Doing the Flip (EDIM516 Unit 5)

“Create and share a video that you might use in a flipped classroom.”

I’m not going to lie. I struggled. It’s Tuesday. I’m writing and have not recorded a video. I’ve explored the resources in our coursework, Twitter, and in blogs I’ve read over the years. I’ve attended sessions on flipped learning; I know people who know a lot about it. Still, I can’t figure out how I would ever flip my class. The flipped model just doesn’t fit my teaching style. My teaching style never involved anything that wasn’t personalized and interactive. My students didn’t have homework or lectures. I taught small numbers of students who needed very different things. I just don’t see a world where I would be flipping my classroom.

That said, I think it is fabulous for teachers who are responsible for covering large amounts of content. I think it is a worthy model. Most of you reading this have done some investigating on the flipped classroom. I hope y’all won’t mind if I go off topic on this one a little bit. (That did not work out well for me once on a college writing exit exam, but that is a story for another day.)

I want to share with you a little information about somersaulting the classroom, a close cousin of blended learning. My first year teaching, 1992, I somersaulted my classroom before the flipped model was a twinkle in Kahn’s eye. I had a vast library of things my students could work on independently in class based on their needs. I guess it was a centers-based approach to teaching 15 kids in grades 5-8 with cognitive and learning disabilities. I did a ton of differentiating and grouping. Out of necessity, I introduced elements of the flipped classroom. You see, I’m not really a hater. I just love an adapted version. My students had individualized spelling lists based on words they had misspelled during the week. I’d record each child’s spelling test on a cassette for them to take on their own anytime on Thursday or Friday. It’s not a computer, or even digital, but it was a digital-like tool that gave me time to work directly with students while allowing them the opportunity to move forward with recorded me. That’s totally flipping, right?

So how would I do the flip today? I’d still somersault. Because what I do best in the classroom is the intensive focused time together, I’d use resources in Discovery Education with the more content rich things we do in school. I’d assign content to students to watch. Why would I ever lecture about Fort Sumter and the start of the Civil War when I can take my students there?  You’ll have to be logged into Discovery Education to see it. I do sometimes introduce some elements of flipping in my current work. Here’s an example of a way I have introduced some somersaulting into PD sessions I do. (Again, you gotta log in to get to the good stuff.)

I think recording things is good when you want your students to be able to rewind and review. I think that if I were to create a real flipped video for a class, it would be something like this:


4 thoughts on “Doing the Flip (EDIM516 Unit 5)

  1. Porter,

    I also had difficulty in thinking about a true flipped classroom (although there are several versions of this). I have never taught at a public institution; the charter school at which I worked was Montessori, so we never got to the point where we needed to find our way out of a traditional format.

    Out of necessity, I found resources that when used, could further the philosophy of following the child. Thus, differentiated learning is how they grew up. I believe that a flipped classroom is redundant; I have always been a facilitator and understood my role as such. The students have always had access to these resources online, whether they were videos or documents. These items were attached to the gradebook. If they had a question, I always referred them to the resources first; I then filled in the blanks. Thus, discovery is now a part of their learning process.


  2. Hi Porter,
    I came to the same realization pretty early on this week while reading and researching about flipping – it is the personalized hybrid model I make up myself that will work for my students.

    The majority of my literature based lessons and tech-based lessons pull in a lot of outside elements and depend on interaction and discussion. There is not a lot I would choose to flip from that standpoint.

    But the skills based (alphabeticizing, parts of a book, vocabulary) that I work on with students might be well suited for an ‘in-class’ flip. The students could work at their own pace. And by using a learning system like EDpuzzle/nearpod/etc. I could see what they actually know rather than spot checking via raised hands, thumbs up or down or even plickers.

    I had to laugh at your crochet video. I think I’ve made that scarf, or one pretty similar. And I frequently watch the same videos over and over when I need to figure out a knitting or crochet problem. Great idea!


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