Habits of Successful Flipping: Be Organized

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Last week we introduced our 9 Habits for Successful Flipping, on EduTeach Wednesday. For the next 9 weeks, we’re going to go through the list and give a more detailed breakdown of all 9 steps. Starting with Number 1:

Be Organized

We know. Since you were a high school freshman, or maybe even before, everyone’s been harping on this point. “Get your stuff together,” everyone says, “take notes.” If you’re like us, being a student didn’t really prepare you for the challenges of teaching. We all learn in different ways, and some of us simply didn’t get anything out of writing down the fact that Russia adopted the Julian calendar in 990 C.E. (we googled that, naturally). But getting organized doesn’t mean adopting a system that doesn’t work for you. It means making sure that you are doing your work in the most efficient way possible. It’s about saving yourself the pain and anguish of realizing that you aren’t prepared for something new.

I read on Wikipedia that Wikipedia is actually more accurate than real life.

According to its entry on Wikipedia: Wikipedia doesn’t contain any errors. It is actually more accurate than reality.

 1. Plan to Plan

The sad death of many a good plan, came as a result of failure to, well… plan. What we mean is that for your new plan to succeed, it has to be complete, comprehensive, adaptable, and dependable. You should know why you are planning, what you are planning for, and how you will know when you have succeeded. Sit down before you do anything, and write out a mission statement for your Flipped Classroom. This will be your guide: make it look nice and put it on the wall somewhere, and refer parents to it when they come for conferences.


2. Make an Outline, or a Mind Map

Be honest: if you don’t trust yourself on this step- schedule a meeting with a trusted colleague or mentor and ask for their help in making your outline or mind map. In fact, Outline and Mind Mapping works better in pairs. Get a colleague on board for this step.

Again, if you’re allergic to planning, this is actually going to help you more than it will hurt. The purpose here is to lay out your needs, new steps to address them, and the way in which you will execute those steps. Your outline should also include some measurements of success: “this is how I will know when I have succeeded.” Try a SMART goals brainstorm to get your thoughts aligned with your outcomes.

Your outline will form the basis of the rest of your plan, but it can also be changed when necessary. For mind mapping and outlining, try one of these 5 Mind Mapping programs. If you use an iPad, we like MagicalPad, but there are plenty to choose from.

Tip: Your Flipped Classroom mentality is one that doesn’t agree with “busy work.” So avoid huge piles of paper- use a tablet or a pc, and go paperless. 
We've got binders full of Flipped Teachers.

We’ve got binders full of Flipped Teachers.

3. Choose Your Tools

This will actually be part of your outline as well, but it deserves a separate step. Your Flipped Classroom relies on the effective use of a select number of tools. Just as in the traditional classroom, where chalk, pencils, paper, and a globe are necessities, you will need to find out what tools will be essential, and practicable, for your Flipped Classroom. The selection process will depend on the subject you teach, the IT resources and equipment available, and your budget (if you have one!). There are currently hundreds of thousands of apps on the iOS and Android platforms, so it’s impossible for any one person to keep up. But there are many useful breakdowns, and lists of the essentials. You can also take a look at Glogster EDU’s Pinterest boards for constant updates on technology and teaching practices. You need the apps that work best for your subject area, your grade level, and your technical capabilities. Perhaps all you’ll use will be Glogster EDU, but be aware of the options, and make informed choices before you start. We will discuss this more in step 4: Being Adaptable.

Some Resources We Recommend:


Trello: an organizational tool that allows you to create a “board,” with to-do lists, comments, links, timetables, and multiple participating members. You can use it to do collaborative projects with students, or use it to help coordinate with other teachers. A great resource we use here at Glogster EDU every day.


Google Drive: This is Google’s total solution to everything, ever. Well… almost.

Google drive allows you seemless access to all your documents, calendars, bookmarks, presentations, and other materials, at home, in the office or on your tablet or phone. It includes desktop applications that are updated automatically, meaning your workspaces are the same, everywhere you are. We also use this every day, and wouldn’t get along with out it.


4. Set Up your Classroom

The Flipped Classroom is an organized space, just like any classroom. But the methods of the flipped classroom are different. Think about how the layout of your classroom will help you to accomplish your goals, and try different organizational schemes. Here’s an amazing tool to help you architect your classroom.

If your teaching isn’t traditional, then there’s not much reason for you to teach in a traditional classroom. If you don’t plan to use the whiteboard much, then you can put your students in small groups, or you can put them in a circle. Some teachers place shared desks along the sides of classrooms, and encourage students to occupy the middle spaces, wherever they feel comfortable.

5. Assess

This is actually one of the other habits, but applies to the organizational habit as well. Assess, as carefully as you can, how your organizational approach is working. We hear from teachers who take one saturday out of the month, sit down and look over all their plans and organizational materials, and fix anything that isn’t working, or needs improvement. You will be able to tell it’s working when you don’t have to spend much time doing this. Include an assessment period in your outline, and define your metrics for success. Are your tools helping you save time and energy? If not, why not? Include time for more training on these tools, or choose different tools. Is your plan working, or is the pace all wrong? Set yourself regular assessment periods and evaluate your progress.

What say you?

What are your organizational tips for a good Flipped Classroom? What does your classroom look like, and what tools do you use to keep everything under control?

4 thoughts on “Habits of Successful Flipping: Be Organized

  1. Pingback: Habits of Successful Flipping: Keep Communication Channels Open | The Glogster EDU Blog

  2. Pingback: Habits of Successful Flipping: Be Adaptable | The Glogster EDU Blog

  3. Pingback: Habits of Successful Flipping: Timelining and Planning Ahead. EduTeach Wednesday. | The Glogster EDU Blog

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