Friday, October 4, 2013

Flipping through the Year

As a first-year Instructional Coordinator, I am learning about the various teaching styles of all the wonderful teachers who teach at the school where I work. I thought I knew them well; however, I have enjoyed getting to know them even better through a different lens. I love the autonomy our teachers have to teach how they feel the students best learn. Our teachers do not follow scripted lessons, they are not bound to "having" to teach a specific way, and they are able to use their creativity to enhance the learning experiences of our students. 

Last year, one of the middle school teachers began "flipping" his classroom. At first, we all looked at him with questioning eyes. We were curious about how it would work, but at the same time, we were afraid for him if it didn't work. He had researched this method (new to me then) and was equipped to handle the hiccups that might occur along the way. He recorded the instructional videos and loaded them to a server we have access to through our school. He explained to us the students would have to take ownership in their learning and be held accountable for the material.

We still thought he was taking a huge chance. We were concerned about the students who might not have a working computer or internet access at home. What would they do? How would this impact their learning? [He had it all worked out, and there were never any problems with lack of technology because he planned ahead.] 

He presented the idea to his students. They immediately loved the idea. Some of the parents were a little concerned because they did not want the instruction and education to be anything but the absolute best. He had the full support from the administration, and he began the journey. 

At home, the students watched videos of him teaching the standards and content they needed to learn. The next day, the students were placed into collaborative groups to discuss the videos and complete an assignment to demonstrate understanding of the content. After the teacher was sure the students understood the content, they took quizzes using a CPU system that immediately recorded their scores. The students loved learning this way. And the parents bought into the idea because their children were excited about learning. Instead of using the computer to play games or surf the internet, they were using it to learn. How awesome is that! 

He is still using this flipped, or inverted, method of teaching his students this year. In addition to the students enjoying it and learning, he has received comments from the parents. One parent told him, "My son watched all of the videos in one night. He sat there until he had finished all of them. And we know he cannot sit still long." 

I am so thankful that Mr. Mizell introduced our small, rural community to this method of teaching  (and reaching) our students. Thank you, Mr. Mizell, for stepping out of the box and taking a chance. 

Do you use this instructional method in your classroom? If not, do you know of anyone who does? I would love to hear your thoughts on flipped classrooms. 

1 comment:

  1. I am interested in this method. I don't think I'm close to fully implementing it, but I have started a classroom blog, (that my students are really enthusiastic about) and uploaded the OCCASIONAL instructional video onto it. I think it's great for review and kids who were absent! So I'll keep adding to my library of videos. :)


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