It is mid October at the time this episode will air which means only one thing… the Holidays, and Winter break, and by extension, second semester, is right around the corner. Home improvement and craft stores have been setting up for Christmas since August, so don’t call me crazy that I’m talking about it in today’s episode. Deal?
Alright - today I’m giving you a challenge, if you’re willing to take it on and reap the benefits for you, your classroom, and your students. And the challenge is this - flip your classroom by Christmas.
Now, does every teacher need or want to do this? Absolutely not. And many of you listening today have already flipped, and I’d love to give you a virtual (or at least audio only) round of applause… and ask that you email me or find me on social media and let me know how it's going - truly I want to know. But for everyone else who hasn’t flipped and has maybe considered the idea and would like to know more, this episode is for you.
Flipping your classroom is no small task, and it will meet the unique needs of your unique students if you build it well. And this episode will get you started in that direction.
After listening to this episode you will have a clear understanding of what it takes to flip your classroom so that your time investment and decision to flip is both sustainable for you and effective for your students, getting you the ultimate return on your time investment.
Because here’s the thing, the post-pandemic classroom is one that must be accessible to students outside the classroom walls, but also sustainable for you, because if it isn't’ both of those, you’re either leaving students behind or losing teachers. Flipping allows you to be accessible and sustainable, effective with your students in the post-pandemic classroom in ways that streamlines your content for all, and empowers your students to take ownership… a lesson they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
So grab your pen and paper, or open the notes app on your phone, get ready to jot down these insights, ideas, and steps toward flipping your classroom in effective and sustainable ways. Here we go.
Step one is that you have to start way in advance. You can’t decide in unit two of your content that you’re going to flip unit three. Ok, wait, could you do that? For sure. But it’s not what I recommend and it’s not what I teach in my programs and trainings on the flipped classroom.
And there’s a big reason why… but that is step two, which will get to shortly.
My recommendation here is that you start working to flip your class at least three units ahead of where you are now. In fact, my stronger recommendation is about three months in advance, which is why this episode is airing approximately 2-3 months before second semester, so that you have ample time to decide right now that you’re going to flip and can make it happen.
So let’s say that you decide you want to flip and you want to make it happen by second semester, welp as of the time this episode airs, you have just under 12 weeks, approximately 3 months, to make it happen. It’s perfect timing.
Well, that brings me to step two of this three step process, and that is to understand that you’re not just implementing a new teaching strategy by flipping your classroom. In fact, that’s where this trendy term and classroom technique differs from most others - it’s not something you can just try one day and quit the next… at least not if you want to reap the maximum benefits that I have seen in my classroom and in the classrooms of hundreds of teachers that I’ve helped flip.
No, what you’re really implementing here is a curriculum overhaul. But let me be super clear - you’re not reinventing your curriculum, no you already have that. Instead you are streamlining, organizing, and optimizing your curriculum so that it fits into this pandemic world in ways that are accessible to students, and empower them in their learning, but also streamline all the moving parts in your classroom so that it’s more sustainable for you, the one making it all happen behind the scenes.
Keri Tafuro, a teacher and alumni of Flipped Classroom Formula said in her interview back in episode 21 that “Flipping my classroom was not just lesson planning, it was building a curriculum… and it changed everything, including how great my students’ results were.” If you haven’t yet, you should absolutely go back and give that episode a listen, but her quote speaks straight to my point that you’re doing more than just changing a lesson plan when you flip. I don’t say that to scare you off, but instead to empower and motivate you, because you won’t be spending a ton of time on small, piddly stuff. Nope, you’ll be spending time on massive movement in your classroom that gleans massive results.
Keri is a middle school math teacher who decided to flip her classroom after attending my online masterclass for teachers, 3 Insights to Flipping Your Classroom, which is open for enrollment right now, and it’s totally free - so head to the link in the show notes to get registered, and soon enough you’ll be flipped just like Keri.
Alright, moving on to step three here, and although the episode says 3 steps to flip your classroom by Christmas, I actually have a fourth and bonus step for you, so be sure and stick around to the end for that.
Ok, so step three is to visualize your flipped classroom. Now this may seem a little woo-woo, or weird, but stick with me for a minute so I can explain.
When you flip your classroom, as we established in step two, it’s a curricular overhaul, which means you’ll be making some large decisions about your classroom even after you decide to flip which are super necessary to making sure your flip is ultimately successful. If you don’t visualize and understand exactly what you’re wanting from flipping your classroom, then you’re going to have a harder time and waste lots of time making those important decisions.
So take a moment to sit down, clear your mind, and see in your mind what your flipped classroom will look like, what it will include. Consider and visualize things like when your students will watch your flipped videos, how will they take notes, how will you hold students accountable for taking their notes, what will you do in class to use those notes and build off of them to work towards mastery, all of these things you want to consider.
Please don’t be overwhelmed by this because it may put you in the rut of decision fatigue, but more so use this step to visualize the possibilities. You’ll be opening up class time to dive deeper into content, do the fun, engaging or more effective activities, projects, labs, workshops, writing, reflection, goal setting that makes learning more meaningful and longer lasting. Get your teacher wheels turning in your brain that have been rather dormant lately in the name of let’s just get through the content, let’s just survive this year.
To really visualize your classroom and dive deeper into this step, I want to again invite you to my free workshop, 3 Insights to Flipping Your Classroom, because we do this together, and I give you a practical way to put this step in action.
Ok, I promised a bonus step for you, and it may be my favorite out of all of them in this episode, and here it is…
Do or Don’t Get Your Teaching Team On Board.
Ok, let me explain. If you teach on a team of teachers, could be just one other teacher or four or more, or maybe you work with a team or individual intervention specialist, in any of these areas you should reach out to your team and let them know that you’re going to flip before Christmas (or maybe next summer, totally your choice). You can even share this episode with them so they get an understanding of your motivation and drive to make this happen.
When you then witness their reaction, you can then decide to flip with or without them.
In many cases, they may make that decision for you. But I have a couple of meanings in this recommendation…
First, you don’t HAVE to flip with other teachers, but if you have the opportunity to the task becomes (or could become) much more manageable. You could decide to make the videos as a team where one teacher takes every third unit, splitting up the task of making videos. Or maybe one teacher makes the videos, but the other makes the formative assessments, and yet another creates the documentation system and guided student notes (all of which I teach inside of my course Flipped Classroom Formula if you’re wondering where those ideas come from).
Doing this as a team is a beautiful thing. In fact, Megan Bauer talks about how her team of math teachers and intervention specialists worked together to flip algebra one in her school over on my website at teachonamission.com/teachers, and is linked in the show notes, so be sure to go check that out.
The second meaning I’m getting at here is even if they decide to flip as well, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything the same. Your flipped classroom is uniquely yours. There is a beauty to collaborating with other teachers and still keeping your classroom uniquely reflective of you and your students. It could also mean that you straight up don’t want to flip with them, and that’s ok too - teacher autonomy is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s yours. Either way you go, it’s up to you, and there are benefits to both, but it’s important to see if there’s an opportunity to collaborate.
Alright teacher friend there are the four, not just three steps to get your classroom flipped before Christmas, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention just one more time that the online masterclass created by yours truly is open for registration as we speak and is completely free, and is a great next step to take in your flipping journey. Click in the show notes where you’re listening and get signed up for the time that works best for you, then when we’re finished with the one hour training, I will send you a certificate of completion that could earn CEUs.
I hope to see you there, and I hope to see you here, next week, for another episode of the Sustainable Teacher. Bye for now.