Welcome back for Part 2 of our post on the 9 habits of Successful Flipping. Part 1 is Here.
6. Always Assessing
This is absolutely key in a Flipped Classroom. Assessment in the Flipped classroom takes place throughout the learning process; the more you know about your students’ progress, the more effective time you can spend with each student. Your goal in a flipped classroom is for all of your students to understand 100% of the material by the final assessment, and to find ways of helping them to feel that success as it is happening. The discouragement of a barely-passed final test is not what the Flipped classroom aims for. Instead, by constantly assessing and addressing shortfalls in comprehension, the Flipped teacher makes sure that all of the students perform to their own best potential. Flipped Teaching is very much about capturing that 20%, the ones who don’t make it through traditional school, and helping them to find their way to a new personal best. By constantly assessing, we can make sure that we meet the needs of our educational standards and our individual students.
Getting it Done
Salman Khan, of Khan Academy, a rich Flipped resource, suggests a model of constant, small assessments, such as “ten in a row,” quizlets that are introduced before, after, and even during class exercises. These quizlets can appear in the form of games, or they can be done student to student, with kids quizzing each other on new information and new concepts. Record and analyze the results of these assessments, however you do them, and track progress. The goal is for all students to score perfectly, and for their performance to meet the educational standards of the school, district, and state. Make quizzes and checks of comprehension very regular as a part of the class, and don’t bother announcing them too far in advance. The goal is not to teach kids how to cram, but to see what they really know, and if what they learn is staying learned.
7. Calibrating and Giving Feedback
Part of the Flipped approach is “Project Based Learning,” and while you may not have the time or resources to base every lesson on a new project, you can glean some valuable strategies from the PBL approach to calibration and feedback. Calibration is demonstrating the target knowledge that a particular assignment or lesson, or project seeks to impart, and giving students a very clear picture of what success looks like. This is also an aid in communicating with parents. How often have children come home with an assignment that seems ridiculous to parents or caregivers, if only because the student can’t explain why he or she is doing it? A good rule of thumb is this: if the student can’t explain the purpose of the assignment, then they probably aren’t going to learn what they should. To invest in our learning, we need to be convinced that we are learning something useful.
At the same time, feedback plays an equally important role. Students should be told well in advance of the final deadline for a project or an assignment, exactly how well they are doing, and exactly how much is left to be done. Leave no mysteries- this will allow you to focus on students who need extra attention, and will encourage those who are excelling easily to keep going. Feedback allows you to set individual goals for students with differing needs: “accomplish this much of the project or assignment by friday, and we’ll talk again,” is infinitely better than: “the project is due on monday… you’d better be finished.”
8. Practicing Patience
Part of the Flipped approach is a democratization of the classroom. The Flipped teacher aims to talk less, and listen more. This goes not just for students, but for parents too. These new approaches are difficult, so calm, firm, and friendly approaches to criticism and negative feedback are a plus. If you got no resistance, you probably wouldn’t be doing your job; which is to inspire passion in your students, and help them teach themselves.
9. Seek Variety, and Keep Up with Social Media
It’s easy to get into a rut with your teaching. The same exercises and the same games, year after year. But students will sense when the trick has gotten old, and they’ll almost always respond better to something fresh and unexpected. Social Media, including such sites as Scoop.it, Pinterest, wordpress, Facebook and Twitter, can help you to keep tabs on new teaching ideas, new technologies, and education on the national stage. Membership on such microblogging and “scooping” services as Pinterest and Scoop.it can also help you to organize and hang on to many different sources of material you happen to find online. Some teachers even “stumble” occasionally just to see what’s new on the internet. You can be sure of one thing: your students are doing it. And after a few months of keeping up on the Socials, you’ll find yourself more able to decrypt those arcane, weird inside jokes that float around school- a lot of which start right here, on the internet.
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What say you?
What are the vital habits of the Flipped Teacher? What are your organizational tips, your favorite Flipped tools and resources? Comment below with your stories about flipping the classroom!