Flipped Classroom in Elementary School

‘It is today we must create the world of the future.’ Eleanor Roosevelt

The new buzz word in education is the ‘Flipped Classroom’. I have used the flipped classroom and have found it quite successful. Many people say to me, ‘I am intrigued by the flipped instruction, what is the best way to implement this in my classrooms?’ I decided to blog what I have found works best for me in my classroom.

For those of you not familiar with flipped classroom also known as flipped instruction;  the basic ideas is that as educators we flip
our instruction so that students watch and listen to lessons for homework, and then use our class-time for tackling difficult problems, working in groups, collaborating, and creating. Students are expected to watch the vodcast, take notes, and understand the concept being taught. During class time you would do a quick review then work on an activity where the students can collaborate with their classmates on more challenging real world problems.

The first time I tried the flipped classroom, I tried it with my fifth grade math class. I was lucky that all my students had computer access. The students watched a Khan Academy video on how to multiply fractions. The expectations given to them were to take notes as if I played this video in class (I modeled my expectations many times with also guided practice before assigning a video for homework).

I considered it a success as all the students had mastered the concept based on my quick assessment.  They loved the hands-on multiplication activity we did in groups. The students also had great feedback to make it better! As part of my closure I had students fill out an exit slips answering this question, ‘What is one thing you like and disliked about the flipped classroom experience?’ One thing they didn’t like about it was they couldn’t ask questions. One way to solve this problem was to use Edmodo, a wiki or a wall wisher so the students could post questions and I or another classmate could answer them. Many students loved that they could watch it multiple times and stop it when they needed to. They also liked that if they didn’t understand something shown in the video, there was videos on the side that could also help them understand or they “googled” it.

I think educators should try the flipped classroom.  My advice (I am noexpert) for those that want to try this in their elementary classroom is:

1. Model your expectations in the classroom. Show a video and stop often to show students how to take notes. Then move to guided practice before assigning it for homework.

2. Remember not all students have computer access at home so have a “back up plan” such as having students stay after school to use your computers or see if your technology teacher would let you borrow the computer lab.

3. Think about what your goal is. Ask yourself exactly what do you want your students to master.

4. Start small. Try one subject and see how it goes for your students. Make adjustments as necessary.

5. Use videos that are already made
from sites such as http://www.khanacademy.org, http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com
or http://www.mathpickle.com/K-12/Videos.html to start you off.

6. Try making your own videos once you get the hang of it. The kids love seeing and hearing you!

7. Use it as a way to differentiate!

8. Read up on it! There are lots of great articles out there and if you are on twitter follow #flipclass and see what educators are doing and saying all around the world

Using the flipped classroom will help your students take ownership of their learning, a great 21st century skill we want all students to master! It will also help them become independent problem solvers along with collaborators.

My favorite component of the flipped classroom is it changes the role of you, the teacher! You become more of a facilitator and guide their learning. The classroom becomes an inquiry and/or problem based learning zone verse lecture.

The flipped classroom is not for every student, but it puts forth the best way educators can increase in-class learning. If a student or small group of students needs more instruction that still can be done without holding others back. You won’t know unless you try, so take a risk and see what happens! If you have used the flipped classroom and have other tips or insight please sure by commenting below!

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Colin Powell

26 thoughts on “Flipped Classroom in Elementary School”

  1. Interesting post. Like you said, it would be important to ensure that all students are able to access the videos at home. Parent support is definitely necessary when utilizing the flipped classroom model.

  2. I’m attempting to flip my classroom for phonics instruction in my 2nd grade classroom. Anyone have experience flipping with youngsters?

    1. The lowest I have tried is with 3rd grade. I think that you would be able to do it if everyone in your class has internet access at home. Please make sure you let us know how it goes!!

      1. What subject did you use with your third graders? How exactly did you do it? Did you fully “flip” the instruction or use it within the classroom? I thought about using this method as one of the centers?

      2. I started with Math and then started using other subjects. I suggest that you start with one subject. I started by giving the video link as homework on Monday and they had to watch it and do whatever task I had with it by Friday. I did not fully flip the classroom at first. I started slow and did one subject and only ‘flipped’ once a week. As I gained the concept of the flipped classroom and the students were too, I added in other subjects and more often. For those students that didn’t have internet, they had a few days to either go to an open computer lab time offered at school or the library etc. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  3. I’m curious to the outcome of your flipped elementary classrooms. How’s it going? This is something I’d really like to try in 5th grade for the next school year, but am very apprehensive because of all the unknowns. I would be interested in forming a group with similar interests if there is a need for it.

    1. It has been going very well! The kids are loving it and the quality of work is amazing! What are some of your apprehensions? I might be able to help you?

  4. I teach ELAR/SS. I’m a little puzzled about the type of lessons I would need to create or demonstrate for my students to view a outside of school. I am also concerned about all students having access.

    1. I’m not sure what ELAR is but for SS you could show a video that they would need to take notes on then do an activity with them in class.

  5. Just to follow up on some of my questions from last night’s #21stedchat Tweet Chat — Which is coming first the problem-based learning or the algorithm? Are the videos presenting a real-world problem and then class time is being used to allow students to discuss it and come to a consensus on efficient and successful strategies? Or, are the videos presenting students with a single solution method that they are then being asked to apply to a real-world problem during class?

    1. It depends on the topic and what they know based on the students data. Usually I do flipped classroom with topics the students have showed Partial mastery on and by reviewing the video they have ‘retaught’ themselves and when they come into class they are applying the math to a real-world problem. (PBL) All the videos are not one method as the common core wants all different methods.

  6. This sounds great! I am moving to 4th grade and am interested in flipping but am having trouble “seeing” what the children will be doing during the block that I’ve flipped. I am concentrating on flipping math because it seems easiest. We use Singapore Math. Having trouble with envisioning how the period would run. All input is welcomed.

  7. I’ve been flipping my university classroom for about a year now and I’ve had mixed results. The best advice that you offered is to have a place available where faculty/students can answer questions while students are watching the video. I would also stress that the videos be short, no more than 10 minutes max.
    Flipping does take many students outside of their comfort zone, but please keep at it. I think it is the answer to freeing up time needed to produce critical thinkers.

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