The Flipped Classroom




The above image is from a blog by Peter Pappa. Through and infograph Peter explains the history and ability of using flipped classes. A flipped classroom is very interesting. Instead of lecturing to students during the school day teacher now have the ability to create videos for their students to watch at home. Students can then sit at home and learn the material, write any questions, and communicate with their peers and teachers about the concept. Once they come to class they now have the time to work with the concept since they’ve already listened to the material.

I can see a lot of benefits to the flipped classroom. 1) Students aren’t sent home with homework they may not understand fully. 2) The classroom is not a more interesting and engaging environment. 3) Students can receive more support from their teachers.

While all of this makes a flipped classroom appealing, I’m not completely sold. Theres a number of logistics which make a flipped classroom difficult, especially for an elementary classroom. First, what if a student doesn’t have access to any sort of technology at home? While we are living in a high tech world today that doesn’t mean every one has the same access to it. Some students may not have access to technology because of parental rules or financial reasons. A student shouldn’t be discriminated based on social economic status.

While for high school classes where most of the lessons are lecture a flipped classroom for an elementary class it doesn’t seem as useful. My own style of teaching incorporates as much group collaboration or hands-on activities as possible. Without the back and forth of live conversation I’m afraid I’d lose a lot of valuable education. Many students ask questions that may be unrelated, but pop up during a lesson. If they had the same question while watching a video would they even bother to bring it up the next day in class?

The ability of the flipped classroom to allow more hands-on and engaging work instead of lecturing is fantastic! But for myself I see it as more of a remedial tool for now.


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Twitter has turned out to be a GREAT resource for teaching! Who’d of thought? One tweet I came across linked me to Matt Gomez’ (a kindergarten teacher) blog post about using Google Doc in his classroom. But how could Google Doc be realistic for a kindergarten class? What if there aren’t many computers in the classroom? Mr. Gomez found a fun and interactive way to get his students involved with Google Docs.

Mr. Gomez, who teaches in Texas, used Google Docs as a way to connect with another kindergarten class in Montana. The two classes play 20 questions by typing back and forth to each other on a Google Word Doc. Playing 20 questions may not seem all that educational for these kindergarteners, but how Mr. Gomez used it to broaden his students’ minds about other places in the world.

Each kindergarten class pick an animal or plant that was native to their own state, but that they other may not know much about or have never seen before. In this way they were broadening their mind about other places in the country and becoming familiar with their habitats. Students also had to work together and think critically in order to discover what the animal or object was before their 20 questions were up.

The activity was short and simple, but I think it was a great use of technology in the classroom. Mr. Gomez taught the kids many lessons through a simple activity. First, they became familiar with Google Docs which they will now be able to use in the future with their assignments and learning for other classes. Second, students had to learn to work together to discover the answer. Third, students had to use critical thinking and learn how to ask good questions in order to make their way to the answer. And fourth, they gained more global awareness.

If you ask me this simple game taught Mr.Gomez’ kindergartener many lessons that will help them later on with their continued education.

The Nuts & Bolts of 21st Century Teaching

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I found Shelley Wright’s The Nuts & Bolts of 21st Century Teaching, a very interesting read. In her article she explains a teaching method she does with her 10th grade students. In her approach she does not stand in front of the class lecturing about the Holocaust or read from a textbook. Instead Shelley makes the students accountable for their learning. The only guidelines shes explains and that the students will be creating their own museum and it must be about the Holocaust.

The class began by sitting down and brainstorming ideas of what they thought was most important to teach others about the Holocaust. They were then able to, with the help of Shelley, organize their ideas into three umbrella topics. They then divided up into groups to collect research. The students then had to come together to figure out how to take their three different topics and create one museum out of them.

Throughout the entire process Shelley was the facilitator rather than the teacher. She was not the know-it-all who rambled off facts to her students. Instead they were active and engaged in their own learning. They were responsible for their own education. I think this approach is VERY beneficial in the classroom. The most important lesson we can teach our students isn’t facts to memorize, but how to teach themselves and others.

Overtime we all lose the information we once learned back in elementary and secondary school, but the skills of how to learn and work with groups is a trait that we can utilize over and over again. In allowing the students to become the experts of the topic, Shelley put the education of the students in their own hands. They had to learn how to collect data, collaborate, and think critically in order to successfully create their museum.

School shouldn’t be a place where students are sat behind a desk and told to memorize information from a textbook or power point. It should be somewhere they are actively working with the content they are learning. The Ted speech Shelley attached to her blog post is especially inspiring and should be watched!

I’m In LOVE With Popplet!

Click on the image to view my popplet!

Click on the Image to View my Popplet!

Popplet is a virtual spider web. Students can work on their own or with others through popplet’s website. Not only can students brainstorm with words, but they can also insert images or videos which are relevant. Popplet allows you to move each box around and create connections with one another. This could be a great tool to help students organize their ideas for writing or making connections between ideas.

Because students are able to share, popplet can also be used for group projects or even as a ‘parking lot’ in the classroom. Students can help each other learn more by adding comments or videos to help their peers. Popplet is a great tool for collaborative learning. Each box also names the student who leaves a comment making it possible for teachers to track student participation.