This year, homework may look a little different than you're used to. Our class will implement a learning model known widely as the “Flipped Classroom”. In short, a flipped classroom switches around the traditional order of teaching with the purpose of creating a more in depth and supportive environment in the classroom when the teacher is present and able to better support students. It allows for students to receive more individualized education, thus resulting in them understanding the content at a higher and deeper level than before. In addition, it challenges students to learn how to take charge of their learning, becoming resourceful learners. Lastly, it provides time for more discussion and questioning during class time, helping students to become reflective communicators and to think more deeply about the subject.
What does homework look like?
For homework, students will be required to watch video lectures, read text, play online games, and/or listen to educational podcasts. These materials will be very similar to what students would traditionally receive in class. However, because the material is recorded, students can watch "on demand", and are able to pause, rewind, and re-play any segments that require clarification. This allows students to learn at their own pace and become more self-directed, having to know when they need to go back over a certain concept they did not fully grasp the first time it was explained. Each lesson is specifically designed to be around 5 to 15 minutes long.
There are many ways to access the homework materials. Everything will be linked on the class website for easy access. Because the materials are online, they can be accessed on any internet-capable device, such as a cell phone. No internet access? Materials can also be checked out from the teacher on a flash drive to watch on your home computer, or even uploaded to iTunes from a flash drive and synced with a student’s iPod/iPad to access offline. Other options are also available by request, such as getting the videos on DVD to watch on a TV instead of a computer or making arrangements to watch videos and such at other times during the school day. Materials older than one week will be archived in case students are absent or would like to view them for test review or as a refresher.
While watching the videos, students will take notes, complete written reflections, or participate in other activities, such as a review activity or online threaded discussions with their peers. The quality and depth of each student response informs me of how much they truly understood, as well as what misconceptions they may have that need to be further explained. When students return to class the next day, I have already been able to review their homework and devise a plan of action in supporting their success. Homework time is devoted to initial exposure to learning topics and lower level understanding, which frees up class time for more advanced learning.
Keep in mind that there will still be nights where homework will look more like "regular" homework... students will be doing review worksheets and/or practice activities along with traditional daily tasks such as Math Facts Practice and Nightly Reading.
What does classwork look like?
When students come into class, we begin by reviewing their homework in a variety of ways. We may go over a few samples as a class, or students may discuss their reflections either in partners or in small groups. This time allows the class to refresh their memory on what was completed, and clarify anything that was not clear.
After a quick review, students will apply the learning in a variety of ways. This may include small group instruction, experiments, hands-on projects, one-on-one tutoring, and more. More time in class is devoted to application and extension of learning topics, in which students can deepen their understanding with the assistance and support of their teacher.
In the flipped classroom model, we still practice learning concepts in class regularly and take short quizzes to assess progress made in and out of the classroom walls. In addition, there is still the opportunity for whole-class teaching and review if the large group needs to go back over a concept. However, most of the teaching is now focused on smaller groups of students who need help on certain concepts, leading to individualized instruction and support.
What does a flipped classroom require of the student?
In reality, a flipped classroom does not change the fact that students are expected to go home and do homework for a set period of time each night. The only thing that is different is the type of homework that they are doing. Instead of doing mindless practice problems without really thinking about them, getting stuck on hard topics and/or doing it incorrectly, or simply not do the work at all because they think it's too difficult, students simply have to watch a video, take notes, and reflect. Students are expected to come prepared to class each day with the background knowledge of each concept, ready to learn it better, deeper, and faster. Students are not expected to have full mastery of the content before they arrive in class, although many students will be at that level.
The flipped classroom requires student to take responsibility for their learning in several ways:
Students must prioritize their time wisely, completing the assignments on or before the due date. Assignments will be posted at the beginning of each week in order to meet the needs of different student and family schedules.
Students must plan time to access the material when they are still fully awake and able to make connections between content. (Before 9 pm is highly suggested).
Students must take initiative to revisit the materials they need to see or hear again and revise their responses, if necessary.
Students must make sure that if they are absent, they still watch the required material and come to class prepared.
Students must make sure that they take initiative to communicate with me either online or in person if there are issues with homework. This includes coming to class before school, after school, or during lunch to get the materials. This should occur before class begins
What does a flipped classroom require of the parent?
The flipped classroom enables you, as a parent, to be more involved in your child’s education. Most parents tend to believe that they do not remember much from their elementary and junior high classes, and do not feel they can support or help their student when they are home doing homework. However, with the flipped classroom. there are several very easy ways you can help your student:
Please let me know if your child's ability to complete work is hindered or changed, due to loss or reinstatement of Internet, a broken computer, etc. I can only help you if I know of the problem!
Provide your child with a quiet place to view the material (preferably with headphones to limit distractions).
Ask your child questions about what they viewed and have them summarize it to you.
Read their reflection to make sure they sound complete and make sense.
Have them verbalize any questions they have about the material. If you can answer it, great! If not, encourage them to research the answer or to email me with their questions.
Encourage them to take their time while watching the material, which means pausing, rewinding, or re-watching portions in order to make sense of what was taught.
Watch the videos with your child so you can learn along with them! This makes it much easier to help them when it comes to practicing these skills later.