Monday, March 28, 2016

#D100BloggerPD Book Study - Hacking Education Hack 7

Welcome back to the next post for March's #D100BloggerPD book study!

If you have not been following #D100BloggerPD, welcome! We are a group of Berwyn South School District educators who are passionate about growing our craft through book studies. It gives us the opportunity not only to learn from the book, but also to share ideas and collaborate with each other. This month our book is Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes For Every School by Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez.

If you have not read the posts for the previous hacks, you absolutely need to. Check out the amazing Kristin Richey's take aways from the Introduction which includes a list with links of all the posts to date!

This post is focused on --

Hack 7: The In-Class Flip

This is a topic I was really excited to read about. Being a 1:1 district, flipping the classroom is not as difficult as it may be in schools where devices may not be as readily available. I know there are many teachers in the district who flip their classrooms. However, a complete flip, in its purest form, does come with difficulties, even in a 1:1 district. This is why this hack is a game changer

The chapter begins with a quote that I know my students would absolutely love. One of our very own influential Chicagoan: 

"If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."  - Michael Jordan 
(Also fits seamlessly into our growth mindset initiative!) 
Flipping the classroom is difficult! But there are ways to get through it!

The Problem: Flipped Learning Can Fall Apart at Home

Essentially, flipping the classroom consists of teachers assigning the content delivery- usually in the form of a video - as homework. This way, the students come to school having learned the content and ready to apply and practice their learning.

"The thinking behind this arrangement is that teachers' expertise is much more valuable during that application stage; when content is delivered in an automated format, this frees up the teacher to really interact with students as they engage with the content through discussion, practice, role-play and simulation, inquiry, and hands-on projects." Barnes & Gonzalez

The problem lies here: there is never a guarantee that 100% of the students will have seen the content at home. As Barnes and Gonzalez wrote, students may not have devices, a reliable internet connection, or a stable environment in which they can engage with the content without any distractions.

The Hack: "Flip" Your Class . . . In Class

The in-class flip is the perfect fix for this issue. This requires setting up a way for students to watch the video(s) in the classroom. 

This could be done in a variety of ways. In a 1:1 classroom, we can simply send the link of the video to the students, allow them to watch it then begin the application. 

For classrooms with just a few devices, Mark and Gonzalez suggest setting up stations. They have clearly outlined what the classroom would look like for this scenario: 

5 Stations - 4  groups of students
Video - new content
Application of New Content -no students for the first round, since they have not yet watched the video
Warm-Up Writing Activity 
Review of Prior Learning
Hands-On Activity - (games, reviews, skill practices)

Students could rotate through these stations while the teacher is walking around monitoring for questions, or seeing a group. This "in-class flip" is called blended learning


I am a huge fan of blended learning.  Thanks to my very talented marigold, Ginny, I implemented it in my own classroom a few months into the school year. I love it. The kids love it. It makes sense for us! However, planning it may take a while to get used to. I link the videos on to my Blendspace account, add in some independent work, partner work,  links to practice websites, exit slips, and vamooosh - the kids fly with it! I watch for their exit slips and meet with groups of students who may need extra help. Not only does it allow me to interact with individual students, but it gives the students a feeling of independence. They are in charge of their learning. Linking everything together on BlendSpace allows students go easily go back and re-watch the video if they need to. 

Barnes and Gonzalez suggest looking at YouTube, Vimeo, Ted-Ed or TeacherTube for videos. I've found that Khan Academy has great videos for math (and they are available in Spanish! yay!)
Our Pearson Envision curriculum also comes with videos for each of the lessons. I have had to make my own videos at times, using Smart Notebook or Keynote/PowerPoint then making a screencast. This may take longer, but like Barnes and Gonzalez say, making videos is a 1 time thing - I have them now to use for years if I need to! 

It takes a lot of preparation to get the in-class flip going. But it is totally worth it! I've seen it first hand in my classroom, and all over the district!

Thanks for stopping by for my part in this month's #D100bloggerPD. Next up will be Michelle Brezek over at Big Time Literacy. She will be covering Hack 8: The Book Nook - Create a Culture of Readers at Your School with Free Books for Everyone!


  1. I love your comment, "THEY are in charge of their learning." Students who have a say in their own learning are certainly more invested. Great post, Theresa! So glad you're part of the #D100bloggerPD Crew! Hope you are enjoying Spring Break thus far, too. :)
    Literacy Loving Gals

    1. Thank you, Colleen! Isn't that the truth! Implementing this months into the school year gave me the chance to really see the difference between "doing what you're told to do" and actually taking initiative. Love being part of it! Hope you are enjoying your break as well! :)

  2. I love your take on the hack, and your new blog design! Beautiful!

  3. Love it! Great post! Thanks so much for being a part of the #D100bloggerPD crew! And yes, the blog logo is very lovely!

  4. I am happy to be a part of it! Thank you, Kristin!! :)