I am a math and science teacher at a high school in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This blog documents some of my journey as I explore the use of the Flipped Classroom model with my classes.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Addendum to the beginning of my journey: Step Zero

But did you know how to flip your classroom?

Whooooops. My bad.

I was so determined to finally finish my previous post after letting it collect dust for 4 years, I left out a key step -- as well as the acknowledgement of some key influencers. To be fair, though, I only engaged in this step a little before I jumped into Step 1; I went back to it the summer after I started my flip.

Still, before I could realistically try to flip my classroom, I had to engage at least a little in a crucial step:

Step 0: Educate yourself.

Listening to a few experienced flippers talk about what they did was certainly informative and inspiring, but what they presented was necessarily just a taste of the "why" and the "how," not a step-by-step instruction manual. In fact, as I've learned, there really is no one-size-fits-all, step-by-step instruction manual for flipping one's class, because there is all sorts of room for teachers to use the basic model in their own way. (Yes, I realize the irony of making that statement when I have outlined some steps in my last post and this one. Let's consider these general guidelines rather than detailed steps, shall we?) Even so, there are necessarily a large number of things to figure out before one can flip successfully, and so I took to the 'net to do some research before I did the write-up for my class that I mentioned in my "step 1."

Some of the sources I consulted before I tried flipping and early into my experiments with it are listed below:

1. Dianne Fitzpatrick's blog -

Since Fitzpatrick had been one of our hosts during our visit to Peel, her blog was a natural first start.

2. Katie Gimbar - Fitzpatrick and Simona Matei mentioned Gimbar in their presentation to our team. Gimbar can be found on Facebook at, but the most helpful thing to me was her series of FAQ videos about flipping that can be seen here.

3. Crystal Kirch - Kirch was also mentioned as a helpful resource in Fitzpatrick and Matei's presentation. I sheepishly admit that at first I just got overwhelmed by Kirch's blog and thought it wouldn't be helpful to me at all...I was wrong, wrong, wrong! (Sorry, Crystal!) I am so glad I took another look at it the summer after I started trying to flip, because it is chock full of amazingly helpful stuff. Check out her blog at

Kirch's influence on my flipping goes beyond her blog. When I e-mailed her to ask permission to download some materials from her site for my own use and to share with a colleague, she was very willing to share anything that was posted, and suggested I also take a look at her actual course sites (the ones she used with students, vs. the teacher-oriented blog I'd been browsing). Those course sites made such an impression on me that I patterned my own course sites in much the same way in the following years. (I realize that when I set this blog up 4 years ago, I ended up patterning it after hers as well; I didn't really think anything would come of this space at the time.)

Kirch also pointed me to several Twitter handles I should check out run by other Canadian flippers, and she tweeted my own handle out to the #flipclass community to help me get connected to the support of that network. Kirch herself can be found on Twitter as @crystalkirch.

4. The #flipclass community on Twitter - admittedly, I kept missing the weekly hashtag chat, but the chat and otherwise searching for the tag found me a whole new family of helpful education professionals and organizations to follow. Thank you, everyone who's shared your thoughts in this chat -- we may feel vulnerable when we share, but as we all share, we all grow together.

5. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams - the authors of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. I'm also currently working my way through the self-directed Flipped Learning Certification Level - I course available through the Flipped Learning Global Initiative, and it is Bergmann who appears in each of the courses' videos. I'm a chem teacher, they're chem teachers, I was bound to like them :). Check Bergmann out on Twitter at @jonbergmann, and Aaron Sams at @chemicalsams.

As I keep growing (and getting too distracted to check in and then coming back to try to reconnect again), I keep finding new connections of support I can make to grow in my flipping. Some of my more recent connections are:

1. The #flipblogs chat that started up this summer -- see my first post for a little bit more info on that.

2. The Flipped Learning Slack Community -- I am very new to Slack, but the flipping community is as warm and supportive there as anywhere. Here's to seeing that community and the interaction there grow.

If I think of anyone else I've left out, I'll have to leave an addendum to this addendum, but in the meantime, if you're looking for resources, there are some links for you to check out!

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