My last period class is leaving, it’s Friday, and the first week has finished for Bartlett High School, in Bartlett, Illinois. This one is in the books. I have had fun this week explaining, simply, the flipped concept to students.
I am flipping my three Civics classes and my two World History classes this year. I explain the flipped concept the first several days of class and the students kind of nod their head. Teachers say a lot of things in the first few days of class. Blah blah blah. They are used to having teachers say a lot of things to them…
So I give the students 4 or 5 assignments that they have two days to do. Getting logged in successfully to the network, setting up their gmail accounts, getting their account to the online textbook set up, watching a podcast and taking notes on it for a quiz in a few days. Each student is assigned a computer from the laptop grant I received. They work the first day in class and make some progress.
The next day when they come into class, I go about my administrivia taking attendance and other tasks, during which times students usually socialize, waiting for the teacher to say “OK, students, listen up…” They are waiting for that. So after a while I look at them and say something to them like “Don’t you have something to be doing?”
And so they begin understanding the flipped classroom. My number one goal for these students: That they begin taking RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN LEARNING. Last year I made the conscious decision to take myself out of the front of the classroom. To be less the “sage on the stage” and more the “guide on the side.” I have made podcasts in Civics and World History to cover most of the core curriculum. I am still actively involved in every class, but in a different way than I used to be.
Looking back at this first week of school I can see the steps of growth the flipped class has helped foster. I can see the increased personal sense of responsibility that has been generated. Somehow with the flipped classroom I can sense that students begin to take on the curriculum more as their own. They are not doing the teacher’s work, they are doing their work. The freedom of summer is over, the challenge of being an educator is back on the front burner! Stay tuned.