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Flip or Freak Out? Flipped Learning in the Classroom

posted Mar 5, 2015, 5:40 AM by Jenna Cooper   [ updated Mar 5, 2015, 5:47 AM ]
My name is Andrea McCoy and I teach 8th grade science at Middle School Central.  

Flipped classrooms freak me out. Seriously. I have endless questions. What if students don’t have internet at home? What if they don’t watch the videos? What if they don’t learn anything from the videos? How long is this going to take me? What if I don’t have time? What if I hate it? What if the students hate it? What will parents say?  Where can I put this on my evidence report?

I have attended conferences, read articles, and researched flipped classrooms. I still lack the confidence to go at it full force. If you are a pro at this, stop judging me; I am working on it! (In my defense, 8th graders just went one-to-one this year.) However, I have taken itsy bitsy baby steps towards the flipped classroom and it has already solved so many headaches/dilemmas.

1. Resource Videos were my initial motivation for doing a quasi-flipped classroom. If students did not understand a concept while they were reviewing for a test or homework, how could they get help? A basic internet search might take them from 8th grade chemistry to collegiate chemistry in one click. I wanted to have an easy way for students to get the concepts they needed. Ta-da! Videos! I started out just looking for great videos on YouTube. Most of those videos  were great, but went too far beyond the content or used big words. Due to my control freak nature, I started making my own videos.

Video Example: (The video below was made by Susan Porter, 7th Grade Science Teacher)

Significant Figures Example


“Mrs. McCoy's help videos provide students with the opportunity to take the content learned in a class and review it at their own pace in their own personal study environment. These videos are great resources for students in other classes, as well, and provides those students with an alternate approach to learning the material if additional instruction is needed. If I know that a student is struggling with a Science topic, I can always refer them to one of Mrs. McCoy's videos and feel assured that their questions will be answered in great detail. These videos are also a great resource for parents in helping their child understand content. It provides parents with a quick refresher of the material and allows parents to be able to hear exactly what is taught from the teacher.”  -Kristin Rodman, 8th Grade Special Education

“The videos you create for your students are incredibly helpful!  What a great way for kids and parents to get help from home!” 

-Katie Hoffmann, 6th grade Language Arts & Social Studies

2. Differentiation used to freak me out. (Are you sensing a theme here?) How could I work with 5 students who needed the most help, and still release control of the other 32 students? Students who are not working with me watch videos for a number of reasons: to get instructions on their task, to answer a question on the assignment, or as a review of past content. They can work completely on their own giving me the freedom to target students who need the help!


“In my 8th grade math class I have found many ways to incorporate the IPads, Canvas, and the app Educreations.  I have found that I can create video lessons for the kids in Educreations so that students can work at their own pace and they can watch the videos as often as needed.  While they are watching the videos on their individual IPads, I am able to work with kids in small groups or individually on material they need help with, or enrichment with students.  Using the IPads in this way allows a teacher so many ways to differentiate their classroom and curriculum.  Students seem to really like this method, also.  Their feedback is that they can watch the videos as often as needed and there are no classroom disruptions.  They can also pause the video whenever needed to come ask for help or whatever they need to do.  They also have access to the lessons at home and their parents can even watch the videos so they can help their kids. -Jill Jennings, 8th Grade Math

3. Absent Students

I always felt that absent students would miss a lot of instruction and then just be expected to “catch up” on their own. I could provide them with all the missed materials, but how could I be sure that they were reading through the content and trying to understand it? I would try and get students started and then work with them one-on-one, but that never seemed to be the most effective. The videos have allowed me to “send” work home for the student to do. They also allow me to provide the student with instruction without trying to explain it in the five minutes before class starts. 

4. Substitutes

When I am out for the day, I hate coming back to the chorus of “the sub didn’t tell us that was homework”, or the “sub didn’t explain that”. I started making videos of the instructions for the day. The students could either watch it individually or I could have the sub play it for the whole class. This way, I know the students are getting all the instructions or notes necessary for the day. I do not have to interrupt my plans for the one day that I am out.

Video Recording Software:

Educreations App: This is my go to free app favorite. Make sure to register for an educator account. Easy to use, but you cannot go back and edit what you have already recorded. (I take screenshot and pictures of practice questions, diagrams, and graphs and then I record/write all over them!)  

Example of Educreations Video 1

Example of Educreations Video 2

ShowMe App: Very similar to Educreations.

Explain Everything App: This requires some more time

Jing: Easily allows you to record on your desktop. Free!

Screenr: Similar to Jing.

PowToon: The videos you create with PowToon are much more creative and professional.

EdPuzzle: Allows you to use a current video and crop, add text, quizzes, voiceovers to it.

There are so many out there! Please comment if you have any that you feel should make the list!


  • Start Small: Shorter videos work best. They are also easier to make. Just pick one short video to get you started.

  • Don’t Sweat It: Your video does not have to be a perfect work of fantastic art. I desperately wanted my videos to be fantastic to watch, but I did not have the time! The more interesting, obviously the better, but a 4 minute video about HOW to do something really goes a long way.

  • Post it!: I post my videos on my teacher webpage or on Canvas. The students know where to access them.

  • TinyURL/QR code: I will put this on their assignment sheet so that they can access the video during class time or at home. This also makes it easy to leave when a sub is here.