So, a few weeks ago I publicly made the claim that I would ‘flip’ the last unit of my econ classroom. Since then, it has been a mad dash to get all the material organized and ready to go. Not to mention the looming AP exams that take place starting Friday, it has been a crazy couple of weeks. We are now two weeks in and I thought I would share the structure as well as some reflections on how it is going so far. Thanks for those who are following me on this journey and offering lots of encouragement on the way! I do think that this is going to be an incredible way to achieve deeper levels of thinking in the classroom.
- Self-paced: Suggested deadlines but, students generally work at their own pace
- Mastery required: a 75% or higher must be achieved on the quizzes/tests to proceed
- Homework/Classwork: all vodcasts and written work should be done at home; class time is reserved for discussion, activities, and quizzes
Tasks and Activities: At the beginning of each section of the unit I give the students a pack that includes the lecture outline, and a ‘checklist’ of tasks to complete. Once they have completed these (and I have graded) they may take the quiz and proceed to the next section.
- Vodcast and outline homework
- Text reading homework/in-class
- Current Event and Discussion prepare for homework/discuss in class
- Projects/Activities student lead discussions, class-wide fishbowls, video, website assigned by section
- Section Quizzes passing grade of 75% must be made before moving on to the next section
- Extension Activity questioning further knowledge can be assigned to those students who complete the core material
- Test cumulative end- of –unit; passing grade of 75% must be earned before completion.
Teaching second semester seniors, I knew this time of year would be a challenge no matter what ‘technique’ I was using. But, I do think this has been quite timely for them. Of course, there has been many questions and a few adamant, ‘WHY’s????’ But for the most part, I think that the students are enjoying the level of freedom that the flipped model allows them. Some observations so far:
- Not a fan of recording myself but, it is important to use your own material for vodcast and perhaps supplements with other; personally, I think this is a vital keeping it ‘your’ class and the students in touch with you as their teacher
- it takes intense planning and involvement! Planning time increases and, to be effective, you must be engaged every minute of every class period
- though it is self-paced, it is important to ‘recommend’ and even keep a google calendar on what the students should be completing so that they come to class prepared to discuss/complete an activity
- it looks messy! But, in assessing students understanding, formal or informal, they are achieving deeper levels of understand AND are able to articulate it verbally in discussions
Programs I use:
- google sites for my class website (the hub) here
- google calendar for assignments
- wikispaces for discussion
- google docs for collaborative projects
- typewithme.com for chat, live discussion
- classmarker for online quizzes
- Camtasia to record Vodcasts
Overall, it has been great! I have met some resistance from a select number of students but do think that as they are able to measure their knowledge and ‘get’ the freedom that they are being given excitement will grow. I think the primary change in thinking is the ownership that they are gaining in their own learning. Because they are used to having the information fed to them, many have been able to fly under the radar. This strategy necessitates them taking a proactive role in their learning. Just what the doctor ordered for seniors headed to college!
For those of you unfamiliar with the ‘flipped’ model, take a look at my colleague Brian Bennett who is doing an incredible job in his chemistry classroom.