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Responding To Learning Gaps Left By 2020

Jun 08, 2021

Now that the 2020-2021 school year has come to a close, we can all look back and realize the race it was to lessen the ramifications and decrease the learning gaps created by the shutdowns that occurred in the spring of 2020.

And when I say it was a race, I mean it was a rat race, with tons of hurdles, obstacles, disqualifications, delayed starts, and crap on the track and anything else that symbolizes hardship in our foot race analogy here.

Learning and achievement differences have always existed, but the shutdowns of 2020 put all kids’ learning in a jar, shook it up, and laid it out for us to clean up.  And here’s a big takeaway for today’s episode… That clean up process is not finishing as we end this school year. 

We will notice those learning gaps indefinitely.  And we must respond in-kind.

So as we reflect on how to close these gaps, let’s do so with the facts in mind that 

  1. This is a long game, and gaps will not close in one year, so let’s prepare our classroom and differentiation strategies accordingly, and
  2. Let’s keep the long game in mind for ourselves as well, because if we just stab at any one strategy trying to find a solution, our sustainability will be the first sacrifice in the name of what’s best for students.  So let’s strive to do both - maintain our sustainability while being ultra-effective in the classroom.

And for these reasons, I’ve got three tips for you today on why the principles of flipped learning will allow you to flourish in the long game of closing learning gaps left by 2020, but doing so in ways that preserve your sustainability in the process.

After listening to this episode you’ll go from feeling helpless amongst the learning gaps, to empowered and in control with the differentiation techniques of the flipped classroom, ready to respond to the needs of each of your future students.

So let’s get to it.

What Not to Do

Our first one is a “what not to do” tip.  I’ll say right up front that the best way to NOT accomplish sustainable differentiation and close the learning gaps created by 2020 is to stand up and talk to all 25-30 of your students at the same time as if all that you’re saying is exactly what each of them needs.  Our classrooms and curriculum can no longer be a one-size fits all experience because of the gaps left by 2020.

I say that out loud, and simultaneously hear the anxiety levels rising in any teacher listening.  Because here’s the truth.  True differentiation is a personalized learning path for each of our students.  I don’t mean an individualized education plan, although those certainly allow for differentiation and protects the students’ needs by law.  What I mean is that each of our students are unique individuals with unique needs, and meeting each of their needs is an impossible task for one individual teacher.

Don’t feel defeated just yet though.

There is a way to get as close as possible to this personalized learning path without sacrificing your first born child to get to it.

Ok, seriously, you haven’t had to sacrifice your first born to be effective in the classroom, but I guarantee you’ve had to sacrifice one too many social events with friends, or date nights with your special someone, or evenings just chillin’ at home.

So tip number one is to stop addressing your class as an entire class for whole periods at a time.  Content delivery can be much more effective if delivered in a personalized way.

Which leads to tip number 2 when I say, phew - that sounds impossible, right?!?

The Power of One Flipped Video


And our answer here lies in the power of one flipped video.

So what’s a flipped video?  It’s when you take what you’re wanting to teach your students, your direct instruction, and you record it so that students can do these incredible powerful things:

  1. Watch on their own time - freeing up class time for deeper dives into the content,
  2. Watch at their own pace - they can pause and rewind their teacher and no one has to know about it, and
  3. They can rewatch as necessary to remediate their learning before assessments, optimizing the video for their individual learning needs.

All this power lies in one flipped video.  Just ONE!

This seemingly insurmountable task of differentiating and meeting each of our students’ unique needs suddenly becomes much more manageable when we take our content delivery, physically take it out of us and put it into a medium that is much more accessible than we are, and allow them to work through it at their own pace.

So when Juan needs to speed up and move onto unit two in the course, while Sandra needs to rewatch video 3 of the first unit in order to remediate and retake a quiz to prove her mastery, they both can do that on their own paths on their time, while you are rocking it in your role of guide-on-the-side in your classroom.

Novice to Veteran Teachers

And that brings us to tip number three.  Whether you are brand-new to this idea of the flipped classroom and haven’t begin implementing the strategy yet, or if you’ve been doing it for years and are ready to take on the ultimate flipping experience of the mastery flip (which I talk about in my upcoming flipped classroom workshop), the principles of flipped learning can very much be the ticket of differentiation for your students, allowing them to move through the content at their own pace, and fill in the gaps meeting their individual and unique learning needs.

It doesn’t matter where you  are on your flipping journey, the basic principles of the flipped classroom will help you close those learning gaps left by 2020, and it will do so in a way that preserves your evenings and weekends.

So join me in the free teacher pd workshop, 3 Insights to Flipping Your Classroom: Being More Sustainable in your Daily Teaching Life, where, yes, we’ll talk about flipping and how to jump start your journey to a thriving flipped classroom, but our deeper why is maintaining your sustainability in the classroom.  You can save your seat and get registered today at the link in the show notes below.

And there you have it teacher friend.

We talked about three tips to help you close the learning gaps left by 2020 and those are

  1. Don’t deliver the content of your course in a one-size-fits-all-fashion,
  2. But instead do it with the power of one flipped video, and
  3. I reassured you that no matter how new or experienced you are with flipping techniques, the benefits of flipping are ready and waiting for you on your unique flipped classroom journey.

Now that you’ve listened to this episode I hope you are feeling empowered and in control with the differentiation techniques of the flipped classroom, ready to respond to the needs of each of your future students.

We’ll see you same time next week. Bye for now.

 P.S. Be sure to register for the free teacher workshop on flipping your classroom - an hour long training on being more SUSTAINABLE in our daily teaching lives so we can have more impact without sacrificing our evenings and weekends.



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