Sunday, February 5, 2012

My First Flipped Class

Monday February 6, 2012

The number of students completing their assignments was actually worse today than on Friday (see post below). Keep in mind that the classes I saw today had four days to complete their assignment with the weekend, whereas my classes from Friday only had 48 hours.  My school is on an A/B block were we see our students for 90 minutes every other day.

Today only six students had their homework done while three had it partly completed. It seems that time was not a relevant factor in students completing the assignment.

Out of all 127 high school Biology students, only 17 came to class with their notes from watching the 13 minute homework video, that's only 13%.  None of my Practical Biology students did the homework and out of the General Biology students that had done their homework 12 were girls and 5 were boys, 12 were Caucasian and 5 were Hispanic.

Homework Completed
Homework Incomplete
Practical Biology
General Biology

Friday February 3, 2012
One of my biggest concerns about flipping came to fruition today.  Out of the 69 students that I had, only 11 did their homework.  This meant that only 16% of my students were able to fully participate in the class activities I had planned! 

As they arrived in class today, students were greeted with my enthusiasm for the multiple activity and inquiry stations that I had prepared to help them practice the content they had learned from the lecture video.  Materials were designed to fit a variety of proficiency levels so that each person could make an individual choice about the stations they wanted to work on.

·       Beginners:  Those that felt unsure about the vocabulary terms and Punnett square practice problems.
o   One on One:  I worked individually with students in the areas they were having difficulty.
o   Activity:  Practice worksheets with keys to help build their confidence in the material. 
§  After completion of this station students proceeded to the proficient station.

·         Proficient:  Students that fully understand the material in the lecture.
o   Activity:  Two explorations on using the principle of probability in genetics.
o   Inquiry:   Six real world breeding situations that students had to solve (beginning to advanced). 
o   Reading:  An article about using genetics to feed a growing population.

·         Advanced:  A challenge beyond what the other stations provide.
o   Reading:  Researched web-sites I provided with information about dihybrid crosses.
o   Activity:   Dihybrid worksheets and inquiry investigations.
Students that had not done their homework were disappointed when they had to use their activity time to watch the video and take notes.  Hopefully this will motivate them to complete the videos as homework in the future.  I emphasized that the video was only a 13 minute homework assignment while the stations would require much more make-up time.
Before students could select their stations, I placed them into review teams so they could converse about their notes and practice problems. First, I modeled a variety of review team scenarios with the help of “student actors” and the class had to explain what we had done right and what we had done wrong in our review team.  This demonstration helped students understand the goal of a review team and the importance of discussing what they had learned with others.
As I experienced this first true flip I was filled with a mix of emotions.  I felt disappointment for the students that choose to not do their homework and exhilaration from seeing students working together as a team to help each other understand and solve problems.  Rather than having to sit and listen to me lecture for part of the period they were able to use their class time to amalgamate their understanding of basic genetic principles as I stood by as a facilitator to their understanding. This was an amazing experience and I hope that my students will realize the benefits of watching the lecture videos outside of our scheduled class time.

On average, what percent of your students come to class without having watched the video lecture?


  1. I feel your frustration, believe me! Of my 2 math classes that I teach, I would say that roughly 10 don't do their homework. Coming unprepared, to me, defeats the purpose of the flip. I am still struggling with kids getting the work done, and what to do about it. One thing I found that helps my students is letting them get a head start on the homework at the end of the math period (if they have already shown they have mastered the previous night's work). This has helped some of the kids who don't have internet access at home. Good luck, from what I've experienced so far, flipping is a roller-coaster ride of excitement and disappointment.

    1. I totally agree! My hope is that over time students will "buy in" to the flipped classroom and that together we could make this work. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  2. I love the differentiation here. Giving students the choice of an appropriate station now only makes them take responsibility for their learning, but also makes them aware of the high expectations you have for your class. I am working with teachers in math class who want to try flipping, and I like the stations concept for starting class.

    1. Thanks Bob, let me know how it works out for your teachers. It's a bit more work to have such a variety of stations, but the pay off is worth it!

  3. Just found your blog, and I think it's great! I am looking forward to watching your journey. I am a student teacher, so I don't know if I have the lattitude to give this a try--but I hope to once I have my own class. I wish you the best!

    Fort Collins, CO

    1. Thanks Ben, good luck with your student teaching! Do any of the teachers in your school use video lectures?

    2. Not that I am aware of, but I have heard there are a couple of high school teachers that do (I have 8th graders). How are things going? I hope you hang in there, I am rooting for you and your students to succeed! I imagine it is difficult, but it seems like it would really be worth it in the long run.

      Stay brave!


  4. I have been following your blog but finally got around to commenting! I too have started my first flip. I broke my video lectures down by Unit/Week and gave students a calendar of what lectures should be done by a certain date, I'm hoping that the motivated students can use weekends to work through multiple lectures and the average student can work through a video every other night. Do you have your videos centrally located online or only on flash drive?

  5. All of my videos are on YouTube so that I can easily embed them into Edmodo. I too am working on a weekly schedule for my students. For now I'm hoping that they'll watch one a week. I'll try slowly easing them into more as they become more accustomed to doing homework.


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