Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Everybody wins with flipping lessons!

It occurs to me as we all discuss flipping lessons that this is really not any different than asking students to go home and read a chapter for tomorrow's lesson. Yesterday someone asked me what I do about the student that doesn't do the homework. The good news is I don't have to do anything! I don't have to repeat the lesson. Absent or non-homework students can go sit at a classroom computer and do the lesson at the start of class while all the other students jump into the collaborative math work with me. My absent students often check Edmodo for the lesson before class because they don't like to be left out of the collaborative work. Everybody winds with flipping lessons! :-)


  1. The issue of what to do with non-homework students came up during the #21stedchat Tweet Chat last night. I noticed that your solution was to have them do the lesson at the start of class. I am wondering whether there is any penalty for this. I am also wondering whether missing some of the collaborative math work impacts their learning. I would love to hear more specifics about the routine that you are establishing. Any chance you can share examples of the videos and follow-up activities?

    1. Funny that you should be asking for video. I just started to video my classes with two cameras in the room hoping to capture some snippets of formative assessment data analysis of homework and the collaborative group work. I am presenting at NCTM in Dallas which was my original motivation for video. After a week of watching myself and class I have learned a lot. It is a powerful tool for reflection and adjustment.

      The non homework students are always going to be there. I don't use video to deliver the whole lesson. I use it as a preview/review/introduction and start to notes the next day. My classroom routine has developed into a brief review of what we learned from the video. I add explanation, answer questions and give examples adding to the notes. Students who have not watched the video view it after this but don't have time to take notes. The videos are always 5 minutes or less so students don't miss out on too much of the collaborative work. My PDF smartboard lessons and my own notes are uploaded to Edmodo for follow up on notes so all students are provided with anything they may have missed. As you can see, I try to get them to own the learning. It takes training but it does happen.

      The collaborative groups are a good 35-40 minutes long (55 min. periods) and I move from group to group asking questions, answering questions and teaching on small white boards at each group. I sit with the groups that need the most support, get them started on a problem and then move around the room again while they are solving a problem.

      It has taken a month of training students to get this routine to run smoothly. I had to teach them how to work collaboratively, how to ask each other good questions, and how to not just give each other answers. Today I noticed one group teaching another group something from their small white board while I was across the room. That is when I know this time is working.

      One thing I do to track how everyone is doing is have them enter a sampling of their answers on a formative assessment online system. They dont' know which questions will be on the assessment at night so this is their motivation to complete the assigned classwork. No one wants to be doing this hard work alone now that they are used to support. Tonight several of my students sent me a message on Edmodo saying they were still getting somethings wrong and want to stay for extra help tomorrow. They know this because of the online assessment system which gives them correctness feedback. Tonight, our goal was to reach 80% or more correct as we have been working on the same thing for a few days.

      I start the year slowly and add something new to the routines each week. Tomorrow we are having our first real notebook check on organization of notes and math work. I make the notebook a study packet with a table of contents at the end of the unit. Students get a project grade for keeping all their work organized and together for studying. Our first unit test is scheduled for next week.
      I hope this gives you a better understanding of my routines. The best approach is to start with one small routine and keep adding to it as students get comfortable.