Schooling Magazine

Finally Flipping

By Mrsebiology @mrsebiology
So I'm finally flipping.  I know, I know, it's about time.  I've been checking out the flipped classroom for a while now, wanting to do it but letting other things take priority, like sleeping and eating and running Ragnars.  But now I see a huge hole in my classroom that can be filled by it, and I'm willing to give up a little food and sleep to fill it (but not Ragnars).  
That hole is student responsibility for their own learning.
Have you ever stood in front of a class having a "discussion" and realized you were doing the most talking in the room?  Have you ever had to wait 4 minutes (yes, 4 minutes) just for someone to respond to one of your questions?  Have you ever caught yourself pulling out the the old "information shovel," as I refer to it, asking more and more specific questions just to dig out the level of understanding you want from your students and, at the end, found yourself standing there exhausted and spent?  Have you ever felt like students were just in the room watching you do your job?  Have you ever felt as if you're talking, but only 3 people in the room are actually listening and trying to make sense of what you're saying?  
Have you ever felt like standing up in front of your classroom is more and more a complete and total waste of time?  That's how I've felt all year.  So I decided that I needed to stop wasting time and start flipping.   Like I've said before, more learning happens when I shut-up.  Yet, for some reason, I just keep talking. I need to break myself of that habit--and flipping is how I'm going to do that. (I've been told that students "need" a teacher in the front of the room.  I don't buy it.  They've been taught to need a teacher.  They need to be taught that all they need to learn is themselves.) 
I have to confess I'm not requiring my students to watch the videos at home.  They don't do the homework I assign now, and I just can't fight that battle anymore-the gray hairs are starting to win on my head.  Instead, this is my plan for flipping my classroom:
  • Make a really bad video (I'm trying to keep these between 5-10 minutes, but my second one already violated that rule.  Bad teacher.) of myself explaining things using Knovio until Santa comes through with a copy of Camtasia Studio for Christmas. Try not to move too much so I don't look blurry on video.
  • Students watch video during class, trying not to be distracted by my hands flying wildly about while I'm talking or me constantly moving back and forth during the video.  Students take notes using a variety of strategies and tools (i.e., Google Docs, Evernote, etc.).
  • Students do a meaning-making activity of some kind after watching the video.  This is a synthesis, evaluation, or application activity--students need to be making connections and putting it all together, not copying information from the video.  This will be reviewed by peers and/or me.
  • Students take a progress check to see if they are at mastery of the I can statements discussed in the video.  If not, they will be given other activities to do in order to help them reach mastery.  They will be progress-checked again.  They will try not to comment on how bad my videos were or how much gray hair I have during any of the progress checks.

This is my preliminary plan, and I'm sticking to it--until I find anything that won't work or works better and then I change it.  
I'm not doing this because it's trendy.  I'm not doing this because it's the latest educational buzzword. I'm not doing this because I think I'm anywhere near good at it (if you want to see my first attempts, you can check out my videos here and have a good laugh at my expense).  
I'm doing it because it just makes sense for my students. 

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