FlipCon Australia

FlipCon

Last weekend I spent an amazing few days at the first ever FlipCon Australia – a conference all about flipped learning. I was there for two days and came home feeling inspired to improve may teaching after meeting so many great teachers including the pioneers of flipped learning, Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams.

I’ve been flipping my year 10 class since the start of the year by recording videos explaining the content for students to watch at home, and spending our class time working through problems, working in groups and investigating concepts.

But the way I’ve making videos isn’t sustainable. I’m only flipping one class and there’s no way I could flip all 5 classes with this method without burning out.
The problem was that so far I’ve been doing this on my own. At FlipCon I met some brilliant people and found out what they’re doing in their classes and how they’re doing it.

I came home with so many ideas of how to improve what I’m doing so that I can flip all of my classes next year.

The first thing on my wish list is a lightboard. I’m in the process of talking to my school about the possibility of building a lightboard studio to film all of my videos. Fingers crossed.

I also want to plan everything for each topic before it starts so that in the first lesson I can give students an overview including learning goals (syllabus points), resources (videos, worksheets, etc), extension tasks, and assessments (topic tests, summary books). Students will then have an end date by which time they need to be able to show me that they have learnt the content. I think this more self-paced approach should help students to manage and take ownership of their own learning.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again at FlipCon AUS 2016!

My Flipped Classroom

At the start of this year I decided to flip my year 10 classroom. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve and it’s taken a lot of time and effort but I’m so incredibly happy with the outcome. I feel like my time with this class is used so much more effectively and the feedback from my students has been overwhelmingly positive. I stand in my other classes waiting for students to copy down notes and can’t help feeling like we’re wasting each others time.

The flipped classroom is a broad concept that can look different in every classroom. So what does my flipped classroom look like?

  1. I make a video in Explain Everything (maximum 10 minutes) and upload it to a folder in Google Drive that all my students can view.
  2. My students watch the video at home before the lesson and take notes in their books.
  3. Students then answer three questions that check their basic understanding of the content. I set each quiz up as a Google form and email the link to my students. Students also have the option to ask any questions they might have through the video.
  4. Before the lesson I read through the responses and gauge how well the students have grasped the content.
  5. The class can start in one of three ways:
    • If everyone seems confident with the topic I’ll get them to start on the exercises or activity straight away.
    • If there were a few students with different questions raised in the quiz responses I can talk to them one-on-one while others get started.
    • If it seems like a number of students have the same question or if a common misunderstanding has been highlighted in the quiz results then we run through a few examples or have a class discussion about the concept before getting started.

We’ve been flipping for six months now so I decided to ask for feedback from the people who matter most. I’ve shared some of the questions and responses below:

What benefits have you noticed with the Flipped Classroom approach?

  • A benefit from the flipped classroom approach is that it can sometimes leave more time for people to complete questions in class. It also gives us stepped out videos on the skills we learnt which is valuable when we come to study.
  • When I get to the harder questions in class I have miss to help where as at home I don’t have that opportunity for the help, leaving questions till the next session.
  • There are several benefits in regards to the flipped classroom, these include: being able to catch up on any work if you’re away
; really easy for us to go back and check things that we may have forgotten
; more time in class to do the exercises
; less homework
; allows us to ask Miss more questions

How could the Flipped Classroom be improved?

  • If the teacher could go through 1 example when we get into class just to refresh what we’ve learnt in the video the night before.
  • I don’t believe it can be improved as I think it is highly effective and a much better way of learning as it is. 

What other comments do you have about the Flipped Classroom approach?

  • With the introduction of the flipped classroom also came summary books – this have contributed greatly to the learning experience and are extremely beneficial when study for exams.
  • Miss Davis’ videos are very clear and straight forward which makes it easy to understand at home
  • I hope it continues throughout the rest of the year because it has been beneficial for my learning.
  • We should keep having the flipped classroom. ◕‿◕

Excitement for the new year

This past week was a nice way to ease us all back into the teaching routine after the Christmas holidays. We started with the Australia Day public holiday followed by two staff development days with time allowed for planning, then on Thursday years 7, 11 and 12 started the school year and on Friday we were in full swing with years 8, 9 and 10 starting up too.

I’m pretty excided about a few things this year:

  1. Each year everyone in our staffroom moves desks. This year I’m seated next to my closest colleague and already we’ve had some amazing conversations that are made so much easier now that we can just spin in our chairs rather than walking the length of the staffroom. We’re helping to keep each other grounded – reminding each other to pick one thing in our classes to focus on and make amazing rather than trying to improve everything all at once.
  1. I’m working with Year 7 for the first time this year. I’m pretty excited to be teaching younger students and new content.
  1. I’m flipping my classroom! Last year I had a beautiful Year 9 class full of hardworking and enthusiastic students, and I asked (really nicely) to have them again this year. It was beautiful to have a student say “Miss I almost cried with happiness when I found out we have you again!”. Anyway, I feel like I know these kids and I think they trust me so I figure it’s a perfect time to try flipping my classroom. Last year all the teachers at my school were given iPads so in the holidays I played around and made some videos. I’m planning of flipping this first topic (rates) and then evaluating how the flipped classroom went and asking for feedback from my students. I’m using Google Drive to share all the videos with my class, and I’ve made a Google form where students need to answer 3 questions about the content and I get all the responses in a spreadsheet. That way I get a snapshot of their understanding and I can highlight any misconceptions I need to address with individuals at the start of the next lesson. I explained all this to the kids at the end of the first lesson and they seemed pretty impressed with the idea… “So we watch like a 5 minute video, take some notes and answer 3 questions – and that’s it for homework?!”. The only concern anyone raised was that they might not be able to watch videos if they had work or other commitments after school, but we talked about the fact that it should only take 15 minutes and that they would have the same problem if I gave then a page of questions to complete for homework. I really think this will be amazing if all goes to plan but I’m a little scared because really, how often do things go according to plan when teenagers are involved?