If you are a strict advocate of the “flipped classroom” model you will probably say that what I am going to tell is not exactly “flipping” anything, and you may be right.
However, working with students who may not have permanent internet access at home, this is the best approach I have been able to find to create a “blended” environment in my 2nd grade bilingual classroom.
I cannot say I do not like “direct teaching” at all (both as a student or as a teacher), but I really believe that the only way you can make sure you learn something is when you have the opportunity to explore things by yourself. And I do believe that my students could benefit of exploring things by themselves before actually discussing about them using this approach too.
A lot or previous work was needed before we could start setting it up with my young learners but I hope the results will be rewarding.
In a few words, the steps are more or less the following (I am using an example of my Math block):
- Students use the online interactive student edition of our textbook, a teacher-created video or a resource they can access online to learn about the concept we are going to discuss later. They have to complete an assignment while they go through the lesson or the video to make sure that all the steps are being recorded and they are not just clicking forward without paying attention to the contents of the lesson.
- After that, they have to try to solve a problem related to the skill we are working on. We try to keep this simple and they know that the goal is not to get “the right answer” but to explore what we have learned.
- Then we discuss together the contents of the video or the lesson trying to pinpoint the most relevant parts of the skills we are learning about and some of the strategies that were presented.
Additional practice is provided both “digitally” or “analogically” so we can make sure that we have plenty of opportunities to go deeper into the concept. A final product or project could be required but this will depend on the specific content.
The grouping of the students may vary. They may work online independently or in pairs and then try to solve the additional problems or practice in pairs or small groups, providing more independent practice as needed (again, “digital” or “analog”) or guided group instruction if necessary.
Will results improve drastically with this methodology? I do not know yet, as I have started to implement it recently after covering the necessary steps to get students ready for this kind of work they have never explored before.
Some immediate outcomes, however, have already been highlighted: 100% student engagement and participation during the independent online learning experience and more engagement and participation during the group discussions. More academic vocabulary is used during the time we share discussing what we learned.
We need more time to assess results. We will see what tweaks are necessary to improve the model but I guess we have started a new path we will be using more and more often.
Is this approach really transformational? Probably not yet. But it is a first step to provide the tools that our students will be able to use to create and manage their own learning. And we have started exploring other ideas that could add value to the model: student-created videos using Educreations, personal and group projects shared with the class on Seesaw… Last but not least, we are starting to use Quizizz more and more often to gain confidence in assessment skills while we challenge ourselves and learn that is it more important to give accurate answers that quick inaccurate responses.
Any comments, suggestions or ideas are welcome.