Sunday, November 17, 2013

I've Totally Flipped

During my high school and college days at Missouri Southern you might have seen me flipping while cheering on the sidelines of a game. Lately you will find me flipping again, but it's not on the's in my classroom.

"The Flipped Classroom" tends to be a growing topic among educators.  Teachers are taking their classrooms and flipping them.  What is a flipped classroom? Let me explain.

In a flipped classroom the teacher gives the student an instructional video as an assignment. The student watches the video instruction as homework and then completes the assignments during class. Normally the video instruction is between 8 and 15 minutes long.  When educators think about flipped learning, we think about students watching an instructional video at home and completing problems and activities at school.  This allows the teacher to help the student when the student is having difficulty.

I used to think flipping my classroom was not a possibility. There were 2 major hurdles I thought I would need to jump over:
  1. My students are not allowed to take the classroom iPads home. 
  2. All of my students do not have access to the Internet at home.
I thought to myself that eventually I would have to find a way to get the iPads in the hands of my students at home (that is a whole different blog post).  I also kept thinking, "How am I going to give my students the valuable help that is given in a flipped classroom when it isn't very likely that I can get them to watch an instructional video at home?"

After talking to other educators here is my solution for flipping my math class: 

1.  Divide students into groups. I have students from all ability levels in my groups and have 4 groups.)
2.  Set up stations in the classroom for students to rotate through.  Some of the stations I have used are listed below:
- instructional video (always a station)
- game activity
- multiplication practice
- teacher group (I meet with this group at the table and teach/review a specific concept). 
- creation station (students use an iPad app to create a video tutorial)
-math journals
3.  Give clear expectations and procedures. Before stations begin each day I give clear cut expectations for what students will complete at each station and review behaviors that should be exhibited at each station. 
4.  Set timer (I use 10-12 minutes at each station). I would also play music or ring a bell to signal that it is time to move to the next station.

The instructional video is played at one of the stations.  This allows me to work at a station with a small group of students on specific skills the students are struggling with.  I'm more able to assess what the needs are.  AHA moment...I just flipped my classroom.  I gave the instruction through a video and allowed myself more time to work with students one on one and in small groups.  Isn't that the purpose of flipped learning? Cartwheel, cartwheel!

I've used the following video presentation apps to create the short instructional videos:
  • Educreations
  • Touchcast
  • Movenote
I also learned a long time ago not to recreate the wheel.  Good teachers beg, borrow, and steal.  Don't we all?  So...I also use:
  • YouTube (Woo! Hoo! Already created!)
I love using YouTube.  I use a lot of videos from Talesof4thgrade and recently came across mathcrush. Mathcrush is a Bill Nye type video except the videos are math. One of my students thanked me today for letting him watch this one.  Click here.

Here is a link to one of the videos we watched this week from Talesof4thgrade. Click here.

I normally turn the video URL into a QR code poster.  This makes it really easy for the students to find the video I would like for them to watch.  The students open the QR code reader, scan the code, put on their headphones, and begin watching the video.  You can create the QR code at 

Here is an example of one of the posters:

The following links are super easy to use and have made my life a whole LOT easier:
  • (Turn any URL into a smaller URL to make it easier for students to type.)
  • (Use portions of a YouTube video and delete the rest.)
  • (Place the video on a clear screen.  The students will not see all the adds and other videos that are usually on the YouTube video screen.)
Life in 4th grade is always exciting.  I'm definitely fancying 4th this year! 

No comments:

Post a Comment