sometimes at the end. The great thing is there's no WRONG way to do this!

Myths and Misconceptions:
  • Flipped classrooms are all about the videos. 
    • They are important to give you time to do COOL stuff, but they aren't the be all and end all of flipped classes. In some ways most upper division classes I've taken have been flipped. We were expected to do all the reading and research out of class so we could discuss and debate in class.
  • Flipped classroom relies on homework 
    • They suggested that you have stations, like in Elementary school, to avoid the homework concept. What about the Have vs. the Have Nots? Assign that homework to be done in school not at home just outside of the period (which is hard for athletes). Personally I think this part was a little weak and that with most of my students' schedules it would have to be done at home.
  • Flipped classrooms create a digital divide.
    • If a student doesn't have the internet you can put the videos on flash drives. If they have no computers you can burn the videos onto DVDs. The problems get bigger if you don't have a DVD burner, but you can write grants, ask the community for computer donations, ask a local tec company if anyone can refurbish some computers to help a school. Where there's a will there's a way!
  • Flipped classrooms propagate bad teaching (lectures). 
    • Lectures can be bad. They can be students falling asleep and teachers droning on and on, or they can be dynamic interactive classes. The same goes with videos. If we make interactive media rich videos then it is not encouraging bad teaching, it is giving us more time to teach in class while engaging students in a manner they are used to. They can be interactive. They are interesting. They are media rich for the YouTube generation.
  • Flipped teaching is only for math and science.
    • There's a PE teacher known as the flipped coach: Jason Hahnstadt. Basically, he feels that as a PE coach we spend too much time telling students how to move instead of them spending time moving. Check him out at If you can do it with PE then you can do it with any subject! 
  • Flipped classrooms will solve all your problems and make your classes perfect.. 
    • It is NOT magic! As Jon Bergermann said, "It won't solve all of your problems in class. You still have to be a good teacher."
So what is it?
  • A tool in the tool box. It is a tool in the tool box that you can use when it works.
  • Use the idea as a stepping stone/bridge to make best combination of homework/classwork you can use with your students 
  • Try to think of a flipped classroom as flipping the attention away from the teacher and flipping the attention toward the student.
The webinar discussed how helpful it is for special ed students (since they can repeat the information as often as needed) however I don't have special ed students so I didn't focus so much on that part.

  • What about students who can't learn from videos? (We recognize there are different learners)
    • Basically this allows students to use the videos as one way to learn, but allowing them to have others if needed. Basically it is applying self-differentiation. You assign tons of options of how they can get the knowledge and then they choose what works best for them.
  • You can also apply this to students' assessments. Students need different ways to represent that they have learned something. (It's why I give 5-7 different assignments for short stories and allow students to pick 3)
  • What about the kid who doesn't watch the video?
    • No magic bullet, this is just like every student who doesn't do homework.
    • Some teachers have students watch in the back and they just miss out on in class time.
So how can you easily flip your class?
My great IH San Diego students flipped!
  • Flip assessments
  • Flip the tools (iMovie, Prize, etc.)
  • I see myself flipping
    • Essay structure
    • Grammar points
    • Some of my TOEFL lessons
How long will it take to flip a school?
I thought this was interesting to note:

The first year: You will be working on something new, but keep at it!
The second year: You will have some bugs, yet things will be getting better.
The third year: Almost there you'll just be getting rid of some wrinkles.
By the end of the third year: Everyone will know that this is just the way things are done.

Well it was nice to hear from teachers and see the questions other teachers had. Parts of the flipped classroom seem appealing, and while I don't think I would flip my whole class I may flip a lesson or two along the way. 

The mentioned their book is out so if flipping classes is something you want to learn more about you may like to check it out.

(I found another webinar the same day! If you want to hear what I learned from a teacher using this now check it out here 

Have you had a chance to try flipping classes? What do you think? Or why haven't you done it yet?

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