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Information About The Flipped Classroom

Before you read anything about the flipped classroom, please take a moment to look at the graphic below.  This will give you a very good, short view/explanation of the flipped classroom.  You will find more information below the diagram, which will explain how this teaching model will be used this year in 8th grade science (for both Mr. Alkire & Mr. Fuzak).

The Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

What is a “flipped classroom?”

The flipped classroom is the brainchild of Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams who are pioneers in the field of using vodcasts (recorded lectures) in the classroom. They have devised a new method of teaching called Pre-Vodcasting and the Flipped Classroom. In this model, students watch vodcasts at home and class time is spent in engaging hands-on activities and directed problem solving.

YouTube - Learning4Mastery's Channel


The Flipped Classroom Explained In 22 Minutes - By Aaron Sams - Screencast.com

Why a “flipped classroom?” 

Mr. Fuzak and I have taught for 10-years and we are always looking for a way to create a learning environment that allows for us to work with, interact with, and engage in learning with each student EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Over the years it has become more difficult to interact and engage with each student, every day, no matter how hard we tried. 

Using the flipped classroom will allow for both of us to work with, interact with, and to engage in the learning process with each and every student, each and every single day!

This will also allow for us to work with and monitor each students progress toward the learning targets developed from the MME Earth Science curriculum.  We will be able to quickly assess if a student does/doesn’t understand the learning target(s) while they work through the formative and summative assessments provided in each unit we will study this year.

Also, look/listen to the success such instruction is bringing to those that are using it, like the Khan Academy!!!

Ted Blog - Let's use video to reinvent education: Salman Khan on Ted.com

What is “mastery learning?”

Mastery Learning enables students to take responsibility for their own learning.  Students conduct experiments, watch vodcasts, work on assignments, interact with the class website, have one-on-one discussions with their teacher, and get tutored by their peers.  This is Mastery Learning at work.

Mastery Learning allows students to work at their own pace through the science curriculum.  When they complete a unit they must demonstrate that they have learned the content by taking an exit assessment, which will include (but not limited to) online tests (using ProProfs), hands-on lab experiments/demonstrations, and a written component. 

If students score less than 80% on these assessments, they must go back and re-learn those concepts they missed and make another attempt at the assessment. 

If a student scores above an 80%, but less than 100%, they have the opportunity to make another attempt at the assessment to possibly score higher OR they can take/accept the grade they received and that will be recorded into PowerSchool.

However, if a student does choose to take another shot at an assessment and scores a lower score, the score they have received on this second attempt will be the score they receive (the higher of the two scores is not kept, the most recent score is the one that will be put into PowerSchool). 

Example, Jonny scores a 92% on the assessment the first time he takes it.  He thinks that he can get a 100%, after looking at his assessment and going over his notes/vodcasts to relearn the content he missed on the assessment, but when he makes his second attempt at the assessment he scores a 74%.  Since Jonny has a score less than 80% he will be required to make yet another attempt at the assessment.

The most recent score is the most accurate snapshot of what a student actually knows!

The purpose of mastery learning is to provide opportunities for a learner to demonstrate their understanding, of the content they are studying in class, at a mastery level.  For some students, they will only need one opportunity to show mastery, while others may need a second, third, or more opportunities to show their mastery of the content.  

YouTube - Learning4Mastery's Channel


What is class going to look like each day?

In simple terms, "organized chaos" might be the best way to describe what each day will look like.  Others have referred to the flipped classroom as a "3-ring circus."

The descriptions may seem like the kids are running around, unsupervised, not learning anything, and with nothing to do.  HOWEVER, the opposite is happening, and at different stages, for each and every single student in the classroom, each and every single day!!!  Our job as teacher is far more demanding in this model, but also far more effective as we are able to have more one-on-one interactions than ever before.

When students come into class each day they will start by using their Student Learning Target Checklist to direct them to their task(s) to complete on a given day.  The Student Learning Target Checklist will be provided to each student at the beginning of each unit we study, and will be used as a communication tool for both the students and their parents/guardians.

For example, here is what the student checklist will look like for the unit on Sky Observations, MME Earth Science Standard E5.p1:

E5.p1 Student Learning Target Checklist – The Earth In Space And Time Unit.docx


The goal, each and every day DURING CLASS, is for students to complete their formative/summative required activities in class (i.e. homework).  The flipped classroom model of teaching has the students doing the homework in class so that they have direct access to the teacher for assistance and fellow classmates for collaboration!

The goal, on some nights OUTSIDE CLASS/AT HOME, is for students to watch vodcasts, or listen to podcasts to complete their notes (i.e. lecture notes).


How can my student watch/listen to the classroom vodcasts/podcasts?

The easiest way to watch/listen to our classroom vodcasts is to use our classroom website (Mr. A's and Mr. F's Classroom Homepage).  We will post the videos, in advance, so that those working at a faster pace will be able to continue to work ahead to complete their Student Learning Target Checklist.

Mr. Alkire and Mr. Fuzak have created a private YouTube Channel and a private Vimeo Channel where we will post our vodcasts for each of our required activities.

HMS 8th Grade Science YouTube Channel

HMS 8th Grade Science Vimeo Channel


Questions You May Have:

1.  What if my son/daughter doesn't have access to the internet from home, how are they going to be able to watch these videos?

If access to the internet from home is not available, or "dial-up" is the only available internet access , Mr. Alkire and Mr. Fuzak will supply students with a DVD/CD with the video so that they can watch it at home.

If a student does not have access to a device that will play a DVD/CD, Mr. Alkire and Mr. Fuzak will address this individually with the student and parents/guardians.

2.  What if my son/daughter doesn't watch the lecture notes at home, what will they do in class the following day?

What we do not want this to turn into is a classroom where students are watching videos and then going home to do the work.  We want the students to come to class prepared to do the work!  There are going to be times where a student didn't have the time to watch the video(s) at home (family emergency, internet was down, etc.) and exceptions can be made, but we do not want this to be a reoccurring problem.

If a student continues to come to class without having watched the video(s) at home the following action(s) may take place (not limited to any/all of the following):

-  Contact will be made with parents/guardians to address the issue.

-  A meeting will be scheduled for the student/parents/guardians to address the issue.

-  The student will be referred to Mr. Kramer and may watch the video(s) in their presence.

-  The student will be referred to Mr. Kramer for the H.A.W.K.S. program.

3.  What if my son/daughter completes the required activities before the due dates?  Can they take the assessment when they are ready or must they wait for the rest of the class?

If a student has shown that they are ready for the unit assessment we will provide them with the unit assessment information, and when they are ready they may take the assessment at that time.

4.  How can an 8-10 minute video lecture (vodcast) be used to replace a lecture that took an entire class period in years past?

This is a great question!!!  The very easy answer is that this model of teaching is much more efficient!!!

1.  There is not time spent disciplining students that are not paying attention during lectures.

2.  There are no interruptions (phone ringing, someone knocking on the door, etc.).

3.  There is no stopping to answer student questions (sometimes good questions and sometimes questions that are asked in an attempt to take the class off-topic).

Also, there were only a few times in previous years where an entire class period would be used to lecture.  Most of the time a lecture would last 20-30 minutes, leaving 20-25 minutes for students to begin a formative assessment (homework questions, lab questions, test review questions, follow-up reading about the content we just discussed during lecture, etc.).  Using the flipped model, many of those things that would cause lectures to take more time are now removed and by doing so the lectures are now shorter!


5.  What does a “flipped classroom” require of you as a parent?

The “flipped classroom” enables you as a parent to be more involved (and more easily involved) in your student’s science education.  Below, are several ways you can help:

1.  Provide your student with a quiet place to watch the lecture video (preferably with headphones to limit     distractions). If Internet or computer access is not available at your house, provide your student with the time to stay after or come in before school to watch the video in the school library or our classrooms.

2.  Ask your student questions about what they watched and have them explain their “Check for Understanding” answer, or present their notes to you out loud.

3.  Take a peek at their “Check for Understanding” answer yourself to make sure it sounds complete and makes sense.

4.  Read the questions they may have asked/written down while watching the video (if they are not asking questions along the way, encourage them to do so).  See if they can answer their own questions after they are done with the notes.

5.  Encourage them to take their time while watching the videos.  Remind them that they can pause, rewind, or re-watch portions of the video when the teaching is going too fast or when students need a minute to make sense of what was presented.

6.  Watch the videos with them so you can learn along with them and help them when it comes to doing regular practice at home!


6.  What does a “flipped classroom” require of your student?

The only thing that is different is the type of “homework” that they are doing.  Instead of doing a homework assignment that the student may get stuck on, find too difficult and then quite or copy from someone else, students simply have to watch a video, take notes, and reflect in a summary and/or question.  Students are expected to come prepared to class each day with the background knowledge of each concept, and ready to continue forming their deep understanding of it.  Students are not expected to have full mastery of the content before they arrive in class, although some students may be at that level.

The flipped classroom requires your student to take responsibility for their learning in several ways:

1.  Students must plan time to watch the video when they are still fully awake and able to focus.

2.  Students must take initiative to re-watch videos they need to see again.

3.  Students must make sure that if they are absent, they still watch the required videos (when able), and come to class prepared.

4.  Students must make sure that they take initiative to communicate with us either online or in person if there are issues with watching the videos. This includes coming and seeing me before school, during primetime , or during lunch to watch the videos before class begins, as often as possible.


7.  What research has been done on the flipped classroom model of teaching?  What results did the research collect to support (or not support) this teaching model (there are more, but here are a few to start)?

Thayer method of instruction at the United States Military Academy: A modest history and a modern personal account

The Thayer Method:  A Novel Approach to TeachingBiochemistry  

History and Effectiveness of Mastery Learning in Mathematics:  From B.F. Skinner to the Internet

The Effects of the Classroom Flip on the Learning Environment:  A Comparison of Learning Activity in a Traditional Classroom and a Flip Classroom that Used an Intelligent Tutoring System

The Impact of Mastery Learning and Video Podcasting on Learner Performance in Secondary Mathematics:  Pre-Vodcasting and the Reverse Classroom

Flip Teaching

The Daily Riff - How the Flipped Classroom Is Radically Transforming Learning

Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, Michigan - The Flipped High School

The Effects of Using Screencasting as a Multimedia Pre-Training Tool to Manage the Intrinsic Cognitive Load of Chemical Equilibrium Instruction for Advanced High School Chemistry Students


I still have questions?

Great! We always tell our students that questioning is an indicator that you are trying to understand the material at a deeper level.  Feel free to contact us anytime.  We are always excited to start a new school year, and look forward to the challenges ahead. As things do change, please let us know of any feedback, comments, concerns and/or questions you have about the process and/or method throughout the year. 

Thanks for your time, and here’s to a great 2012-2013 school year!