Why I Chose to Flip

The day I discovered that my interactive whiteboard could record my lessons was the day I began creating flipped lessons. At that time I was teaching fourth grade and I wanted my students to have access to math lessons during math centers. I began to create two kinds of lessons- ones that reviewed previously-taught concepts and ones that previewed new material. My students loved the lessons, and I was excited. Flipped learning was helping my students review and move ahead at their own pace.

Next, I began flipping grammar lessons. This freed up a tremendous amount of time! I used my iPad to create these lessons using the app, Explain Everything. I created flipped lessons about prepositions, fragments, and commas. I found that my students and I had more time during class to do the type of word study work that Katie Wood Ray describes in her book, Wondrous Words. After this experience, I wanted to do more. I wanted to learn more about my software options and how I could bring the benefits of flipped learning into reading and writing workshop. I learned how to use different types of software such as Camtasia (love!), Screencastify from Google (convenient!), and Zaption (so fantastic!)

Flipped learning isn’t about homework. I realize that many people focus on the use of flipped lessons for homework; however, I’ve found that my students access the flipped lessons during the school day just as much as they do at home. It is about my students learning at their own pace and having more time for what really matters- reading and writing.

Here is a sample lesson that I used this year with my fifth graders. It helped my students understand how to use sticky notes in their book. This is a simple, quick lesson, and I used Explain Everything to create it. What I like about having this lesson in my collection of flipped lessons is that my students can refer to it at any time during the school year in case they need a refresher about annotating with sticky notes. I can also reuse it again next year. See what you think and leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Dana Johansen is hoping that Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow on Feb. 2 and there will be an early spring. In the meantime, she spends her time teaching fifth grade in wintery Connecticut, sitting with her yellow lab on the couch reading YA Lit, and watching the tv show, The Big Bang Theory. She has taught elementary and middle school for fourteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop. She is the co-author of the books Teaching Interpretation and Flip Your Writing Workshop. 


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