The fifth-graders at Alpine Elementary in Comstock Park, MI, don’t ask their parents for help with their math homework. Instead, they’re given a short video to watch on, say, long division. The next day in class, the kids break into groups to do practice problems.
Welcome to the flipped classroom. “Most schools have it backward,” says Jon Bergmann, a teacher and co-author of Flip Your Classroom. “We do the easy part in school, imparting knowledge, then send kids home to do the analysis. But this way, the kids do the hard stuff with the teacher.”
Teachers who flip make access to technology easy for students by setting up iPad lending programs, burning DVDs, or inviting kids to come in early to watch.
The trend is increasingly popular in elementary schools, for good reason:
More interaction. “Typically, you have to teach to the middle of the class,” says Deanna Brewer, who flipped her fourth-grade lessons in Auburndale, FL. “Flipping gives you time to work with kids who are struggling — and challenge others.”
Less stress. Brooke Dismuke, 11, one of Brewer’s students, says she likes the new system much better. “The videos are great,” she says. “I can play them again if I don’t get something.”
Higher scores. Early research is promising: In one survey, nearly 70 percent of “flipped” students had increased standardized test scores as compared to traditionally taught students in previous years. Carol Redmond, a kindergarten teacher in Stillwater, MN, flipped her students’ vocabulary lessons last year. The result: Their reading levels were, on average, two steps higher than her previous classes’ had been at the same point in the school year.
Intrigued by the flipped class? Head to Flippedlearning.org to see how to help bring it to your school.