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A Realist's Guide: Flipping the Classroom


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In this beginner's guide to Flipping the Classroom, learn the tips and tricks you can use to start flipping your classroom today.

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A Realist's Guide: Flipping the Classroom

  1. Flipping themoorssalCA Realist’s Guide
  2. What isthe flippedclassroom?Just what it sounds like: a learning model in which the classicstructure does a somersault and lands upside down. Yourfirst thought: that seems painful. Actually no — it provides awelcome new perspective. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 2 Introduction
  3. In more concrete terms.Students use digital tools to listen to lectures and review other resources ontheir own time (outside of the classroom). In class, they work together onactivities and concepts — with the help of the teacher — putting what they’velearned into practice, often times learning from each other.Since its emergence circa 2007, the flipped classroom has gottena lot of buzz. It is praised as a way to do the following• Engage active learners with a collaborative and customized educational environment• Increase time for individualized, one-on-one instruction• Encourage more and better student-instructor communication• nable high-performing students to expand their knowledge while E giving struggling students more tools for catching up• Involve parents more meaningfully in the learning process A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 3 Introduction
  4. Flipping for beginners.Standing on your head is harder than it looks, and flipping the classroom is, too.That’s especially true for instructors just getting started with a flip. And with aconcept this new, most are beginners. Those who have been at it the longestsay the strategy for successful flipping combines enthusiasm with a healthydose of realism. In this guide, you’ll learn from their experiences and get sometested-in-the-real-world tips for doing a flip of your own.What you’ll learn from this guide1. Anatomy of a flip.2. The benefits of upside down instruction.3. Tips for successful flips. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 4 Introduction
  5. 1.Anatomyof a flip. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 5 Anatomy of a flip
  6. The inspiration.When Sherry Spurlock decided in 2011 to flip her classes at Pekin CommunityHigh School in Pekin, Ill., she had the necessary enthusiasm. And sheunderstood what she was taking on — mostly.Spurlock had attended a workshop by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams,Colorado high school teachers who are considered architects of the flippedclassroom. Their message was inspiring, especially since their success recordinglectures and using face-to-face time to shepherd student learning was forged ina chemistry classroom. Spurlock asked school administrators to back her planto flip all of her classes — four chemistry courses and a physics course — in one “I warnedfell swoop. Then she spent much of the summer getting husband: ‘I think this really is going to make a differencefor the kids, but is going to take a lot of time.’” A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 6 Anatomy of a flip
  7. The preparation.“My free time was spent putting together materials for the podcasts, makingvideos, creating worksheets,” Spurlock said. “Once the school year started,things would come up that needed to be redone or that I wanted to add.And so a typical day would be to show up at school at about 6:30 a.m. to geteverything ready in the classroom for the students and spend the rest of theday working with four-person student groups. At the end of the school day, Iwould have a list of things that I needed to do to get ready for the next day.” A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 7 Anatomy of a flip
  8. The flip.Spurlock’s class was transformed. “In my traditional classroom, the studentscame in and sat in neat little rows. I lectured for 45 to 50 minutes, and theytook notes and occasionally asked a question. And then I assigned homeworkdesigned to reinforce what we talked about in the class. They went home, triedto figure it out, got discouraged, came back the next day, and we went over “Now, they go home and watch thethe material again,” she said.content. They come into class and form groups of four. Theywork with each other on problem sets and worksheets, askeach other questions and ask me questions. I am right there asthey’re going through those reinforcing exercises. I can walk them through theprocess, if they need me to. I’m there to question them until they understandwhat’s going on and can then move on. And they act as each other’s mentorsand keep one another on track.” A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 8 Anatomy of a flip
  9. The payoff.Spurlock survived her first flipped year, and now is reaping the rewards of herhard work. It’s too soon to say whether students’ test scores have improved “Whatin the flipped classroom, although Pekin High is studying that.encourages me to continue with the flipped classroom isthe attitude and the perception of the students,” Spurlocksaid. “They are much more involved in what’s going on in class than they everhave been in the past. That’s a much better sign for me than their test scores.And, from a time-management perspective, the second year has been much,much easier. A lot of the content is done already. It’s just a matter of organizingand posting and making improvements. This year there’s less of that setupwork and much more active time with the students.” A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 9 Anatomy of a flip
  10. We were spending inordinate amounts oftime re-teaching lessons to students whomissed class, and the recorded lecturesbecame our first line of defense. Our absentstudents loved the recorded lectures.Students who missed class were able tolearn what they missed. — Jonathan Bergmann Chemistry teacher Woodland Park, CO A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 10 Anatomy of a flip
  11. Genesis of the flip.Chemistry teachers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann are considered class-flipping pioneers. Their lectures and explanatory videos, originally posted onlinefor their Woodland Park, CO, high school students, have become go-to tools forstudents and instructors around the world. Their book Flip Your Classroom: ReachEvery Student in Every Class Every Day is now a prime resource for novice flippers.In this 2011 blog excerpt, Bergmann explains that they started with a self-servingplan but quickly realized the benefits to students:“In all honesty, we recorded our lessons out of selfishness. We were spendinginordinate amounts of time re-teaching lessons to students who missed class,and the recorded lectures became our first line of defense. Our absent studentsloved the recorded lectures. Students who missed class were able to learn whatthey missed. Some students who were in class and heard the live lecture beganto re-watch the videos. Some would watch them when reviewing for exams…We began to share the links to the recorded lectures, and teachers from all overthe country began to take notice … All in all, it was amazing to see what we weredoing in our small town being noticed across the country.” A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 11 Anatomy of a flip
  12. 2.The benefitsof upside downinstruction. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 12 The benefits of upside down instruction
  13. The reward.Sherry Spurlock describes how flipping her classes has made learning — andteaching — more rewarding:1. Personalized instruction:“Since flipping the classes, I not only know all mystudents by name, I also know what they can and cannot do. I know what I canand cannot say to them. I know how far I can push them and what I can expectfrom them. It’s a whole different interaction with them.”2. Student engagement:“Students are more deeply engaged, and I know thatbecause I’m getting much more interesting questions. I used to hear, ‘I justdon’t get it.’ Now, I hear, ‘What do you suppose would happen if this were tooccur? If I change this around, what will happen?’”3. Skills for the real world:By working in groups, students are getting apreview of what their postsecondary and real world experience will look like,where group problem solving and project-based learning are part of the dailyroutine. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 13 The benefits of upside down instruction
  14. 4. Learning beyond the lesson:“Flipping the classroom puts a lot ofresponsibility back on students; it takes away any places to hide. There is lessopportunity for them to just copy a friend’s homework and hand it in. If theydon’t get something done, it’s not the teacher’s fault or the school’s fault. Theyhave to accept that responsibility. And most of them step up to the plate anddo it. They really grow.”5. Improved quality of life:“I still start about 6:30 a.m. to get the lab set up.But I leave between 3 and 3:30 p.m. I don’t have to take home grading becausestudents do most of their work in class, and it’s graded there so they getimmediate feedback. I give students my home phone number in case they areconfused at home about what they’re doing. Before the flipped class, I wouldget up to 30 calls a night. Now, I get one or two a week. Students can rewindmy lecture and listen again and again. They can bring questions into class thenext day where they can get hands-on help. And my working day ends with theschool day. I get to spend time with my family in the evening, and that makes abig difference.” A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 14 The benefits of upside down instruction
  15. 3.Tips forsuccessful flips. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 15 Tips for successful flips
  16. Getting started.Flipping the classroom is a new idea, but every teacher who tries it doesn’thave to reinvent the wheel. Go online to see what flipped strategies others havecome up with and learn from their successes and mistakes. Here are a few tipsto get you started:Know your tools.Understand how to use the classroom technology andlearning management system tools at your disposal. Can you post a videoclip via your LMS? Can students exchange ideas or ask questions in an onlineenvironment that also allows you to distribute materials and track grades?Leverage tech tools to make your flip — and your job — easier.Don’t do the bulldozer.Spurlock flipped all of her classes at one time. Inhindsight, she says, that all-in approach added to her workload and stress anddidn’t leave much time for experimentation. Start by flipping one class and usewhat you’ve learned to flip others. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 16 Tips for successful flips
  17. Find a partner.Flipping pioneers Bergmann and Sams attribute much of theirsuccess to teamwork. Working in sync with peers has made the flip moremanageable for Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School teachers. And those likeSpurlock who forge through alone say it would have been easier to share ideasand materials with another teacher. Working with a partner also makes a flipless overwhelming because you can share content-creation duties.Set expectations.At the beginning of this academic year, Spurlock puttogether a PowerPoint presentation for parents and students. It explainedhow a flipped classroom worked and what students’ responsibilities would be.Setting those expectations early — and with the entire family — helped easestudents’ adjustment to the flipped environment. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 17 Tips for successful flips
  18. We gave the teachers who were doing ourflipped classroom pilots some examples.We said, ‘Your pages need to look like this.Your video should be this long. Your lessonshould last this long. It should include thesecomponents. Now, you make it work foryour subject and your teaching style.’ — ennifer Shoaf J PA Cyber’s curriculum director A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 18 Tips for successful flips
  19. Flipping as a team.At the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber), consistency is key toensuring a quality online education. So, when teachers began flipping theirclasses, they stuck to a single game plan. And they discovered that flipping insync made the whole process less daunting.“We gave the teachers who were doing our flipped classroom pilots someexamples,” said Jennifer Shoaf, PA Cyber’s curriculum director. “We said, ‘Yourpages need to look like this. Your video should be this long. Your lesson shouldlast this long. It should include these components. Now, you make it work foryour subject and your teaching style.’”Those parameters were freeing, rather than limiting, said flipped classroomteacher Christine Crow, who noted that instructors still put their own unique spin Sticking to the guidelines made flippingon lectures and materials.her class less overwhelming, she said, and because all theteachers follow the same format, peer-to-peer advice wason-point and incredibly valuable. “We are all in it together.” A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 19 Tips for successful flips
  20. Grading the flip.“One of the big marks in the ‘con’ column of the flipped classroom right nowis the lack of systematic research on its effectiveness,” said Robert Talbert,Mathematics professor at Grand Valley State University and flipped classroomexperimenter. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and interest, but not a lot of data.”At Pekin Community High School, Information Specialist Cynthia Hinderliter isoverseeing a plan to gauge how the flipped classroom stacks up when it comesto test scores.Using ACT’s College Readiness assessment, the school will evaluate subgroupsof math and science scores to compare how students in Spurlock’s flippedchemistry and physics classes perform compared with students in traditionalclasses.The results will show whether the anecdotal evidence of student success inflipped classes can be verified and quantified. A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 20 Tips for successful flips
  21. On theflip side.With each passing academic year, technology will makeflipping classrooms even easier and more motivating.Is flipping the classroom right for you? Only you candetermine that, but here’s what we do know: trying aflipped classroom is right for everyone.Stay connected AND learn more about flipping your class A Realist’s Guide to Flipping the Classroom 21 Tips for successful flips