Flipping the English Class

What is Flipping?

When most people think of flipping, they think of videos.  While videos may play a large part of some classroom flips, they are not required to successfully flip your classroom.  Flipping means flipping the responsibility for learning from the teacher to the student.  I have taught my students how to find information outside of class and they spend our class time looking up and articulating what a concept such as satire is instead of me telling them what it is in a PowerPoint.  The concept of a lecture is only useful for disseminating information in the lower levels of Blooms: Knowledge and Understanding.  We can tell students what the Salem Witch Trials are.  Why shouldn't we be showing students how to find that information and then asking them to demonstrate their understanding of the knowledge in a collaborative and creative way?  If we don't change the way we teach and what we teach, we, as teachers, will be no more useful than our students' smart phones.  

Most flipping teachers will agree on three things:

For instance, two years ago during my unit on satire, I used to spend one class day showing my students a PowerPoint and then as homework they had to do a worksheet using the notes they took in class.  Today, that PowerPoint is online and students fill out the worksheet as they watch the PowerPoint on their own.  I have just given my class one extra day to work on Bloom's analyze and create levels.  They will demonstrate their satire knowledge by clarifying their own idea of what satire is and creating a PSA in iMovie that puts forth a position using satire.  I will be in class to guide them as they create and analyze what they write- they will be able to bounce ideas off me and I can give them suggestions.  I am constantly moving from one group to another answering questions, clarifying, and giving suggestions; I am never sitting down.  My students don't know how to be autonomous learners, I am teaching them that.  I am constantly around them to bring them back on task, guide their conversations, participate in great discussions, and to show them that I am interested in what they are doing.  They don't get any of that with me behind my desk grading papers during class.

Methods of Flipping

There are many methods teachers use to "teach" Bloom's Knowledge and Understanding levels.  The following are strategies that can be applied to a Language Arts classroom.  Please note that a teacher doesn't have to choose one.  I find, depending on the task, that one strategy works better than another.  I treat the strategies as a candy shelf- choose what works.

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