Flipped Out!

by Jill Brown

Let me start by saying, “Whew! That was a great ride!”

The first nine weeks of flipping my classroom can only be compared to one of those wild rollercoasters where your feet are left dangling beneath you. You know the ones I’m talking about. They have a lot of funky twists and turns and FREE FALLS. The ones, when it’s finally over and your heart is pounding in your chest and you’re out of breath you say, “THAT ROCKED! Let’s ride it again!” Yep. That’s what flipping my claasroom was like…a wild ride.

Here are some things I learned:

Screencasts

1. Because you can view the screencasts on your home or school computer, doesn’t mean your students can. Find a host site to store your screencasts. This will give embed codes. I use schooltube.

2. Don’t make your screencasts more than 10 minutes long or they won’t be watched.

3. Get the youtube downloader or use an online free video converter (zamzar.com) so that you can use the Khanacademy screencasts, in case Youtube is blocked at your school. This will allow you to download the screencasts so they can be uploaded to your screencast host site.

4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Classroom

1. Design an environment that allows for project/inquiry based learning. I got rid of all the desks, including mine. This has freed up a lot of space.

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2. Make everything accessable to the students.

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3. As a class, create norms of behaviors.. This helps with transitioning, community building, and independence.

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Students

1. The students who don’t do traditional homework are most likely not going to watch the screencasts at home, but they might surprise you.

2. The students love the independence and self-pacing.

3. Having the students use Edmodo to communicate with the teacher and their classmates, has been a plus. In fact, Edmodo has replaced the paper agenda. All assignments, tests, and quizzes are posted on Edmodo.

4. Allow students to watch the screencasts in class.

5. Allowing them the freedom to help each other has created a student support system.

Teacher

1. I can now differentiate my instruction! Because of the self-paced learning, I can meet students needs more effectively.

2. I instruct in small groups, or 1:1.

3. My students guide my daily lessons. Their level of mastery determines my daily plans.

5. Communicate with the parents often. This is new for them, too.

4. Daily reflection is key.

As I give this coaster another run, I feel better prepared for the twists and turns that are ahead. I kinda know when to clutch the bar tight and when to let go and enjoy the ride.

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