The Flipped Classroom

For the Parents/Guardians

What's a Flipped Classroom?

A “flipped classroom” switches around the traditional order of teaching with the purpose of creating a more in depth and supportive environment in the classroom when the teacher is present and able to help students. It allows students to receive a more individualized Physics education where my actual face-to-face time with them is being used effectively. The goal is to help students understand the content at a deeper level than before. In addition, it challenges students to learn how to take charge of their learning and manage their time, becoming resourceful learners. Lastly, it provides time for more “High-Order Thinking” discussion and questioning during class time, helping students to become reflective communicators and to think more deeply about the subject.

What does homework look like now?

For homework, students will be required to watch video lectures created by me, where I teach them the lesson and give examples in the same way they would receive it in class. However, because the students are watching the lessons on video, they can pause, rewind, or re-watch any segments of the video at any time. This allows students to learn at their own pace and become more self-directed, having to know when they need to go back over a certain concept they did not fully grasp the first time it was explained.

Each video covers one concept and students will watch a total of 8-15 minutes of video a night. Students should plan on spending TWICE this amount of time as they will be pausing to take notes and spending a few minutes at the end thinking and reflecting about what they learned.
These videos can be accessed on the class website or Youtube. Because the videos are online, they can be accessed on any internet-capable device, such as a cell phone. If internet access is an issue, they can bring in a USB drive and grab the videos from me to watch on their computer without the need for the internet. Other options are also available by request, such as checking out a DVD to watch the videos on a TV instead of a computer.

If you have concerns about your child having access to the videos, please let me know and I will make accommodations.

While watching the videos, students are taking notes of important concepts and examples. Notes will be checked in class to make sure students are keeping up with the schedule.

There may still be a few nights where homework will look like regular “homework”. Students will also be expected to spend time studying on their own. Now that students will have access to the lessons 24/7, they can re-watch the lessons before tests to help them remember.

What does classtime look like now?

When students come into class, we will begin by reviewing their notes in a variety of ways. We may go over a few samples as a class, or students may discuss either in partners or in small groups. This time allows the class to refresh their memory on what was watched last night as well as clarify anything that was not clear during the video lesson. We will go over the questions that students have asked either as a whole group or in small groups.

After the review portion of the class is over, we may continue in one of two ways: we may spend some time as a whole class on a particular activity or we may split into small groups to work on a series of tasks, assignments, or small group activities. For whole class activities, this could include a demo by me that will help solidify concepts from the night’s video, a lab activity, or other activity where multiple minds are needed. For small group activities, this could include problem sets, thought experiments, research, or creating activities to share with their peers. When engaged in small group activities, I will be constantly walking around the room to answer questions, provide guidance, and generally enjoying the work the students are doing.

In the “flipped classroom” model, most of the teaching now is focused on smaller groups of students who need help on certain concepts, leading to fully differentiated instruction and support.

What does a Flipped Classroom require of you as a parent?

The “flipped classroom” enables you as a parent to be more involved in your student’s physics education. Most parents agree that they do not remember much from their high school physics class and do not feel they can support their students at all when they are home doing homework. However, with the “flipped classroom”, there are several very easy ways you can help your student:
  1. Provide your student with a quiet place to watch the lecture video (preferably with headphones to limit distractions) each night. If internet access is not available at your house, provide your student with the time to stay after school to watch the video in the school library.
  2. Ask your student questions about what they watched and have them read their summary out loud to you.
  3. Read their summary yourself to make sure it sounds complete and makes sense.
  4. Read the question they asked and see if they can answer it.
  5. Encourage them to take their time watching the videos, which means they pause, rewind, or re-watch portions of the video when the teaching is going too fast or when students need a minute to make sense of what was taught.
Watch the videos with them so you can learn along with them and help them when it comes to doing regular practice at home the night before a test!

What does a Flipped Classroom require of your student?

In reality, a “flipped classroom” does not change the fact that students are expected to go home and do “physics homework” for 30-45 minutes a night. The only thing that is different is the type of homework that they are doing. Instead of doing mindless practice problems where they can do the problems without really thinking about them, get stuck on the problems or do them incorrectly, or simply do not do the problems at all because they think the problems are too difficult, the students simply have to watch a video, take notes, and reflect in a summary and question. Students are expected to come to class prepared each day with background knowledge of each concept, ready to learn it better, deeper, and faster. Students are not expected to have full mastery of the content before they arrive in class.

The “flipped classroom” requires your student to take responsibility for their learning in several ways:
  1. Students must plan time to watch the video when they are fully awake and able to make connections between content. (Before 10pm is highly suggested).
  2. Students must take initiative to re-watch videos they need to see again.
  3. Students must make sure that if they are absent, they still watch the required videos and come to class prepared.
  4. Student must make sure that they take initiative to communicate with me either online or in person if there are issues with watching the videos. This includes coming and seeing me or going to the library before school to watch the videos before class begins as often as possible.

What if your student watches the videos every night but still does not understand the content?

This is the beautiful thing about the “flipped classroom” model – it allows much more time in class to receive individualized instruction. And, as always, there is time before and after school to see me for help.
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