Back To CourseHow to Flip Your Classroom
10 chapters | 58 lessons
So you have done the research and decided to flip your classroom. You know how. You know why. The question is now: What can you do with this added time in class? The answer is: Increase students' collaborative learning time.
Collaborative learning occurs when students work together to achieve a common goal. Collaborative learning strengthens the communication of students and helps them grow into productive members of a team.
A traditional classroom is one in which teachers provide direct instruction, often through a lecture, and then assign homework for the students to complete on their own. In contrast, in a flipped classroom, teachers provide the main instruction as out-of-class assignments through the use of readings, videos, or lectures to be watched at home. Students then complete the bulk of the practice in the classroom. This allows the students to read or watch the material, several times if they desire, before doing their work in a supported environment.
Providing the bulk of direct instruction (when students are primarily in a passive receiver mode) at home leaves more time in class for collaborative learning activities during which the teacher becomes more of a learning guide and mentor.
Labs and group work are allowed center stage in flipped classrooms. Students have more time to collaborate through group projects and peer mentoring, and they gain more in-depth, experiential learning. This type of active engagement strengthens the students' problem solving and group communication, while increasing learning. Students also can collaborate with the teacher on assignments through questioning, conferencing, and dynamic interaction.
Teachers can incorporate collaborative learning in a flipped classroom in many ways, but they may consider the following.
1. Student-led groups. Students work together to design projects to match the material being taught. Group members can work within the confines of the teacher to develop a project that demonstrates their understanding of the material. Students may write or perform plays, debate topics, or work on other content related to the specific curriculum.
Laura, a high school history teacher, is teaching a unit on the American Civil War. After sending home video assignments about some major battles, Laura breaks the class into small groups. Each group is assigned a battle to research in depth. She then gives groups the task of analyzing and re-strategizing the battle to change its outcome.
2. Hands-on lab work. Teachers set up controlled experiments or experiences for students to participate in hands-on learning.
Jennifer, a second-grade teacher, assigned families to read about the parts of a plant. A detailed diagram was sent home along with a one-page flyer for families to read together. Students were asked to label the diagram at home and return it to school. In class the next day, Jennifer assigned lab partners and ran a lab on plant parts. Partners were asked to unearth a small bean plant from a pot, to identify the plant parts, and then to re-pot the plan into a larger container. The second-graders noted the changes in the plant from previous weeks when they had planted the seeds.
3. Student-teacher conferencing. Students meet with teachers to conference about work, learning, or specific projects. Teachers are available to work with individual students or small groups to refine and review projects and classwork.
Holly, a veteran fifth-grade teacher, knows that students often struggle to show multiplication of fractions with arrays. In the past, she has taught the lesson and has had a small amount of work time to ensure students understand the lesson before sending them home with homework. Students would come in with the work not completed or completed incorrectly. Well-intentioned parents would try to help but were not always familiar with the process. More precious class time would go into reteaching the concept.
With a flipped classroom model, Holly recorded herself teaching the lesson and sent the link home for students to watch. She also included a video lesson from an online resource. Students were able to view both lessons as many times as they needed to feel confident with the material. Holly asked the students to write down and turn in two questions they had from the lesson. When the students came to class, the practice that would have traditionally been homework was done in class with Holly there to answer questions and clarify or reteach concepts as necessary.
4. Peer mentoring. Students meet in pairs or groups to assist each other in learning or project tasks.
Kristine, a middle school language arts teacher, has noticed that her students need more time and instruction for revising their work for a targeted audience. She has sent home infographics on choosing an audience for written pieces and has also sent several short video links on the topic. She then models a conference with a student for the class and provides a conferencing worksheet. Students work in partnerships to peer review each other's written selections. Kristine is available to all groups as a resource.
Collaborative learning, which occurs when students work together to accomplish a specific goal, is important to students and their learning. Providing the bulk of direct instruction to students outside of class time, using the flipped classroom model, allows teachers the freedom to provide more collaborative learning opportunities to students. Classes can include student-led groups, and learning can include more hands-on labs. This model can be used across grade levels and curriculums. As technology expands and improves, so, too, does the opportunity for flipping classrooms.
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Back To CourseHow to Flip Your Classroom
10 chapters | 58 lessons
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