UPDATE: Flipping An Entire School…Temporarily

--Originally published at FLN – matthewtmoore

With a week to go how is the whole school flip going? Teachers are just like students.

T-minus 7 days to student launch: One week left to full 1100 student launch of our Chromebook 1:1 roll-out.  One week until every teacher is responsible for 25 students, in a 25 minute, non-graded, enrichment, and training enviroment.  At this point, from what I can gather from the Google Forms quizzes, 12 out of 70 teachers have begun the training. AHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Cheerios: Now I understand that high school and junior high teachers, elementary teachers excluded, we can be like a bowl of Cheerios dropped on the kitchen floor and we scatter when the last school bell of the last day of school rings. This often applies to our school email that like the winter coat goes unused for the summer.  Contacting my fellow teachers beyond the email has been a challenge. Just like a successful flip for students requires them to come to class prepared, it is imperative for teachers come to the first inservice day of school prepared.

Snowday call in the summer: My tech director and I have done a couple things to get the word out.  The first thing we did was utilize the school snowday call system to contact all of the teachers by phone.  You can pretty well guarantee that every teacher has the correct and updated phone number on the snowday file. Accomplishing this required the principals and the tech director to form a special group for teachers only that was not setup previously.  The message was simply to check their district email to get the training link along with the other professional development opportunities.

Backchanneling: As a teacher, I sent a school email out to all of the appropriate teachers with a gentle teacher centered email that included the phrase; “let’s prove that we as educators can be professionals voluntarily and do not need to be locked in a room and subjected to powerpoint presentations for professional development”. I also included generous offers of help and feedback as well as opening the opportunity for comment and discusssion.  I am a member of the teacher’s union/association leadership and I sent texts to my fellow leaders to contact teachers they had in their contacts to encourage teacher leadership and participation.  I also sent a similar message to the teachers in my building that are in my personal contacts to spread the word to the teachers in their contacts.  Just as my students have communication and conversation among themselves regarding my flip class, teachers can be, and need to be, active in developing professional conversations to be ready for flipped professional development.

We interupt programming for a special report: My final point of attack…err…encouragement is copying my admin and tech guy on the backchannel conversations and how positive and productive the teacher conversation is developing.  I also requested the admin to send out a second gentle reminder via the official district email with links and offers of professtional development credits. In flipping our classes we offer both sticks and carrots but when at all possible let’s get out the carrots.  Again, the message included offers of help opportuntiy for comment.  Just as avenues of communication with parents and students are key to our flipped classes, avenues of help and communication are key to flipping professional development.

To be announced: I cannot tell you how effective these steps have been because I just set it in motion this morning.  I did note that when I signed on to the training document a few minutes ago three of the teachers I asked to help me were logged in and working on the training.  Teachers are often more like our students than we care to admit, but just like my flipped classroom, I don’t care when the teachers get it done as long as they come prepared.  That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer that the teachers get it done earlier rather than later, but again like my students I just have to be flexible and accept how people learn regardless of their age.

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