I had read about “reverse teaching” and the “flipped classroom” a while ago. Being an algebra teacher myself, Karl Fisch is one of those teachers I admire and love to learn from. Check out Fisch Algebra 2010-11 and you will understand why. And last week, after some discussion on Twitter about it, it piqued my interest again. With yet another snow day looming, I decided to give it a try… so
The premise of a flipped classroom is that students are watching lectures and videos at home and spending valuable class time working through the most difficult problems together, where there can be support and interactions with the teacher and classmates.
From @jonathanemartin’s post on Connected Principals
“If kids can get the lectures, can get the content delivery and skill modeling as well (or often better) by computer lecture than in person, why do we have use precious class-time for this purpose? Why do we, in the status quo, replicate in person in our classrooms what is easily available elsewhere, the content delivery/skill modeling, and then have kids apply their learning to difficult problems at home, without us there to help?”
Makes sense to me!
With a snow day eminent last Thursday, I had my students watch two “lectures” from Khan Academy on Multiplying/ Dividing Rational Expressions, my scheduled lessons for Thursday/ Friday. (Here are the two videos: Video 1 and Video 2) I then assigned them the normal homework.
Sure enough, as this winter’s weather was going, we had a snow day on Thursday. (The 6 – 12 inches predicted actually amounted to 14- 18 inches!)
I was anxious to see what was going to happen when I got to class on Friday. Were the students going to watch the videos? Would I have multiple excuses waiting? Were they going to be able to do their homework?
I began class, as I usually do, projecting the homework solutions on the SMARTBoard. I asked the class if they were able to watch the videos (which actually amounted to under 10 minutes combined) and whether or not they “got” the homework. I was amazed at what happened… ALL the students said they watched the videos (and some even gave me an informal commentary about what they liked and disliked about Salman Khan). All but one student had his/her homework completed in class and the student who didn’t said that he did watch the videos and complete it but, left it at home. That’s no better/ worse than a normal day! (Actually, maybe a little better!)
I spent the first 10 minutes going over any initial questions that the students had. Then, I spent the next 20 minutes or so going over the most difficult problems that were assigned for homework. I anticipated some of these and had them ready to complete together. Some students got these but many didn’t. I called on random students to walk us through the problems… aside from the normal factoring challenges, the students understood the concept of multiplying/ dividing rational expressions as well, if not, better than if we had school the day before! We then went over two additional challenging problems, and I sent them on their way with their homework for Monday!
I’d say the “experiment” was a success!
I’m planning to FLIP more often! (and with this week’s weather forecast, it’s a good thing!)
Here are some additional resources about “flipped classrooms”:
How the Flipped Classroom is Radically Transforming Learning
Teachers Doing the Flip To Help Students Become Learners
Reverse Instruction: Dan Pink and Karl’s “Fisch Flip”
Teaching Naked: Why Removing Technology from your Classroom Will Improve Student Learning (thanks @bigenhoc)
Flip Your Classroom Through Reverse Instruction
The Fisch Flip or Why Upside Down Thinking Can Drive Innovation
Think Tank: Flip-thinking – the new buzz word sweeping the US