Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My First Year of Flipping

***This post was generously contributed by guest blogger David Fouch.***

As I am writing this reflection on my first year of Flipping the Classroom.  I can only think about and wish I was in Chicago at the 2012 Flip Class Conference.   I finally have had some time to reflect on the on my first year of the flipped classroom model.  I just finished my 5th year of teaching and the first year that I used the "flipped" method.  When I was first introduced to the "flipped" method my reaction was this is going to save me a lot of time and create more time in class for individual instruction.  

As my students walked in the AP US History the first day they were told horror stories, by previous students, of the amount of homework they would have a night.  Some students told me we could have up to 4 hours a night of homework.  They were ecstatic when I explained the flip would cut their homework time in half but they were confused on how that was going to happen.  Some students did not know what to say or do because their entire school career they have been told what to learn and how to learn it.  

What the Flip method looked liked in my classroom....

  • 4 days a week the students would watch a vodcast, that was created on Camtasia Studio and uploaded to screencast.com, these vodcast would cover content through using Powerpoints, note sheets, Prezi, and videos. These videos replaced the lecture I would give in class.  This saved me a ton of time, in years past I could only go as fast as the slowest note taker. Now a 25 minute lecture can be recorded in a 8-12 minute vodcast.  

  • During class time everyday we would do a bunch of different activities. This where I need help in creating new projects/assignments for daily use. We would work on discussion questions in small groups, projects, analyze primary sources, watch a video, work on writing for DBQ and FRE questions, and class discussions.

  • We had to move at a very quick pace for AP US History.  My kids need to be prepared for the national AP test by the first week of May.  I always joke that we have to cover our content from when the earth cools till President Obama takes office.  Thus, we do a chapter a week and test on Monday.  Sometimes the tests are multiple choice and other times they are writing prompts.  

  • The Flip method allowed me to spend more time in class preparing students for writing DBQ’s and FRE questions.  We would spend a time on just writing thesis statements, introductions, body paragraphs,  etc.  

Changes I plan on making for next year....

1.  Videos will be no more than 10 min.  Sometimes the vodcasts went a little long and students became disinterested.  
2.  Videos will only be created 3 days a week.  
3.  More hands on activities.
4.  More class discussion covering content.
5.  More differentiation of assignments and class work.

All these changes are coming from my exit reviews with my first class of flippers.  This first year was very successful for the first year of flipping.  I am looking forward to expanding the flip to regular US History.