Saturday, June 23, 2012

Flipped Classroom

While I think flipping classrooms is a wonderful idea for classes like this one, I am just not sure how it would play out for 1st grade. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but I can't hardly find any resources or examples of 1st grade classes that have tried it! There is one school that has a set of resources for the first graders, which can be found here. However, I don't see any explanation of the whys, and hows. The teacher does have an extensive list of resources and simply, but well done.

Let's get the negatives laid out:
First graders access to technology at home (parent permission, or not being available at all)
Longer amount of Time
First graders have limited technology troubleshooting skills (and parents may too)

Looking at the positives:
Students would be more engaged in homework
Students could spend as much time on skill as needed
Parents can SEE what the skill is and how it's being taught.

So while I have come to the conclusion that the full idea of a flipped classroom won't work for me, I have got some ideas running. There are ways that I can promote learning at home so they are prepared before coming to school. One easy way that I can do a little flipping is encouraging access to our reading material from home. Each student has login, which can be accessed from home. They can read or listen to our textbook, fill out practice book pages, and assessments from home. Now loading up the kiddos with online practice book pages is not the point of a flipped classroom, but having the students read the story before coming to class would! They could come already knowing about the story and then in class we would have more time to work on skills. This would overcome one of the negatives of dealing with troubleshooting. If it is always the same site, and drill of reading the story there is less chance of error.

I could also see occasionally providing videos for students to access at home to pre-teach, but I will definitely have to be prepared for the kiddos who will have to access this before or after school. Which most of the flipped classrooms I read about encounter this every day as they flip their classrooms. I think the key to making this work in my classroom would be parent communication. Ultimately, they are the ones in control of whether their 1st grader can access these videos. Once students are older they are responsible for getting to that video (whether coming in before school, going to the library, accessing while parents aren't home), but for first graders they will be very dependent on their parents for making this happen! I could see some 1st grade parents loving the idea of a flipped classroom, the ones always asking about what they can work on a home. Then there are the parents who are runners from one activity to another who will not find this an easy task to accomplish... What? My kid does his homework at home instead of during his brother's baseball practice?


  1. I teach second grade and it is frightening to me also, but I think there are some ways to try to enter into flipping. One way is to have 1/2 of the class on computers, iPads, iPods, or whatever listening device while you work with the other students. So, 12 kids are listening to a story you have read and you stop and do you mini-lesson during this time. During that time, you could work with the other 12 kids on something specific they need help with. I don't know what this would look like or sound like or if it is even possible. Because I am struggling with the same issues you are. I work in a low SES building and I can see the problems immediately. We don't have a computer, we don't have internet, we don't have a DVD player. I think there is a big digital divide that has to be fixed and maybe flipping the classroom will be the push that is needed to fix the great divide. There is a great article in today's KC Star about the great divide.

  2. I agree that at the first grade level flipping the classroom would be a very difficult task. The high need for parent involvement is vital whereas the upper grades don't have this aspect against them. Plus, where older students can write down questions they had about the lesson to be answered the next day by the teacher, first graders would need parent help for this (especially at the beginning of the year).

    I do like the idea of listening to the story at home and freeing up time in class to do more work on skills. This is a good way to get a feel for how it looks and the response you get from students and parents to see if this idea could even be taken to the next level.