Flipped Learning – Class Time Becomes Creation Time

--Originally published at FLN – matthewtmoore

#flipblogs entry: “How has flipped learning improved your use of class time?”

Flipped learning is NOT ABOUT VIDEOS.  Flipped learning IS ABOUT TIME, class time in particular.  Yes, videos are the tool that I use to flip my classroom, but videos do not equal education. What does make a tremendous impact on education is students coming to class prepared to learn in an environment that is intentionally prepared for their learning. This brings me to the figurative “soup de jour” (yes I know, “thème de la semaine”, I have Google)  our question for this week’s #flipblogs is “How has flipped learning improved your use of class time?”

  1. Two day lessons can happen in one day
  2. Multiday topic themes can flow across class periods.
  3. Class time becomes creation time.

Two day lessons can happen in one day

Regardless of content area we all have those topics that encompass so much information, vocabulary, time consuming process, etc that it simply won’t fit into a single 45 minute period.  These topics and associated days used to be the worst as the lecture would either move so fast that comprehension suffered or drug on so long interest evaporated. Even mixing activities across two days meant there was a 23 hour period for students where the topic was out of sight and out of mind.  However, with flipped learning the vocabulary and base skill components move to the individual space. The deeper learning is retained in the group space.  The time consuming process can be set up or attempted in the individual space with critique and correction happening in the group space. Additionally, the components like vocabulary and knowledge reactivation can happen at the student’s pace in the individual space allowing the student to function more effectively with others in the group space.  Two days becomes one day because students are prepared and interest level is high as success has been scaffolded.

Multiday topic themes can flow across class periods

In mathematics it is tempting to treat discrete skills as isolated and students tend to compartmentalize those skills as independent.  This happens in other subjects as well, but as teachers we know that connections created comprehension.  The more we can connect today with yesterday and tomorrow the greater the impact the skill of today can have on the broader understanding. This week we are talking about graphs in Algebra 1 and Pre-Calculus. I am in fact using the same pre-class video modules for both classes, but it is the inclass activities that change the level and depth of conversation.  Algebra I will focus on key points and basic shapes from a given graph. Pre-Calculus will treat that as review but address the rates of increase and decrease in the graph and the behavior of the slopes.  Algebra 1 will focus on reporting intervals using correct notation and informally discuss end behavior.  Pre-Calculus will use a variety of notations and begin working with mathematical limits.  Both classes will be working in teams, working with peers, receiving some direct instruction, and practicing a variety of topics based on the same framework of a curved graph.  The nights between classes include independent practice or additional informational videos on a topic. The key to creating multi day themes is utilizing the flipped framework to ensure that the topics are connected and that the topic is never out of mind for 23 hours at a time but that there are intentional activities to keep momentum.

Class time become creation time

The summative effect on my class time from the concepts above is that class time can be used for more than instruction. Class time can be used for more than practice time.  Class time can be used for more than group time.  Class time can be used for creation time.  Instead of Mr. Moore creating examples and demonstrating concepts, students can work independently or in teams creating concept examples for the whole class or other groups.

“Shift Right”

I put this use with the “shift right” activity. Students create an example that they believe illustrates the concept and provide sufficient support information, then all students are instructed to “shift right” and work out the problem that was to their right.  This also opens the door to discussion and evaluation by peers of what might be missing, misleading, or not reflective of the topic. By both creating and reviewing examples from peers students get experience in multiple modes of thinking. Additionally if a problem arises or a common error is occuring I can interject and instruct.  In all cases we end up with over a dozen examples that provide raw material for class discussion.



I have also used this in formal assessment.  Students are given a “take home” portion of the test where they must create a problem that fits the assessment criteria and work out a solution.  The catch is no one may use the same problems or even nearly the same problems and as students claim their personal problem a rich variety of ideas go up on the board.  Students are allowed to change their chosen problem if they can demonstrate that it is too complex or beyond the scope of our class work. When we come back to class we follow a similar critique and evaluation process as the shift right activity above but focus more on the connections and creativity that can be drawn from the work.


There are many more ways that flipped learning has changed my classroom, but these are the ones I am doing this week and are top of mind for the blog entry.  

  • Two day lessons can happen in one day
  • Multiday topic themes can flow across class periods.
  • Class time becomes creation time.

These are three areas where my class time has changed and all three reflect how fundamentally flipped learning has changed how I plan and execute my class time.

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