Flipping lessons aren’t always easy especially when teaching elementary school. However, when the students are keen to learn and the timing is right, flipping can be a fun spin to add to your curriculum war chest.
Lately, parents have been asking for tutorials on how to operate the new MacBook Pro that kids are using everyday at school. Our tech director has been offering Friday classes teaching the basic operations. Parents have also been asking for other “how to” sessions on Gmail, Drive, iPhoto and iMovie that their children know how to do but they do not (yet). Perfect timing for an authentic project.
I have been teaching students how to use Google Forms to create a three question online quiz for their renewable energy science Google presentation. To teach the content I flipped this lesson. Students watch the video (lecture/content) at home – practice the skill — replay as needed — then back at school I can spend more time interacting with students and addressing specific questions.
Learning Google Forms will serve the kids two-fold because now they will be creating a survey to send to their parents asking for feedback on what computer operations and/or web tools they want to learn about. This feedback will be used to drive the students’ own learning and refinement on these particular functionalities. Authentic and purposeful.
After students spend more under the hood learning the functions, they will then create their own screen-recording tutorials teaching these skills to their folks. Mastery. Kids teaching adults. Flipping. Cool, cool.
If you have a lesson you like flipping, please share.
Since watching Salman Khan’s Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education, I have wondered how could I flip instruction in my classroom. There is plenty of positive tweet, posting and buzz about using the model of vodcasting, also known as reversing instruction or ‘flipping’ from tech savvy educators alike.
“. . . the focus of flipped teaching is different from other examples in that the technology itself is simply a tool for flexible communication that allows educators to differentiate instruction to meet individual student needs and spend more time in the classroom focused on collaboration and higher-order thinking.”
“Flip your instruction so that students watch and listen to your lectures… for homework, and then use your precious class-time for what previously, often, was done in homework: tackling difficult problems, working in groups, researching, collaborating, crafting and creating. Classrooms become laboratories or studios, and yet content delivery is preserved.”
Martin continues to point out that flipping instruction should not the ‘end all, be all.’ It is just one arrow in the teachers quiver and should be applied alongside the many other methods of instruction. Variety is still key to differentiation in learning.
Reversing instruction seems to work naturally in the fields of science, mathematic and technology. What about in language arts? I don’t want to flip lessons because that’s the latest trend; the reason should be purposeful by design with intentions to increase learning for my students.
I found the Edutopia post Should You Flip Your Classroom? by chemistry teacher, Ramsey Musallam, a most resourceful for me. This guy is ‘flipping’ for a living. Impressive, indeed. Here are four reflective steps he explains to help decide whether the lesson is worth flipping:
“Step 1: Identify your current or desired teaching style.
Step 2: Ask yourself this question: Given my style, do I currently use class time to teach any low level, procedural, algorithmic concepts?
I really liked two ideas he shared. First, embedding the Google Documents ‘Form’ below the video so students can reflect their learning as they watch the lecture and be held accountable for completing the lesson. Second, using a word cloud tool like Wordle to highlight frequently used words in student summaries to quickly identify whether important terms have been applied. Clever. I have used Wordle before to display word lists and vocabulary, but only for it’s aesthetic look.
In the his blog FlipTeaching, Ramsey shows teachers the tools he uses to annotate, which according to him can be the biggest hurdle in reversing instruction. To learn more about the tools needed to screencast and annotate, click the Vimeo Annotating.
Flipping instruction for some of the lessons I teach could be a valuable alternative. Then I could spend more time supporting students in applying their skills in class. Also, I would like to learn more about how to create my own video lectures. Here are 10 Tools to Help You Flip Your Classroom by the Electric Educator.
I wonder if flipping instruction when teaching sentence diagrams would be beneficial? For me, diagraming sentences has been a chore to teach. Students don’t place it too high on the totem pole either. Perhaps, if I combine School House Rock’s grammar Youtube videos with my time-shifted lecture examples, embed a Google Form so students can write and respond to the lesson, and stick all these on my class wiki, students would find this an effective and fun way to learn. It’s worth the try.
Now I play a rippin’ air guitar, but trying to fill in as a singing and instrumental substitute is a stretch. Due to unforeseen circumstances, our school is in need of a music teacher. We’ve been left longing. (If there are any licensed music teachers interesting in working at a fantastic school, starting January 2012, give me a buzz. The school is small, the package is big, and the staff excels.)
As teachers come to grips with the temporary loss to this integral component of the school program, we are left to brainstorm plausible scenarios that could provide a continuation of the annual, highly anticipated ‘performance’ that is just two and half weeks away. Yeowzaa! As they say in showbiz, the show must roll!
The middle school is hoping to perform a play adapted and based on the children’s literary classic, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Here is my ‘pitch’ I put together and presented to the staff. I used Prezi, an online presentation tool to liven up my original Google Docs format.