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Flipped Classroom Strategies to Support Student Learning

By Kriscia Cabral on December 12, 2013
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Flipping the classroom allows for classroom time to be used as a focus for student learning. Instruction via videos opens up real-time conversations and support for student learning. Read on for tips and strategies that support the flipped classroom model in fourth and fifth grade.

First things first. Check in with your class. Do your students have access to computers outside of the classroom? If the majority of your students do not, I suggest taking a peek at Scholastic Top Teacher, Erin Klein's post on Digital Workstations. Erin walks you through the how-to of setting up an "internal" flipped room. Much of what Erin shares is what I would suggest as a starting point for digital learning in your room. Be sure to model what you want your students to do while you are with them, before letting them go off on their own to try it.


Start Small

  • If you don't have a digital workstation, let the learning begin in your computer lab.

  • Instead of flipping every subject and lesson, start with just one.

  • Math is a good subject to flip because there are a lot of resources available.

  • Science and grammar also have a number of video resources ready to use.


Determine the Purpose

Are you planning to create your own videos? If you are, create a video with the end in mind. Ask yourself, "What do I want my students to gain from watching the video?" Once you have that decided, plan, practice, and then shoot. Choose a lesson you know quite well. This will ease the stress of whether you are sharing the information correctly. Check out TechSmith's site for a how-to of creating your own work of art. Here are other great resources that I've used for getting started with my students:







Keep Your Options Open

The video lessons that I've used with my class have all been found online. There are a number of sites that offer free online learning for students. The sites I use most often are Learn Zillion, Study Jams, and Subtext.

LearnZillion is a wonderful source. The videos from LearnZillion correlate with the Common Core State Standards for both Math and English Language Arts. You can add your entire class and monitor each child's progress.

Many of the lessons shared on LearnZillion come with a teacher guide, a video for students, and guided pactice at the end. LearnZillion also offers quizzes for students to take at the end of a video unit. LearnZillion is my go-to for videos because it is easy to use, offers a wide variety of lessons, and tracks student viewing and assessments.

StudyJams is fantastic. My students love to watch the StudyJams math and science videos. I enjoy them because they are easy to follow, the characters are engaging, and there is a short quiz at the end of every video.

Subtext is one of my favorites. I just can't say enough about it. If you read my post last week about how I use Subtext in my class, add this idea to the list. I take online worksheets and import them into my Subtext account. I then share them with students and have students answer the questions on our shared discussion page. This is a great way for students to ask questions abut a concept and receive feedback from each other. It is also a way for me to monitor who is participating in the homework assignments and who is not. While the two sites above are used more as video learning, I use Subtext as a way to discuss as a group the learning we are doing as a class. Students have to read notes, follow directions, and respond all on one document.


Getting Started

Flipping the classroom works in whatever way you feel most comfortable. Here is how it looks in a fourth and fifth grade classroom. 

First . . .

  • Review the video prior to students watching it. 

  • Create a skeleton, or note-taking strategy to practice and review with students prior to independent learning. (The note-taking is a great way to hold students accountable for watching the video.)

  • Practice taking notes for weeks before students are sent off on their own to watch videos.

  • With the first few videos, model the “I do, we do, you do” scaffold when teaching students how to pause a video for note-taking.

Next . . .

In class, create a check-in system for students to go over with you how the video went. I have an appointment sheet that I use with my students. It is posted on the wall in the classroom within easy access. When they come in the morning, they can sign up for an appointment to see me based upon their needs. While students are working throughout the day, I meet with individuals to review notes and concepts taught from the night before.


Then . . .

After students complete class work, I allow them to check their own answers. I post answers either online or on their student whiteboard on the side of our classroom. We talk a great deal about why it is important to be honest with yourself and how checking your work is about checking your understanding.

Students are required to leave me a note at the top of their page “I need help with _______.” or “I get it. Thank you!” They get a kick out of writing notes at the top. Many use a smiley face to represent the emotions that came about during the assignment.


Last . . .

After all of this, you’d think I have all my bases covered, but that is never the case. What about that one kid who “says” he watched the video, and “corrected” his homework with an “I get it” note at the top, but really didn’t? Sometime throughout the week, I create an exit slip with that week’s concepts on it. A quick three-to-five question quiz gives me a clear look into everyone’s understanding of the learning. They are fast and effective in that I can quickly see who is and who is not putting in the time and effort. I can then pull from the pile the group of kiddos I need to practice the notion of flipped learning with.

Find the approach for flipping your classroom that best suits you and then stick to it. There can be a number of bumps in the road. Remember that there is no "one way of doing it." Adjust to the needs in your room. The idea behind it is allowing for more time to work with students that need it and give time for those students who are ahead to keep moving forward at a faster pace.


Are you flipping instruction in your classroom? I’d love to hear how you do it!



Comments (5)

Great to hear how you flip you're classroom. I teach math 7th grade. I make my own videos. Three each week. With the lessons I use google docs and make a questionaire for the students. The wuestions include what they need more help with in class and how they understand the concepts which I presented in the video. This allows me to help struggling students in class while they do the assignments I give them. I check they're understanding with a quiz for each video. For the quizzes I also use google docs. A great tool for flipping the classroom

I use the "Show Me" app on my iPad. I create videos for our math lessons. I teach the lesson in the classroom on day 1 then they can watch the video for review at home with their parents. Day 2 they work on the work in class with my walking around helping. If they do not finish they must take it home. Students that are having a rough time I can give the iPad and they can re-watch the lesson rather than me reteaching when only a few need review.

This is a great idea. This sounds like something I'd like to try with my struggling students; small group lesson in class, video review at home.

Thank you for sharing!


This is my first introduction to flipping a classroom. Fascinating! Something I need to learn a great deal more about for my high school business/tech classes.

Hi Linda,
High school students are a great audience for the flipped approach. Many of them are so tech savy. They can pick up the concept much easier than the little ones. A great tool for the upper and high school kiddos is Khan Academy. It is similar to Learn Zillion, but offers a wide range of topics. Have a look and let me know what you think.
If there is anything I can do to help you along the way, please let me know.

Thank you for reading!


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