Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Flipped," finding the perfect "balance" in your classroom

This article prompted me to reflect on my own classroom evolution.
I was recently sharing with another teacher about my evolution and said that I am in search of a new word because "flipped" classroom doesn't seem to fit my 6th grade math classroom model. Although many recognize that "flipped" is a continuum of definitions, it also seems to carry a connotation that all the content teaching is from video. Teachers who truly study or practice the model know differently. I am pleased with the goal of my evolution, creating a student centered classroom with more time to work with my students. Without technology this would not be possible. The largest success factor is my e-generation students. They are so comfortable with technology, my only task is to train them how to learn from video, data analysis, experience and adjust their learning tactics in response to learning feedback. As 6th graders, they have whole heartedly turned into little e-generation learners supporting each other on  24/7. In week 6, my students are practicing mathematical practices on their own by persevering problem solving in ongoing dialogue outside of the classroom. But I have digressed, back to the "flipped" classroom. I think the term "flipped" is useful in giving us a model to help identify and support the shift of teachers into the next model of teaching brought about by the rapid change in our e-generation students and technology. "Flipped" describes the major shift into the world of teaching fully with technology at every level of purpose. This would include the full at-home video content delivery at the high school and college level to the partial content delivery at the middle school level. My shift into the world of the flipped classroom was a search for the perfect balance (at a 6th grade level) of independent learning, content delivery, and a student centered classroom where I get to teach rather than deliver content. If you were to speak to my students as we enter week 7, they would acknowledge the training that has been happening each week in our classroom.We have arrived at the perfect balance of learning for our classroom (this week)  by adding one more learning skill each week until we found our classroom functioning at a peak use of time on learning. I did not know where this point would be until we met that balance. That balance is defined by the students, teacher and classroom culture, rather than some outside definition of a teaching model.  I expect this balance is not a static model and will continue to evolve as my students grow. I expect my students will continue to grow and respond adjusting their learning tactics to the learning environment I create. In response, I will continue to build and add to our new model of learning as needed. As I reflect here, I see my classroom environment is defined by "balance" so I guess the adjective that would best name my classroom today is "the balanced class".

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