Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thoughts on Flipping my class....

Ever had one of those moments where you can’t remember when you first heard about something? I’m flipping my classes this year and get asked a question a lot lately….”Where did you hear about this?” Well, I can’t remember. It was one of those late nights when I was surfing the web looking for something else. I don’t remember what it was, but somehow I landed on a Youtube video created by the Camtasia folks with Aaron Sams.

Now, let me preface this by saying, I already flipped my English class in essence. I use a version of the Writing Workshop model, where the majority of student writing is completed in class with my supervision. However, if you are familiar with the Writing Workshop, it requires a 10-15 mini-lesson to start most class periods. With 40 minute class periods, I just didn’t have the time for that on a regular basis.

With that being said, I still didn’t make the connection that the flipped class could work for me. I did, however, have a co-worker looking for ways to differentiate his math instruction. I forwarded the video onto him and left it at that. He got very excited about trying it for a variety of reasons and began asking me questions, because it sounded very similar to what I was already doing. It was at some point during those discussions, and subsequent research, that I realized I could blend the flipped model with the workshop model and buy myself more in class work time, while still delivering the necessary content that would have been in the mini-lessons.

As I researched more, I followed the ning, and came across the flipped classroom conference. On a whim, not really expecting to get it approved, my co-worker and I showed it to our principal (including all associated costs) and to our surprise he said, “Go for it.”

Attending the conference was the best decision I could have made. I absorbed so much information from @jonbergmann, @chemicalsams, @bennetscience, @agudteach, and several others at the conference. It brought a great deal of clarity and confidence to this model being possible. Unfortunately, I haven’t found another English teach doing the flipped class the way I’m electing to do it, which is fine. I met @agudteach and got some ideas from her and also realized I could not only flip my English class, I could flip my Reading/Literature class as well.

The last couple weeks, I’ve been producing videos almost non-stop. I was averaging about 2 a day for awhile. I decided to take a break for a vacation and to clear my head. I’ll be back at the videos late next week, but then I head to the Google Teacher Academy in Seattle for 3 days. My goal is to have every video needed for 1st quarter created before school starts, which I estimate will be in the range of 40+ videos. Since I teach both 7th and 8th grade, I can double up some of the videos for more than one class.

I’m still searching for an English teacher to collaborate on some videos with me. I recruited the help of a former student to make some and she’s done a bang up job. She wants to be a teacher (why, I don’t know) so if you want to hire her to help with your videos, I’ll put you in touch with her. You can check out the videos I’ve made so far on my Youtube channel. I know some of them aren’t very good. My plan is to go back and re-do some of these after I get better and quicker at making these videos.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress using the flipped class. And, if you know of an English teacher that wants to collaborate maybe through Skype or just dividing the workload, let them/me know.


  1. One of our math teachers gave a presentation last night on her flipped classroom. I spent half the night trying to figure out how to use this in my literature and writing classes. I'm so glad to see another English teacher using the flipped classroom. I can't wait to get started!

  2. Vicki,

    Good to hear you're flipping. I've had a wonderful year of flipping and plan to take it even further next year. I will be presenting at this year's Flipped Class Conference in Chicago. I'd be glad to help you in any way possible.