Trying out the Flipped Model

A 'Flipped' Unit in English Class

What I Did

This fall, I tried something different: I 'flipped' my classroom for a unit! In short, I reversed the traditional order of things. The direct instruction that I might have delivered through a mini-lesson lecture became homework via short videos I created using flipcharts in ActivInspire. Here's how I did it:

1. Figured out the objectives. What did I want all of my students to know/be able to do by the end of the unit?

2. Figured out assessments. How would I know when/if my students had learned the objectives? I basically used the common tasks from the MCPS curriculum and a few self-created assessments as well.

3. Working backwards, I figured out what students would need to know in order to understand the objectives, and made mini-lesson videos for each one.

4. I informed the parents via a (hopefully) clear e-mail. I also created a 'Helpful Hints' document that I posted on Edline.

5. I rolled out the model to my students and showed them how to access the videos. I also gave them a calendar to help them understand what was going on and when.

6. Each student was responsible for completing a 'Connect/Extend/Challenge' for each video they watched.

7. We used class time to read novels in literature circles, discuss the content of the video, and apply our knowledge in partners and individually.

8. At the end of the unit, I gave each student an opportunity to reflect on the experience with an online survey that included multiple choices and comments.

A 'Challenge' Chart

When students came to school after watching a mini-lesson video, they posted their 'Connect/Extend/Challenge' notes up around the room in corresponding charts. We then shared and discussed these notes in various ways each day.

How it Went (and Lessons Learned)

Overall, I think it went really well. One of the most positive results I noticed was when students were asked (on the Unit 2 Formative Assessment) to determine whether or not a story was an adventure story, they confidently referenced the 'elements of adventure' (which was the topic of one of the mini-lesson videos) in their writing. This model definitely allowed me to work more with individual students to address their needs. It was a challenge to keep track of the post-it notes and I think that is what I'd like to change. I'm considering teaching them a note-taking method and having them actually take notes when I flip again (yes, I am going to do this again!) Student response was overall positive. Students really enjoyed being able to control their learning (i.e. they could watch the videos again, pause where they wanted, etc). Some missed the direct instruction directly from me in class. Some really enjoyed getting to learn in a different way. They were insightful and recognized that the flipped model might work for some units better than others! 83% either definitely or maybe want me to flip another unit. 19% (16 students) said they did NOT want me to flip again, so it wasn't a slam dunk! However, I think if I improved some aspects, those 16 students might think differently.

What's Next?

As I said, I definitely want to try doing this again, probably for the last unit of the year. I also am really intrigued by the Flipped Mastery Model, which takes the flipped model a step further and allows students to really learn and work at their own pace. Here's what I'm looking to improve:

1. The videos-I want to use to embed questions into the videos. This way, students are forced to stop at certain points of the video. Their answers are also sent directly to me so I can get instant feedback as to what students 'get' and don't get before I even see them the next day!

2. The in-class assignments-I think I can utilize the extra time even more and have students working on some really challenging and engaging work.

3. The 'active' part of the video watching-I want to teach them the Cornell Note-Taking method so they can learn to take notes while learning. Also, I'd love to make use of Edmodo to have them share some of their thoughts right after watching, and comment/see what their classmates are thinking as well!