"I wish I had flipped my classroom a year ago."
Or, "I couldn't imagine this transition without having flipped my classroom first."
Both are statements I've heard from teachers who I've worked with to flip their classrooms.
2020 and teaching in a pandemic has certainly thrown us all for a loop. No one could have predicted it or prepared for it, but it's certainly taught us two huge lessons in the education world...
1. An accessible classroom was no longer just a nice feature, it became a necessity.
2. Building the plane while flying it is no way to teach kids or survive the experience as their teacher. It's just not sustainable.
What I would like to propose though is that flipping the classroom has given some teachers an advantage in the huge transition that has been teaching in 2020.
But, here's the thing, that fact helps no one other than those who were already flipping. So true. But I'd like to show some ways we can take the basic principles of flipping the classroom and use them to our advantage in the structure of our blended or hybrid classrooms we find ourselves in today.
The basic structure of how to flip a classrooms is what gives a teacher an accessible classroom, but in a way that sustainable for them. Simply establishing the structure and wrapping their minds around how to best use synchronous versus asynchronous time is what gives teachers the advantage and at least some peace of mind.
To answer that question, let's talk about what most traditional classrooms might look like. To some extent, almost all of the direct instruction of topics and standards is done in the classroom. Almost all of this direct instruction is delivered by the teacher.
Then, what's completed at home is the practice of those topics and standards.
The flipped classroom takes that model and, well, flips it.
In the flipped classroom, the direct instruction is delivered via a video and is done at home (please hang with me for a minute as I have something to add to that), and what was homework - the practicing or climbing farther up Bloom's taxonomy - is now done in the classroom, in the presence of the teacher and classmates.
One more thing.
That's the very far out, bird's eye view of the flipped classroom. I want to dive into it a bit deeper, but I would like to add something to this idea of what exactly is flipped in the flipped classroom.
It's not just what's done in class versus what's done at home, it's flipping when it happens. We have to have a shift around how we view "homework."
In a traditional classroom the homework was always done after the lesson.
In the flipped classroom homework is more like pre-class work.
Think about your college days, and any conversations you or your friends may have had with professors when it came to grades and doing well in a course. I'm betting that at some point in your college career you heard (or heard of) a professor asking a student, "Did you prepare for class today?"
Being the astute student that you were, of you course you were always prepared 😉.
And that's the same principle here with flipping.
Your students do work that prepares them for the work they will do in class.
So once we're back to "normal" - please visualize an over-exaggerated air quotes motion right now....
So once we're back to "normal," here's what flipping looks like when it comes to what your students will be doing compared to the traditional classroom.
So when asking why you flip your classroom, and how. in the world it applies to the. blended or hybrid classroom, I hope this visual helps...
It's because your students will be doing the harder parts of learning in your presence.
Bam, that's it.
Ok, that's not really it - there are plenty more reasons, but I won't go into all of them now. I'll just mention one quick one... it allows you to. streamline the delivery of your content. so you're not spending all your time doing so. Instead you're spending your time diving deeper with students, meeting them where they are in their understanding, and helping clarify where they need help.
So far I hope this post has helped you wrap your brain around flipping and what exactly it is, but we should address this important item considering it's the entire purpose of this post and is the reason why I'm writing in November of 2020.
Teaching in a blended or hybrid (or even virtual) classroom is freaking hard.
By now you've probably finally gotten the hang of who you'll see when, but just think back to how long that took you and your students to grasp. Phew!
There are so many variables that you just can't control.
And we haven't even mentioned the equity issues that exist.
Seriously a blog post on equity wouldn't even scratch the surface of the severity of inequities we're seeing with our kids and the gaps that are widening by the day. But it's an issue that needs to be the headlines in our news circles not just something I write about in my little blog... although I hope to, soon.
Flipping in a blended classroom not only allows you to streamline (and make more manageable for you and your students) both synchronous and asynchronous time, but it also sets up a foundation that allows you to transition well into a completely remote setting or even back to 5 days a week, face-to-face setting.
It's two birds (maybe even three) with one stone.
Speaking of not scratching the surface - this post has barely done so when it comes to knowing how to flip your blended classroom. And I would love to offer my help.
I'd love to invite you to a brand new, free online training for teachers that you can watch from your desk (or couch) right away!
So it's more SIMPLIFIED · STREAMLINED · SUSTAINABLE.
If you're feeling like many teachers right now who are barely keeping their head above water in their blended, hybrid, online, or some combination of all classroom, then I have a free online training that can get you the clarity and support you need now without spending hours in training and preparation.
We'll talk about the structure of your blended classroom and how to best optimize your asynchronous time so that it serves your synchronous time and makes the most out of the most effective tool in your classroom... YOU! Click below to get registered for this FREE training.
Once you're registered and confirm your email address, the free training will be on its way to your inbox.
It's time we change the narrative around how teachers are supported, and this is one step along toward that mission.
Until next time,