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Case Study on Flipped Learning: Elementary School

Instructor: Hilary Agnello
This lesson revisits the concept of flipped learning, providing a discussion of how a flipped environment works best in the elementary school. This lesson analyzes a specific elementary classroom that incorporates flipped learning and presents the positive components as well as suggestions for improvement.

Flipped Classrooms Overview

In a flipped classroom environment, the traditional in-class activities (such as taking notes, watching a video, or reading a passage) are ''flipped'' with the out-of-class activities (such as independent homework practice or writing an essay on a passage). The flipped classroom model has gained the most support in the secondary education setting, where many students struggle with independent practice and require additional support from the teacher.

A typical example of a flipped middle school math classroom would be homework assigned as a Youtube video on solving one-step equations. The following day, the students would then work on problems in-class where the teacher and other students are accessible to help.

Flipped classrooms offer many benefits, such as more one-on-one teacher to student interaction, more opportunities for differentiation in the classroom, and more chances for the teacher to assess how well the students are understanding the content. However, successfully implementing a flipped classroom in the elementary environment presents unique challenges and requires additional planning and preparation to truly improve student learning.

Fourth Grade Flipped Classroom Case Study

The remainder of this lesson presents a fourth grade flipped Language Arts lesson and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses throughout the lesson and activities.

The Previous Night's Homework

Students were to read a short story about a boy who is bullied that also contained that week's vocabulary words. While they read the passage, they were asked to circle vocabulary words they found in the passage.

  • Strengths: Assigning a passage for students to read and asking them to circle vocabulary words is an activity that all students could complete without assistance. There are no technology components that some students may not have access to. Requiring students to circle vocabulary words allows the teacher to quickly visually check for completion. Additionally, students can read at their own pace, something that could not have happened had this been done in class.
  • Weakness: Assigning the same passage to all students assumes all students are reading at the same level. This does not differentiate per reading and comprehension abilities.
  • Suggestion: Instead of assigning one passage to all students, assign multiple passages that cover the same material but at varying reading levels. This may, however, eliminate the option to include the vocabulary component.

Body of the Lesson

1. The teacher begins the day by asking students to take out the passage and while she has a quick discussion with the entire class about what they thought overall, she spot checks the students' work for circled vocabulary words.

2. The teacher breaks the class into three groups, where each group rotates through three different activities:

a) Vocabulary: Students at this station work in partners with flashcards that have the vocabulary words on one side and a description of the word on the other.

b) Writing (including technology): There are three questions that assess students' comprehension about the passage written on the board. At individual computers, students are asked to create a word document on their own. In the word document, students are to rephrase the three questions in their own words but are not required to answer them.

c) Comprehension: The teacher is positioned at this station and works with the small groups to guide a discussion that uses the three questions posted on the board as guiding questions. The teacher checks for comprehension here and looks for opportunities to extend the discussion.

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