Flipping Math Introduction

I started seriously getting to work this week on planning for my flipped math classroom. I’m excited, but also a little overwhelmed. Since I haven’t taught math since a new curriculum was rolled out, I’m feeling a little challenged in taking on the flip at the same time as the new content.

I had spent the summer researching different flip models and reading blog posts about flipping. So I thought putting together an outline would be easy. Immediately I ran into some fundamental flipped classroom questions that I wasn’t sure how to answer.

First, I tried to define to parents (and students because I feel that by secondary school students need to be in charge of their own learning) what the flipped classroom was. That forced me to also be sure about what I meant by a flipped classroom. It was a little difficult because I was aware I didn’t want to get into too much jargon: educational or technical, so in the end I settled on the simplest explanation I could design.

Next, I went into a how/why/when etc trying to anticipate some of the basic questions that might arise when I introduce the idea. The why is simple because I could focus on the class time that the flipped classroom will give me to work with students directly.

The when was a bit harder for me to determine. Having never flipped before I had to think realistically about its use. What if I can’t sustain it throughout the year? What if the students/parents hate it? I decided to be deliberately vague and gave myself an ‘out’ in case any of my ‘what if’s’ came true. By suggesting that the flip may not happen every class, I removed the expectation for the class to be run this way every class.

Finally, I needed to explain the assignments and the assessments. Again, since the flip will be new to me, I had to do a little bit of teacher philosophy soul searching combined with fortune telling to try and see where this might go. I settled on explaining that there would be accountability for the video watching, but again, I chose to be vague about what that might look like. Although I most likely will use some type of google form or an edmodo post to ensure students are viewing the videos, I didn’t want to be overly explicit and therefore wedded to one method of assessing.

There were still some ideas I had for the outline that I didn’t include. For example, should I include links to some documentation on the flipped classroom model? Was it too vague not to break down the assessment piece more directly? Was the explanation too simple overall?

I’ve posted below the document I created; I’d love any feedback and suggestions anyone has!

Flip Explanation2011.doc

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2 Comments

Filed under math, Summer

2 responses to “Flipping Math Introduction

  1. I think it’s worth talking about the opportunity to engage in more projects and hands-on math during the freed up class time. Grade 8 math is a terrific time to work on projects, as the curriculum (and the mindset of the kids) really lends itself to good, fun, projects.

    Make sure that you have some way for kids to ask questions on the videos. If they are posted inside an LMS (like Moodle), post them in a forum so that kids can post questions underneath, which hopefully they will ask and answer. You may find it is worth posting some answers to their questions in this forum. This will hopefully resolve one of the issues with flipped instruction where it removes some of the ability of students to ask timely questions.

    Also, what if the kids created instructional videos for the next year? What access do you have to use technology during your class?

  2. Thanks for the great tips! I’m most excited about the time it will give me to do different projects. I’m lucky to have access to quite a bit of technology to use for different assignments. I have wi-fi in my classroom and a projector. The school has 2 computer labs and 25 iPads. So I’m definitely going to have the students creating videos once I get going.

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