Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Along with trying to figure out how to do homework, incorporating INBs and figuring out foldables, I've also been considering the flipped classroom this summer.

There are three different ways I've been approaching this:

1.  Our tech guru at school, Cary Harrod, approached me this spring asking if I would take an ecourse from PLP about flipping the classroom, lead by Jackie Gerstein. I agreed (especially since school would pay for it!) and signed up for the 5-week course. It was supposed to start at the beginning of June and run through the middle of July but then was pushed to mid July to mid August. I've struggled with the course a bit just because it's been so philosophical and at this point of the summer I'm thinking application. Jackie's focus was to "set the framework and ideas" for the five weeks I've enrolled and then will do more of the lesson developing during what is the second (optional) 5-week course. I'm a math teacher. I need concrete.

I'm not saying that I disagree with what Jackie's doing. She spent a week discussing the idea of "experiential" learning and loves the hands-on, problem solving approach. It's not just Khan Academy, people! (Jackie's amazing at finding and sharing links, too!)

2. Cary also emailed me this summer asking if I would check out the Sophia Flipped Classroom course.  I have to admit that I started it (got 41 points out of 60 possible) but then got distracted. It's more of an "on your own time" thing... it's populated with videos to watch, articles to read, links to follow, then a quiz for each section. It's interesting and nice to be able to do at my own pace.

I hadn't been to Sophia before... there are a ton of videos there that you can use if you plan on flipping a class! Or even if you don't; I would like to use them as back-ups for kids who have been absent or need extra help.

3.  I also had a (short) chance to hear Troy Stein speak at TMC12. He works for TechSmith, the company behind Jing,  Camtasia, and Snagit. These are some of the notes I wrote down during Troy's talk:

·         Will students watch the videos? Do you watch YouTube videos at home?
·         Aaron Sams, John Bergman – started flipped classroom in Colorado (chem)

Using Snagit to create videos:
·         Screen capture
·         Open in ppt, write on it…
·         Start recording middle of class to post for work later (Quiet on the set)
·         Keep it simple – start with one unit
·         Mathtrain.tv – middle school videos made by students
·         Use webcam video – dragged onto screen to see talking and work at same time
·         Students prefer to see someone they know “If it’s someone I know, it’s cool. If it’s not, it’s just a video.”
·         What if students don’t watch video?
1.      Play video during warm up/attendance time. 
2.   Students call home to tell parents they didn’t do it.
3.    Move on… put students who didn’t do the work in a group.
4.      Embed bonus snippets in video to reward those who are watching.
5.      Find the mistake. (Reward for first one found.)

I'm not at the point where I'm ready to flip a classroom. I can see using the idea of having a student watch a video/do the basic learning outside of class so you can apply it in class the next day. Especially in something like precalc when a lot of the first quarter is review for so many students (or should be!) and they just need a quick review.  I started making some screencasts last spring for classes just so I could talk through a lesson that several people had missed or a tough homework problem... the kids loved it and I'm sure I'll keep it up this year. But to do that on a regular basis instead of "lecturing" (hate that term) in class?  I'm not ready for that.


  1. You are on fire. Can I get some of your work energy? I'm going to experiment with video in class this year but I'm not sure how yet. I'll keep you posted. :)

  2. Hopefully I won't be burned out by September! :) But thanks, Julie.

    And I'd love to see what you end up doing this year!

  3. So I think after the first quarter (maybe sooner) I'm going to flip my stats class. I would love to sit down and pick your brain and get your thoughts on what/how you want to do it with pre-calc. I won't do it this year for that class as I'm not comfortable with the material, but I could see similarities between your pre-calc and what I want to do with stats.