Back in September, I wrote a post about how I was planning to give the Flipped Classroom a try in my fifth grade math class. I've now tried it out during two chapters from my math textbook. The first chapter was one covering addition and subtraction of decimals. I chose this one because I knew that most of the content was review for my students and I wanted to make sure that the content they would be learning/reviewing at home was not too difficult. The second chapter covered basic fraction skills - GCF, LCM, comparing & and ordering, changing fractions to decimals, etc. Once again, I chose this chapter because I knew that the material would not be too challenging for my students to learn through a video.
Following is a description of how I went about implementing the flipped classroom approach. This was my first time giving it a shot, so it is definitely open to suggestions and is by no means the standard.
Videos on Blackboard
My district uses Blackboard as a content management tool. I use it to post homework, link to helpful websites, and much more. Since all of my students know how to use this tool, I decided to post my videos there. Speaking of videos, I use SMART Recorder and a microphone to record short lessons (I try to keep them to about 5-8 minutes) and then post them to SchoolTube. I then embed them into a page on Blackboard. I let my students know a couple days ahead of time that their homework will be to watch a video. This gives students without access to the Internet a chance to make arrangements to get to our computer lab (open each day after school) to watch the video.
I also use Blackboard to create short five-question quiz for my students to complete after watching each video. The multiple choice quiz is automatically graded and I can download a spreadsheet with all my students' scores. This feature allows me to see who has watched the video and gives me a rough assessment of who understood the lesson.
Meeting My Students' Needs
I set out on this project because I teach two accelerated math classes. I have some truly outstanding math students in these classes and they often need enrichment beyond the content we are currently covering. There are, however, also some students each year who struggle to keep up with the curriculum. Some have been misplaced into my class while others just haven't been exposed to some of the skills and concepts and need more time to learn them.
Flipping the classroom allows me to differentiate and meet the needs of both groups of students. By looking at the quiz scores from Blackboard I can get an idea of who needs a little more work and who is ready for enrichment. Students in need of more work often get a remediation worksheet and more of my time during class while the others get another assignment that goes beyond the curriculum. I monitor both groups throughout each class period and do my best to provide them with the best experience I can.
I have to say that I am excited about further applications of this approach. Taking learning beyond the walls of the school so that it can occur anytime and anywhere seems to me to be the way education in the 21st Century will take place. In my next post, I will talk about my learings from the Flipped Classroom approach.