The Flipped Classroom teaching style has been gaining momentum as it puts more responsibility of learning into the hands of the students and decreases student talk time. The idea of creating mini-lectures in video form for students to watch at home before accessing content at school is very desirable – watching the videos may replace traditional homework while kids have more hands-on time in the classroom to apply their knowledge and create new learning.
One Scholastic article titled Flip Your Classroom drove home that videos will not replace good teachers. Instead, teachers will be able to spend quality time helping kids to truly understand the concepts, apply their understanding, and participate in tasks that engage the higher order thinking skills of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The article also mentions that it is not expected that teachers flip their classroom over night. Start with one lesson or one unit. Enact that unit, reflect upon its effectiveness, refine and try again.
One main characteristic of a flipped classroom is that students watch videos at home. Thinking of the demographics of my own classroom (100% free and reduced lunch, 50% ELL…) this shot up a red flag for me. How will this ever work when my kids don’t have computers at home to use or, if they do, half of them don’t have parents that speak the language I teach in. Although I supplement my teaching with Spanish, the main focus of kindergarten is to learn reading, writing, and math skills in English. I allow my students in the classroom to talk with each other in Spanish if they are working, as long as they use key vocabulary words in English. Initially I started thinking that I could make the lesson in Spanish as well as English so that parents could work with their students. That might work – I’d need to make sure I use the same level of language in both. However, the larger problem still exists – my students don’t have internet access at home – Most of the parents only have email on their phones.
Then I read a post on Edutopia, The Flipped-Learning Toolkit, Flipping the Un-Flippable Classes, that highlighted a teacher in Seattle who had kids watch the videos at school before starting to work. Randy Brown has half of his students watching and learning on devices while the other half works with him or independently. This is something that may work in my classroom! Andrea Buehler has some great videos on YouTube that show a video kindergarten lesson:
These are great to have on hand for students to check out while they are working on handwriting and phonemic awareness. If students had a library of these videos on their devices, they could access them anytime they needed a reminder on sounds or letter formation. These will be very beneficial in my room. Additional videos on blending, writing, and specific reading/writing rules in English can be very helpful!
Due to the demographics of my classroom, I don’t honestly think it’ll ever be fully flipped, however the wheels are turning on how I can flip certain lessons and subjects and support students in higher level thinking and learning skills.