It started with Twitter and Twitter Chats. The two I engaged in the most last year were #sschat and #psychat. People mentioned flipped learning and I was intrigued and decided to read up on it. My research started online and then moved to the book Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. Initially, I found the book very useful but I decided that Flipped Mastery would not be something that I could do with my students. I didn’t see how I could get through the curriculum or how they would be able to achieve mastery. I also felt like it would mean me giving up on the instructional side of my teaching which is something that I love and feel that I am good at.
After a bunch of reading and research I dipped my toe in to flipping in April of 2013. I figured that I couldn’t mess up too much at that point in the school year (we end in June) and I did some in class flips for my US History and Psychology classes. I made sure to get a lot of feedback from my students along the way. It helped me to fine tune my videos (shorter!) and to give me more goals to set in the future (put me in the videos, maybe even green screen).
Since it was the end of the school year, I didn’t get the opportunity to assign too many flipped homework assignments. I did, however, make 13 Regents review videos for my US History students. When I asked them just before the exam what were the most effective review methods for them, my review methods were highly rated.
As the new school year started this fall, I had the goal of flipping one lesson each week for both US History and Psychology classes.
This did not work out as planned for US History. The students weren’t watching the videos and thus were not learning the material. Instead of giving up entirely, I made videos as test reviews and for each vocabulary list I assigned to better explain the material and to help the students to review for our vocabulary quizzes. The students have been making good use of these resources but I still want to get back to my initial goal of flipping more of the class instruction.
In my psychology classes, my goal has been working out pretty well! I didn’t flip every single week but I did create flipped lessons regularly. To increase students’ likelihood of watching the videos I did several things.
- Put the videos on flash drives and DVDs for the students with limited internet access.
- Posted the videos on both YouTube (with the links on my website) and Schoology (which is not blocked at school).
- Gave the students ample opportunity to watch the videos; not just one or two nights. I assigned the videos on Monday and made them due on Friday.
- On the Friday when the videos were due, I held class in the computer lab. I assigned fun activities for the class like taking personality tests or completing memory exercises. The students loved them! The students who hadn’t watched the flipped video for the week, however, had to watch the video prior to being able to do the fun activity.
Using these methods, all students watched the videos whether at home or during class time. Class time was freed up to do more engaging activities, have more discussions, and delve deeper into the material. I was quite pleased and so were my students.
In my next post, I’ll discuss what technology I have used to flip my classes and some of the specific places where I have learned about how to flip effectively. In a third post I’ll let you know the steps I’ve taken to move from a weekly flipped lesson to a fully flipped mastery model for my psychology classes. Stay tuned!