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.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Problems solved by flipping

The next #flipblogs Twitter hashtag chat will be on Aug. 30 (8pm EDT). What's it about?

This is going to be more off-the-cuff and less polished than my other #flipblogs entries so far, because I think my thoughts here aren't any that need a lot of words. Here's a brief look at how flipping has helped me:

Actually teach the noisy class - those who would have been willing to listen to the lecture & annoyed by disruptions from less-interested classmates could get on with the learning by viewing the video - but surprisingly I found those who were often disruptive during a lecture were much more attentive to the video than they had been to me!

Multiply my efforts - sometimes I feel the need to clone myself if multiple students want extra help on multiple different topics from a unit. The videos are likely not enough, but they are a good starting point & a springboard into teacher-student discussions.

Absent students - the videos help those catch up who were absent, and those who are attending a suspension program offsite can more easily stay connected to the flow of the course

Absent teacher! - I unfortunately had to be away several more days than ideal the last couple of school years. Flipping helped keep the class on track when I was away and no subject-specialist supply teacher was available. I could either have the video projected (provided there was someone available to do the initial setup for the sub) or have the students use individual computers (provided the computer lab/cart was available).

Prelab demonstration - showing students what the performance of a lab looks like ahead of time, including pitfalls (and safety hazards) to avoid, to reduce the amount of time spent in-class on lab instructions (though some safety review in person is still important). Shorter lead-in time in-class means more time for the experiment (less rushing, greater level of safety, more thoughtful reflection on what they're actually doing and why).

Differentiated instruction - differentiation of pace of instruction -- no one has to feel he or she is holding back the class, or that he or she is being held back by the needs of others.

The tyranny of the curriculum/challenging math problems - chemical equilibrium calculations for titrations in particular can take a loooong time to go over, and there are many spots where students can trip up. Flipping involved topics allows students to process them at the pace they need -- there are steps they just need to stare at for a while & don't really need anything more from me other than processing time, and that time is best given in the individual space rather than spend group space time on it. Better use of time = less worry about how I'm going to "cover"/address the entire curriculum.

That's what I've been able to think of so far...


  1. Hi Joy, to me the biggest advantage has been carving out precious chunks of time in my classroom to do higher-cognition tasks. That has been extremely rewarding for both my students and me as we are learning more about cross-cultural topics by analyzing and evaluating issues in US-American and German culture (I'm a German instructor).

    1. Fantastic! This is something I’m looking forward to doing more. When I first learned about flipping, the conversation I heard about seemed to be more about how to get the lesson recorded and accessible to the students (assuming video was the means to do so), how to make sure everyone actually watched the lessons, and some talk about Crystal-Kirch-style WSQ chats. Maybe that’s all I heard (other than the discussion of mastery in the Flip Your Classroom book by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, but I knew I wasn’t ready for that) because I was so new to the model and so those were the things I needed to get started. It’s only as I’ve got myself reconnected to the #flipclass community and taken some of the certification training available through the Flipped Learning Global Initiative that I’ve been learning more about what to do with the “group space” — and that it’s actually that question that should drive the flip. I hope to do my first major class flip next semester, and hopefully I’ll be able to share here what higher-cognition work that involves!

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by my blog :)!