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Flipclass- Seeing some success but not everyone is convinced

April 9, 2012

Well, another week of flip class down and I can see that it is starting to come together.  It has been hard to get into a groove since we did it for 2 weeks, then had two weeks off and now we have 2 four day weeks due to Easter.  The time off for me has been great since I have time to get the videos and activities done but I don’t think it has helped the students get into the new feel of the classroom.  Overall, I am pretty happy with my new classroom model but here are some of my thoughts on how it has gone so far

The Good

-I feel that my relationship with Ss is better than previous years, at this point in the semester, due to the extra time I have one on one with them.

-The vast majority of the students are doing really well with the extra time.  They are on task and using the time to help better understand the concepts.  The projects they have made have been outstanding.  The extra time that they have spent on activities/ labs/ projects have paid off too.  They wrote their first test (digestive system) and I was more than pleased with the results.  The students that were near the top for the pre-flipped tests were still there.  These are the students that will be successful regardless of what I do so I was not surprised.  The really nice surprise came from the rest of the class.

21/25 students scored 61/75 or better = 81% and 17 of those above 90%

The other students scored 55, 50, 39, 31 out of 75

The 55 and 50 came from students who have really struggle on their first 3 units(~50%) so seeing them score 73% and 67%, respectively, I am very happy with their progress.

The 39 came from a student who has missed about 50% of the classes due to hockey playoffs.  I have a feeling his understanding will increase a ton when hockey wraps up over the next couple weeks.  The great part of the flip class is that he still has the video notes so at least he comes prepared for the classes he does attend.

The student with the 31, and the only failing mark, is my big concern.  She was there for every class, “participated” in every activity, and handed in her unit project.  So my question to myself is, “How can she do all of that and still not understand the concepts”?  Now that I know she struggled I can spend more one on one time with her to check her understanding.  I will also talk to her about not being afraid to admit she doesn’t know and to ask for help; whether she asks me or another student.

The not-so-good

-Of the 28 students, only 20 of them watched the last video and filled out the summary notes (this was on the new unit, respiration). I know it might take a little while for the students to get used to watching videos but hopefully it won’t be too long now.  Also, once they see their test marks they might be more motivated to repeat it.  Regardless, I sent the 8 of the students to go watch the video while the other students broke into discussion groups to talk about questions from the video. To be honest, my greatest fear is that the students will come in no one will have watched the video.  I guess I have to trust that if I make the videos interesting and have activities that help them learn what they need to know then the students will buy into the process.  One student said to me today, “At least they are short so its not a big task to do at the end of the night”.  That is a huge selling feature of the videos.  They are all less than 13 minutes and most have been under 10.  When all is said and done most said they were done under 30 minutes.  For bio, the videos aren’t even every night.  So far there has only been 3 videos per unit (6-12 classes).

-One of the top students in the class isn’t buying into the activities.  He is going through the motions but I can see he is just doing it because I ask him to not because he thinks it is beneficial.  After talking with him, asking questions, and seeing the work he is doing he has a pretty good grasp but not mastery.  I don’t know how to get him going.  I can see others benefiting from the activities but what can I do to get more out of him?

-The time it is taking to get all the videos, video note/questions, activities, and labs is definitely a down side.  I still have to make sure my other 3 different preps (math 9, Biology 11, and electronics) are getting the most out of me as well.

The really-not-so-good

One of the students that I sent out to watch the video returned about 15 minutes later while saying “That was the biggest waste of time in my life!”.  Ouch!!!  That one hurt.  In hind sight, it was a great comment, although the packaging could have been more polished.  I asked the student to stay after class so I could pick her brain.  To give a little back ground, this student took the course last semester (pre-flip) with me and is now hoping t0 upgrade her mark.  When I asked her to elaborate on her earlier comment she said, “I hate watching videos! I don’t get anything out of them!”.  I asked her if she took notes and wrote down her comments/ questions?  She did not.  After explaining the rational again for the videos and summaries she she said, “Okay, and I guess I could have wrote my comment instead of saying it from of the class”.  “Yes, that probably would have been better”, I told her.

All of this occurred before she wrote her first test.  Last semester, writing a similar test, she scored under 50%.  This semester she scored 91%.  Is this increase in understanding due to her increase in effort or the new model or both?  I think it is both.  Hopefully, after seeing her new found success she will be a little more open to watching the videos

Take away

I know that as we go along more of them will buy in; especially, when they start to see their success.  As for me, I need to keep what is working and tweak what isn’t.  I’m giving another survey at the end of the next unit so I’m looking forward to more feedback.

If you have any suggestions or feedback please feel free to comment

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2012 8:53 pm

    Hi Scott,
    Great reflections and honesty on what is going well and not so much.
    Yes 100% agree on the trust issue; if you trust them they will come through it might just take awhile.

    For the top end student, first time through it is hard to meet everyone’s needs. However, I am confident that you are meeting more learners needs this way. My high end Ss are the biggest critics and it takes them the longest to adjust. They are just so good at “playing school” they aren’t really happy when you want them to change. I still have one high end this semester who I can feel her disbelief everyday. I hope as i progress along, i will be able to offer something more for these high-flyers, but they are definitely hard to please.
    I found the first time through, when I was making videos and struggling to keep ahead of Ss that I was much more sensitive to Ss feedback (and you know how Ss are like sharks). Just keep believing and plugging away and it will grow into something magic. As well next year Ss will have heard of it and the flip class idea will be a bit normalized for them.
    Do your best to keep up, but if you can’t, consider blending old with new to keep your head above water.
    Be brave and bold!!

    • April 9, 2012 8:58 pm

      Thanks Carolyn! So far, the negative feedback has been minimal. Mostly, it has been constructive feedback which is definitely easier to take. I’m looking forward to their next survey!

  2. April 10, 2012 12:55 pm

    Scott, I love the honesty of your post. It sounds like you are getting great results. You are really putting yourself out there and trying something completely new. The fact that you are being reflective and listening to the feedback of your students bodes well for you.

    This time next year, your flipped class will be the talk of the school and kids will be clamoring to get in. I look forward to your next post.

    • April 11, 2012 2:54 am

      Thanks Darcy! I appreciate the feedback. I have had the chance to read other blogs from teachers and they have helped me a ton. Hopefully I can help a teacher that is hoping to try flipping so they can avoid some of the problems I initially faced.
      I hope students are excited for it next year. I’m only 3 weeks into the flip and I already can see improvements!

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