First Blog – Flipped learning in my classroom

I finally decided to try it.  I’d read plenty of blogs but never been fully convinced.  How could I balance discovery based learning along side the video text book that flipped learning seemed to offer?  I’m passionate about students becoming confident with mathematics and believing they can go on to explore other aspects within and beyond the curriculum.  Sadly this doesn’t happen anywhere near enough and I seem to find myself in front of a class where at least one student has been tutored and can spout a formula they don’t really understand.

So why the change of heart? I was introduced to edmodo.com which seemed a simple way to get students started. Secondly @DaveAshtonCPD has created an excellent document detailing ways to handle flipped learning. I decided to give it a go with trigonometry.  First I would spend a lesson with 9×1 looking at the sides of a right angled triangle and the relationship between them for a given angle.  I knew there were a few students in the class who had come across trigonometry before but at no point in the lesson was it mentioned.  For homework they were asked to watch one of @hegartymaths videos – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqBDpujbtIo

I planned the next lesson with caution. I couldn’t be certain how many would really have watched it so I needed a back up. The starter was a question they couldn’t have answered without watching the video. Surprisingly (for me) the atmosphere in the room was full of energy with lots of discussion about which trigometric ratio to use and a concensus was reached on the correct answer.  Next they had to discuss in pairs 3 things they had learnt from the video. A few had chosen to take notes but not many. Of the 30 students only three hadn’t watched it and two of those had been absent the previous lesson. I put these students together so that I could hlep them directly but next time I might chose to pair them up with others who had studied the video.  Each table of 6 were given a variety of questions to answer (they could chose the level of challenge).  As we have white boards all around the room students were able to write their answers up once they were sure. This allowed others to question or challenge anything they were unsure of.

As I observed their work during the lesson I was pleasantly surprised by the level of work the class produced.  Quieter students demonstrated an increased level of confidence by tackling the more challenging questions and became much more vocal when discussing their working out.  One of the weaker students who worked from the easiest through to medium challenge turned to me and said ‘I can do this miss’ with a big smile on his face. The two highest achieving students explained how the first lesson had ‘helped make the theory from the video make sense’. Another said he’d need to go back to the video and rewatch as it seemed really complicated although he was able to answer a variety of questions in class.

Would I do it again?  Without question but not every week. I think the planning was key as I’d been able to set the flipped learning at just the right point.  I think my class learnt a lot but just as importantly I learnt a lot about my class today.

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