Flipping for the Flipped Classroom
For the past few years, I have been interested in the concept of the flipped classroom. The idea of a flipped classroom is simple. In the traditional classroom model, direct instruction (the lecture component) is delivered in class, and the activities are either tacked onto the end of class or assigned for homework. With the flipped classroom model the direct instruction is delivered outside of school, through short videos and other materials. Students view these materials before class, allowing for in-class time to be devoted to active work, such as discussions, collaborative projects, and problem-solving activities. Many proponents of the flipped classroom approach believe it gives students the chance to master the content, at their own pace, and allows them to engage at a deeper level in-class.
This year I started to implement the flipped model in my classes. I record my lectures and students listen to (and watch) me for homework. Students have time to develop questions about the content, and we have more time in class for activities (and who doesn't love a good science lab).
While this change has not been without some bumps in the road (mainly students not listening to my dulcet tones, but just copying the information for the slides), the flipped classroom model has been a boon to my class. Students who have had extended absences have been able to stay on track, and those students who are not native English speakers have had the time to digest the lectures at their own pace.
Phase two of the flipped model (at least for me) is to allow students to work at their own pace through the unit. Students would be able to move as quickly or slowly within a unit of study as they needed to. For example, the biology genetics unit is broken down into three concepts or sections. Students would have a goal of 70% to demonstrate mastery. All materials would be assessable to students lectures, hands-on activities, and exams. There would be designated lab days where students would be able to complete the unit labs (I think, hey I am still working things out).
Students will have the opportunity to retest several times to show mastery of each concept. The issue for me (with allowing students multiple testing opportunities) is the making of the retests. I may have something that will help with the retest dilemma. Questbase is an online quiz creator that has quite a few options including the ability to pull a random set of questions from a test bank each time a student takes the exam.
Do you have experience with the flipped classroom model? Do you have any advice concerning standards-based testing, or have a test creator that you use and love?
It's been a while
So much has happened in the past couple of months. In March our school went on our annual week without walls trip. This year I had the opportunity to travel to with grade 6 to Tai mountain. This short trip was a great way to get to know the class of 2025. We all worked hard to climb 6,666 steps to the top of the mountain.
On April 13th the QISS art department did an excellent job putting on an art show of both student and faculty artworks. I was pleased to be able to display some photographs I have taken over the past year.
The most significant event in the past few months (at least for me) was our inaugural innovation fair. I am so proud of the students here at QISS. They worked so hard to solve real-world problems. Lower school students came up with plans for improving their playground. Another class worked solved the issue of the little kids not being able to reach the water fountain by finding step ladders to assist them.
In the upper school, one student researched how animal micicracy could be used to make better architecture for humans. Another student turned his love of skateboarding into training wheels for those who are learning how to skateboard. Middle school students worked on different projects to raise funds to support various social causes.
All students worked hard, and with the support of teachers and staff, they were able to learn more authentically.
A teacher from the United States of America, currently teaching abroad. I teach science to middle and high school students. I enjoy reading and doing nerd things.