Flipped Classroom

This year, your child will spend time learning through the flipped classroom method. In the flipped classroom, it turns the traditional classroom model around. In a traditional classroom, students learn content in school, and they practice this content at home, typically with worksheets. In the flipped classroom, students are introduced to and learn concepts at home, and they show their understanding and practice the curriculum at school.

How does this change the way math homework is done?
What we have known as “homework” has typically been a set of problems that were assigned so that your child could practice what (s)he learned in class. Since this type of work will now occur during class time, student “homework” will now be to view instructional videos that the teachers have prepared. These instructional videos will introduce your child to math concepts. Students can take notes in their math spiral.

How will you know if my child watched the videos?
For each assignment, I will ask that your child responds in a blog comment. I will typically ask for them to answer a specific question. I will also ask that they let me know something that they really understood and something that was confusing. Your child should be very specific, as this helps to guide our in-class review.

How can my child learn from a 5 minute video?
The teachers have prepared these videos to be clear and concise. Some are as short as five minutes, others are longer. Students will be taught how to be active learners by using the pause button when they need to write something down or just to take a minute to process. They can also re-watch a video when they need to hear information again. Your child will sometimes be given a short quiz or module after the video to assess
their understanding. If they do not do well on the quiz, they should review the video.

What if my child doesn’t understand something in the video?
If your child does not understand something in the video and requests your help there are a number of things you can do:
•    Have your child review the video at a slower pace. Make sure they use the pause button when they don’t understand something. Doing this will allow them to pinpoint where they are getting confused.
•    Work through example problems. Videos will often contain an example problem. Have your child pause the video, copy the problem down and then work through the problem before resuming the video.
•    Watch the video with your child. One of the best parts about the flipped classroom is that parents/guardians now have direct access to the teachers’ instruction. This will allow you to view the video with your child and help them if they get stuck. Please keep in mind that the flipped classroom is a wonderful opportunity for your child to take charge of their own learning.
•    Communicate with the teacher. After each assignment, your child will respond to the videos in a blog post comment. If your child is stuck/frustrated, please encourage your child to communicate that with the teacher. I have designed their class time to be able to address student concerns immediately.
What are the benefits of learning from a video?
•    Pace. One of the benefits of learning from a video is that your child can view the video at their own pace. Imagine a classroom where the teacher is lecturing to 25 students. What would happen if one of those students didn’t understand what the teacher had just explained? Some students are bold enough to raise their hand and indicate they do not understand, but many do not. With a video, your child can pause and rewind the video at their own pace, or view the movie a second or third time.
•    Teacher interaction and personalization. The greatest benefit of learning from the video, however, will be the time that is now available in class for your student to work through problems and interact with their teacher. Class time now becomes a more personalized experience for your child, and that students will be able to move at their own pace, whether that is a bit faster or at times, slower.

What happens if my child falls behind?
In a traditional classroom setting, it can be days before a teacher realizes that a student does not understand the concepts. Feedback comes only after an assignment has been completed, turned in, corrected and handed back. The delay here is critical and can often lead to a student falling further behind or getting frustrated.  Remedial help often occurs outside of class time. A student may meet with a teacher or a tutor to work and get caught up. In a flipped classroom, the teacher recognizes more quickly when a student is struggling with the current concept or skill.

How will this affect my child’s test scores?
The goal of the flipped classroom is for the students to become more self directed learners. This goal, combined with an increase in personalized time with the teacher, could have a positive effect on test performance.

Will my child need their own computer?
The flipped classroom is possible because technology is increasingly prevalent in home environments.  If computer/internet access is unavailable, your child can come to the classroom early to watch the videos. We will arrange that on a case-by-case basis. Homework in the flipped classrooms will require approximately 20-30 minutes of computer time (with internet access). I will give multiple nights to complete homework assignments.

How do we do homework if we are out of town for the weekend?
Since the math videos will be hosted on our classroom blog, any Internet accessible device will be able to access the videos. This makes it possible to use a variety of devices to view the videos (desktop computer, laptop, iPod Touch or iPad devices, Smart Phones, etc).

Will we see more of this kind of program in other areas? Other years?
There are a growing number of classrooms around the country (and in other countries) that are adopting the flipped classroom model. In fact, there is even an entire high school that has “flipped”. As time goes on,
technology will allow learning to be more personalized and accessible at any time, at any place, and at any pace.

How can I help?
Because this is a new program, we are very interested in your feedback as a parent/guardian. At any point during the year, please feel free to
submit feedback (general feedback, questions, suggestions, concerns).

All Flipped Classroom participating teachers have worked hard on making changes to their classroom and teaching strategies in hopes that it will have a positive effect on your child.  Taking a positive approach to these changes is important. Your time with your student at home will begin to shift from a “homework” time to a “learning” time. Encourage your child to watch the videos at a pace that is comfortable and appropriate. This will be different for every student. Encourage your child to use their math notebook to write down questions and anything the teacher requests in the video. Feel free to watch the video along with your student!

I want to learn more about the flipped classroom!
There was a fantastic segment on 60 Minutes recently about the flipped classroom. Here is a link to that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxJgPHM5NYI . The whole video is wonderful, but the part starting at 5 min 50 seconds is directly about this idea.

There are many great websites that we will be using for videos. Some of them are:

http://www.khanacademy.org/

http://www.sophia.org/

http://www.eduplace.com/kids/mthexp/

http://teachertube.com/

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