My “flipping” method has evolved over the past 3 years. This is my current approach for a flipped class. For reference, I teach on a traditional schedule of 55 minutes per day. For research, best practices, advice, and computer access, read this post.
Notes at Home on Video
I recorded all my sticky-note videos for my textbook (Environment, the Science Behind the Stories by Withgott and Laposata). The videos are about 30-45 minutes of per chapter (broken up into smaller videos). Students watch at home and sticky-note their own book (there are other options for students that you can read on my sticky-note post). The time is typically 1 to 2 nights of homework depending on length of chapter. Students will pause the video and write so it takes them 60-90 minutes at home. Students watch these videos on Edpuzzle with questions that I embedded. Students get their first “notes” grade for their accuracy on Edpuzzle questions as a homework grade. Students do this assignment first to introduce the chapter.
Reading and Edpuzzles at Home
Homework other nights during the chapter consists of reading 1-2 sections of the chapter (The Withgott book typically has 4 sections per chapter). Along with this, they are assigned several mini-videos (2-5 minutes each) from YouTube, Bozeman, National Geographic orTed-Ed that are found on Edpuzzle. These mini-videos help reinforce what is read. Students are graded for accuracy on answering questions embedded in Edpuzzle as a homework grade.
Reading Quizzes in Class
After 1-2 nights of readings and Edpuzzle homework assignments, students take an online reading quiz. Usually 2-3 quizzes per chapter. The quizzes are on my textbook’s companion website “Mastering Environmental Science” by Pearson. I give 11 questions for 10 points (they get a freebie point) in 7 minutes. Randomized and not every student gets the same 11 questions. Accuracy counts and it is a quiz grade. Some students do not read and only watch Edpuzzles, but they don’t do well on the quizzes and they soon learn as their grade in the class slowly drops.
Physical Note Check in Class
I check notes for 2 chapters at a time the day before an exam. Students can bring in their books with sticky-notes, or the same information written on lined paper or show me their virtual sticky notes on an e-book. I go around the room and flip through the pages or stamp papers and mark on my seating chart. I do not collect. This is their second “notes” grade in my flipped class and is a homework grade (or sometimes a lab/activity grade if I want more compliance).
I recently finished the second year of a flipped classroom for AP® Environmental Science and my students did very well on the AP® Exam. I have a lot of first-time AP® kids that aren’t the typical honors student. Flipping helps not only these kids, but all students learn content at their own pace.
For year two, I changed a few things. (You can read about how I flipped the first year here and you can scroll to the bottom for a sample week’s assignments). After the first year, student feedback indicated that an overwhelming number of kids liked and learned well from this method, but 10% hated it. They explained that they thought there was more homework (there wasn’t), learned better from an in-class lecture, were used to copying homework, and/or were too lazy to do notes at home.
My goal this year was help all kids understand and embrace a flipped classroom since it can be very helpful to students and the vast majority of my students love it. And, more importantly, kids learn more and achieve higher scores on exams.
Caveat: A flipped classroom is not for every teacher, class or school. It can only work if students have access to resources at home. I work with the 1-2 students each year without computer or internet access to provide them with an individualized, easy solution (borrowed device, videos on a flash drive, etc). I also don’t think its good for NGSS where most learning is inquiry with labs or via literature, not lecture.
Communication. This year, I constantly referred to Bloom’s taxonomy, Depth of Knowledge and AP® Science practices (which are posted in the front of the room) when explaining an assignment. The AP® Exam is 2/3 higher level thinking and I tell them that. I reiterated periodically to students that they don’t have more homework with a flipped classroom, just different homework. For example, some days, I told kids at the beginning of class that they have today’s class time to do this lab write-up since notes are at home. Notes are the “easy stuff”, skills and AP® Science Practices are the “hard stuff” and will be done in class. More about communicating to parents and students can be found here. Communicating worked, sort of. I still had 9% of my students who didn’t embrace flipped (shown on the graph below with a 1 or 2 ranking), but they didn’t say that they felt that I gave more homework.The great news is that more kids chose a 5 below which indicated that they understood why this method works for their learning.
On the graph below:
1: No I didn’t learn well this way.
5: Yes, it was great to learn this way.
Here is a sampling of why they chose the number they did.
Overall, I am still very pleased with a flipped classroom. The kids learn well from it and enjoy class time more.
Lecture/Notes before reading assignments. On the suggestion of my students, I switched the order of homework after the first few months. I used to have students read at home and do in-class reading quizzes for homework and then do lecture notes (I do sticky notes) for homework using Edpuzzle for accountability. Then, I switched to doing lecture note videos first for homework, followed by reading assignments and in-class quizzes. This was their feedback.
I think that kids understood material in the book better when I went through the chapter via sticky note lecture before they had to read it. I plan to continue with this method in my flipped classroom.
Gave less reading quizzes by combining sections. My textbook has about 4 sections per chapter. I used to give one section to read and a few little Edpuzzle videos (2-3 minutes) for homework followed by an in-class, open-book, timed, randomized, online reading quiz the next day. I started combining sections for the quizzes. I still gave only one section per night, but a quiz every other day (I am on a traditional schedule where I see the kids for 55 min each day). This forced kids to read more carefully.
Check and give credit for notes 2 ways. My sticky note lectures are on Edpuzzle. Students must get most of the questions correct for credit. The questions are embedded from what I say, not what I write. This ensures that they actually LISTEN to my lecture instead of watching it, taking notes and listening to their own music. In addition, I do a note-check the day before the exam (two chapters at a time) to make sure they did the physical notes. These count for more credit.
Sample Week for a Flipped Classroom in APES
Weekend homework: Chapter 9 Sticky Notes on Edpuzzle
Monday class: Lab Set up
Monday homework: Read 9.1 and watch 3 mini Edpuzzles (ones that give visuals for 9.1)
Tuesday class: Math review and practice
Tuesday homework: Read 9.2 and watch 2 mini Edpuzzles
Wednesday class: 9.1/9.2 reading quiz (open-book, 10 questions, 7 minutes, randomized). Discuss results of quiz and misconceptions. Gather lab data.
Wednesday homework: Read 9.3 and watch 3 mini Edpuzzles
Thursday class: Finish lab data and questions, plan for group lab report on Flipgrid.
Thursday homework: Read 9.4 and watch 4 mini Edpuzzles
Friday class: 9.3/9.4 reading quiz. Film flipgrid with groups
Weekend homework: Chapter 10 sticky notes on Edpuzzle
Students like the flipped more classroom and more importantly, they learn from it. Here’s some feedback this year from my students:
By the way, I also ask them ways I can improve…but I didn’t post those here. 🙂
I believe explaining WHY I do something in class is important for students. While they don’t get to decide or vote on the way my class is run, explaining the thought process or data behind a method models higher level thinking — which is the whole point of a flipped class.
Higher Level Thinking
Flipped classrooms provide more time for higher level thinking. For Depth of Knowledge, that’s levels 3 and 4. Levels 1 and 2 are important, but they’re easy. During the first week of school I hand out copies of Depth of knowledge, Bloom’s Taxonomy and AP® Science Practices.
I ask the kids “Which level/s do notes mostly fall into?” and we discuss that notes and textbooks mostly cover DOK 1 and DOK 2. But the AP® Exam mostly tests on DOK 3 and DOK 4 using content learned in the lower levels.
Then we look at Bloom’s Taxonomy which identifies exam questions. We discuss that learning the lower 2 levels is important because they need content knowledge and lots of it in AP, but that’s the easy stuff. I tell my students that the “easy” stuff is mostly at home.
By doing the easy stuff at home, a flipped class can focus and spend more time on the harder stuff (apply, analyze, evaluate and create) during class time. I also give them the exam breakdown–over 60% of the exam is higher level and the way to get better at it is to practice. How?
More time in lab for data collection and analysis
More time in class to practice word problem calculations (a HUGE weakness)
More time in class for making graphic organizers to help memorize harder information
More time for student collaboration and discussion which improves thinking skills
More time in class for online coaching tutorials (that came with my textbook and have a lot of higher level activities)
Some of these higher level items (lab reports, math practice, data set analysis) used to go home, but with rampant copying, its better to have it done in class (see Authentic Work below).
(On a side note, explaining why higher level thinking is important for college and future careers and informed citizenry is a good thing for kids to hear–its not all about passing a test)
AP® Science Practices
The higher level questions on the AP® Exam come from the AP® Science Practices. I post these practices and discuss with kids. Reminders throughout the year of the purpose of activities help to reinforce the “why are we doing this.” In our course, it seems that a large portion of the higher level questions come from science practice #7.
The past couple of years has seen tremendous changes in technology. Students now have access to information through the internet that I never did. 99% of my students have smart phones which is great for looking up information, but also great for taking pictures of homework and sharing it via group text. Anything I want to make sure is not copied now has to be done in class or submitted through a plagiarism site. By doing notes at home in a flipped class, students are supposed to copy notes from the video-its not meant to be authentic work.
Other sites for basic knowledge and content, such as Edpuzzle, account for students logging in on their own and watching an entire video with embedded questions. This also encourages authenticity.
Notes take less time
An hour-long lecture in class usually only takes 15 minutes of video. This is because I don’t have to pause and wait for students to copy notes. On video, students can work at their own pace. This helps the fast writer as they don’t get bored and eliminates anxiety for the slow writer who can pause the video as much as needed.
Its NOT more homework
A handful of students last year complained that I gave them more homework since notes were at home. This was not true, but they didn’t have a good reference since this was their first and only AP® class. This year, I plan to discuss and discuss again to dispel the myth of more homework in a flipped class. A lot of the items I gave as homework, are now done during class time. On the flip side, the majority of my students LOVED the flipped lectures.
I recently led a couple of workshops about Flipped Classrooms for a technology institute. (Discalimer: I’ve only fully flipped for about a year. I’ve done a partial flip for several years. So….not the expert, BUT, I spent hours finding research, studies, and helpful videos from the experts.) If you are interested in my experience and how I did it, go to my blog: Why and How I flipped this year.
Below is a nice PBS Newshour article explaining what a Flipped Classroom is like:
In my research, I came across data that showed teachers were happier overall. I can tell you that this is the first year in a long time that I’ve not felt completely burned out by the end of the year. Here’s some other benefits from an articled called “Flipping the Classroom 2.0” from NSTA’s “The Science Teacher Magazine”:
“It is efficient. Lecture content can often be transmitted more effectively in a video than in a live lecture. McCammon consistently finds that a 60 minute in-class lecture can be effectively delivered in as little as 10 minutes via video.
It improves the life of each teacher. Flipping allows the teacher to cover the material once on video instead of repeating content class after class, day after day, and year after year. u It strengthens relationships. First, students are able to “take their teacher home” as they watch videos. Second, more class time is freed up to increase teacher student interactions.
Third, when students watch videos at home, parents often get a peek into what is happening in the class.
Fourth, administrators can watch the videos, establishing trust and accountability. It improves the quality of teaching. By recording content and reflecting on the video, each teacher becomes better at communicating content to students.
Flipping the classroom opens up more class time for student collaboration.
Flipping the classroom provides the time and structure needed to differentiate instruction.
It allows a blended (online and face-to-face) and selfpaced instruction more aligned to how this generation of students learns.”Brunsell, Eric, and Martin Horejsi. “Flipping the Classroom 2.0.” The Science Teacher (2013): 8. Flipping Your Classroom in One Take. National Science Teacher’s Association, Mar. 2013. Web. June 2017.
One of the biggest things to understand is that a flipped classroom is not really about videos. Its a whole new pedagogical approach to teaching. Videos at home enable higher level activities in class–the stuff that’s harder for students and need more help from the teacher.
Jon Bergman, the guru of flipped classrooms, discusses what a classroom should look like in this video:
How do I make videos? Don’t be nervous. Most of my videos are honestly just pointing my iPad at my textbook and recording. The kids don’t care about quality–seriously. They think its hilarious when I drop something or my kid is practicing trombone in the background.
You need to make your own videos, however, not just use Bozeman or others that are pre-made. That’s what the research says for the best student learning. Bozeman videos are awesome and my students are required to watch as review, but the initial learning needs to be slower and come from you. You can also work in personal examples from your area that a pre-made video will not have. Work with another teacher who uses your book–each record half of the video. Don’t worry about editing.
Make them short. Research shows that 10-15 minutes are best. This is because when one video ends and another begins, the students’ brain resets and they can focus better. I will often assign two or three 15 minute videos for notes in one night at the AP® level.
Here are the different tools for recording:
Here’s Paul Anderson’s method of making videos:
One of my new favorite ways to make videos is on the Explain Everything app on my iPad. You can load on documents, powerpoints, videos etc. and write all over them while you’re speaking. Here’s a video I made using this app:
What about kids who don’t have access to the internet at home? Since I don’t have very many with this problem-usually only 1-2 kids, I work with them on an individual basis to find a personal solution. I usually ask about their access in a “getting to know you survey”. Also, I make everything I send home mobile friendly as many kids have smart phone if they don’t have a regular computer. Here are some other ideas:
1. If making videos using existing powerpoints, perhaps print out a copy for the kids who don’t have computer/Wifi access at home and have them do Cornell notes or some other type of extended note-taking. That way they’re interacting with the notes for deeper learning even if they’re not hearing you talk on a video. 2. If a kid has an ipod for listening to music, perhaps save the audio of the notes for the kid along with a print out of the notes. 3. For math videos, you can screenshot the video several times for a printout of the notes. Or, allow only the kids without internet access to watch the video in class with problems at home–the traditional way. Here are some videos with more ideas
What if kids don’t watch the video?
In an AP® Class, kids who don’t watch the video will just get behind and have to catch up before the exam. Since my videos are on Edpuzzle, its part of their grade also. Here are some other ideas:
I decided to do a full flip in 2016/2017 out of self-preservation. My sections of AP® grew from 3 to 4 to 5 per day and I was exhausted from the constant rushing. Lecture days were hurried from bell-to-bell and labs were rushed. I still have 15-20 years of teaching before I retire and while my expertise is growing, my stamina is declining. Something had to change.
For many years, I did a partial flip-in terms of requiring content through reading the book. Kids were expected to read the textbook and take an online quiz at home and then we went over the pages of the textbook via “sticky-note lecture” in class. (See this post about sticky-notes). Students brought their books to class and sticky-noted their books along with my document camera and my master book.
I videoed all the lectures for absent kids a couple of years ago so they wouldn’t get behind. Some kids already watched these videos ahead of in-class lecture. When I decided to do a full flip, I made these videos mandatory at home and took some of the items that used to be homework and made them class work. Examples are lab reports, online coaching tutorials, math practice.
How I Flip
I assign a section in the textbook (Withgott, 5th edition) to read for homework. My chapters are usually broken into 4 sections. Most nights, I assign one section, but on occasion, I assign two short sections. The reading assignment is supplemented by a few short videos on Edpuzzle (usually 2-4 minutes long). These Edpuzzles reinforce and give visuals to what is read in the section.
In the example below, I assigned two Edpuzzles for each night, March 28th and March 29th. Edpuzzles work on a phone so all my kids either have computers or smartphones to use to watch.
The next day in class, students take an online quiz to check if they read. I allow books or notes for the quiz. They can also access an e-text on this site if they don’t want to bring their books to class. The quiz is timed at 10 minutes so kids do not have time to “wing it” and try to look up all the answers in the allotted time. To do well, they had to read. I usually assign about 10-15 questions per section.
The site I use for quizzing is “Mastering Environmental Science” from Pearson which comes with the Withgott textbook Environment: The Science Behind the Stories. There are a lot of free quizzing sites available online if you don’t have one through your textbook.
Instant formative assessment results:
After the online quiz, we will do other activities, labs, videos, practice math etc. in class. Flipping allows the higher level and harder stuff to be done in classtime.
After the students have read all the sections and taken the online quiz, they are assigned “sticky notes” on Edpuzzle for homework.
Students watch the videos (about 15 min each) and answer the questions on Edpuzzle while sticky-noting their own books. Alternately, students can write the notes on pieces of notebook paper-with pages indicated. You can read more about sticky-noting here.
I will do a “note-check” the day before an exam and check that the kids actually wrote the notes and didn’t just watch the videos. I note-check about 2 chapters at a time, because I test 2 chapters at a time for most exams.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
15.1 Mastering quiz Water Analysis Video
HW: Bring water samples Read 15.2 Edpuzzle-CA water
15.2 Mastering Quiz Water Quality Lab Day 1
HW: Rd 15.3 EdPuzzle-Water treatment
15.3 Mastering quiz Aquifer Demo Water mini-videos Oxygen Sag Curve (BOD) Diagram handout