Tips for the Flip: Getting off to a Good Start in a New Year or Term

Last night’s SlackChat focused on the question you see above. 

One of the first things we discussed was the idea of teaching students how to watch the videos. Here were some of the responses and resource shared on this topic:

Andrew Swan (@flipping_a_tchr): The first video I assign my students in September is “How to Watch Videos” —

Kelly Walsh (@emergingedtech): Thanks @mr.swan – the importance of teaching students HOW to watch a flipped learning video comes up a few times in our Flipped Educator Spotlights too (check them out here:

Matthew Moore (@matthew_t_moore): … I do a origami butterfly instructional video and let students try and do it full speed. Then we do a together version and then I give them the link and let them pause rewind and research as needed in pairs to address the difference between entertainment video and instruction.

Kelly Walsh: Here’s Jon Bergmann discussing the difference between *watching* and *interacting*, which an important part of what I mean by “teaching them how”:

Carolina Buitrago (@crbuitrago): I also have my own video for my pedagogy and second language students on how to be reflective teachers and how to watch the videos for class using Crystal Kirch’s be F.I.T.C.H. Model!

Next we touched on preparing parents for the flipped classroom in K-12 by looping them in.

Tiffany Trevenen (@trevy4): I’m thinking I need to find a “flip” or create one to explain to parents and let them experience the difference so they will support the work students might do outside of class – that it isn’t just watching a you tube video.

Kelly Walsh: Kathryn Neives discussed this (flipped back to school night) in her spotlight interview: Also, this search offers a bunch of posts across the web discussing letter to parents to explain flipped learning, if that helps:

Then Andrew Swan mentioned that, “Many teachers new to flipping will need to revise (or at least consider) their grading policy … the need to think about grading and what homework means“, which led to some dialogue and resource sharing:

Kelly Walsh: I am a big believer in mastery learning and grading (more here:

Robert Talbert (@RobertTalbert)*: Re: grading I’ve been using standards-based and specifications grading for a couple of years now and it goes with flipped learning like peanut butter goes with chocolate. Deliciously.

Kelly Walsh: So I was curious about “specifications grading” – hadn’t heard the term, copied some of what you wrote and googled it and bingo! found your G+ community!

Robert Talbert: For specs grading, read this too (but for the love of God don’t read the comments) For a deeper dive, Linda (who wrote that article) also wrote a whole book on the subject and it is awesome:

This was followed and interweaved with commentary focused on letting students know what to expect, and getting to know them:

Robert Talbert: I was going to say the most important thing to do to set everyone up for success is simply to build relationships with students. Get to know them on a personal level, memorize their names and faces, etc. — builds trust, and once you get a foothold in trust the students are a lot more likely to get on board with your pedagogy.

Things I want students to know after the first week of class:
– That I want them to succeed
– That class is a safe space to make mistakes
– That I have their backs, and they will not be penalized because of the structure of the course
– That the flipped learning environment is for them and for their benefit and they will learn more as a result.

Kelly Walsh: Love “safe place to make mistakes” – so important – learning is DOA if we don’t get kids to know that!

Andrew Swan: I share all these goals, but it takes my 13-14 year olds more than a few days to absorb those values….

Robert Talbert: Here is what I put in my syllabi. (This is college-level math but same deal for K-12).

The message there is that it’s _always_ active learning and sometimes that happens in class and sometimes outside. But always active.

There were also a few other important comments along the way about being prepared, and considering the availability of tech at home:

Robert Talbert: Flipped learning environments have to be structured, well built, and work well out of the box in order to earn the trust of students. So I’d say _before_ the class starts make sure that everything about the course is designed, built, and ready to go.

E.g. make sure all the tech works seamlessly; if you’re using video then make sure they are all good quality and post as many of them in advance as possible, etc.

Tiffany Trevenen: I am concerned about the tech at home. Mainly the data usage for many of my families. I think I may start with a blended environment until I get to know families and what might work outside of the classroom.

Kelly Walsh: one recommendation I often come across for younger grades is to limit the videos (and the length), which can help in numerous ways, but one is also limiting the time they have to be able to get on line.

As we wrapped up, Andrew Swan shared this question, in advance of next week’s Twitter-based #flipblogs chat (learn more about the new #flipblogs chat here):


So, what did we miss? What else do you think it important when it comes to preparing for a successful flipped learning experience as you start a new term or school year? (please comment below)

*Robert Talbert is the author of Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty

Come join us on August 8th for our next FlippedLearning SlackChat!

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