What the Flipped Class Allows Us To Do

Earlier this week I learned from Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann in their “Flipped Classroom” webinar hosted by Classroom 2.0 LIVE. I shared some of my earlier reflections from this webinar in previous posts (re: Algebra II and Anatomy).

At one point in the webinar, Aaron began discussing the Flipped-Inquiry model, as shown in the figure above. I have been using the 5E lesson model for the last two years as part of the curriculum my district has adopted (while I was an early skeptic, I am a huge believer now!). It was exciting to see that other teachers are using flipped instruction and the 5E model! There is certainly no “one way” to flip your classroom — the flipped inquiry model shown above is just one of many. However, it’s a great starting point for me, because I am comfortable with (and confident in) the 5E model — flipping from this framework allows me to start where I’m at and explore new instructional strategies from a familiar home base.

Another idea that struck me in the webinar came from Aaron’s discussion of Bloom’s Taxonomy, as applied to the flipped classroom. The lower levels of this taxonomy (namely remembering and understanding) can often be taught/learned through instructional videos. I would certainly agree with this as it applies to both of my flipped classes — Algebra II and Anatomy/Physiology. The value of the videos, then, is not acquisition of basic skills (remembering and understanding); rather, the value of the videos is the transition of this low-level thinking out of our precious, limited class time, so that we can use this time for much more valuable higher-order thinking skills (analyzing, evaluating, and creating). I have seen this in action in my classes and this is the heart (and value!) of the flipped classroom — the opportunity to go further and deeper through more meaningful and important activities…in class!

Aaron and Jonathan shared the slide above, showing how the flipped classroom actually allows for the inversion of the typical Bloom’s Taxonomy pyramid. Using the flipped model, we spend more time creating, evaluating, and analyzing — definitely a teacher’s dream! In the past, I had always wanted to incorporate more of these activities, but we spent so much class time learning initial content (lower levels) that there “wasn’t time” for the synthesis and evaluation activities I wanted to do. The flipped model has definitely helped me find the time!

Next steps for me include further developing my in-class activities to create even more solid, rich learning tasks at these higher levels. This is definitely a good problem to have — I now have all of this class time with initial content understanding, so what valuable learning activities can we tackle?

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What do you think? What are some ways that you create time for creation, evaluation, and analysis in your lesson cycle?

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