Four Freedom Teachers Flip Out to Help Students Succeed
Remember those nights you sat at the kitchen table, trying to finish your math homework, but you just couldn’t remember how to do the problems? Four teachers at Freedom Elementary are flipping their math instruction so that doesn’t happen to their students. In a flipped lesson, the hard stuff happens in class and the easy stuff goes home.
Here’s how it works.
•Teachers create a video of the direct instruction part of their lesson and email it to their students to watch as homework.
•During the video, teachers define terms, demonstrate solving math problems, and lead guided practice. At the end of the video, students are given an assignment of 2-4 problems to try on their own. They control the video and can review the demonstrations as needed to complete those problems.
•The next day, the class debriefs those problems.
•Then the students do their “homework”. (Hmmm…I think we’re going to have to call that something else now.)
•The teacher meets with individual students or small groups during class to ensure that students understand the math assignment.
As a result, more students are mastering math concepts. Mrs. Martin, 3rd grade, reported that before flipping, her class’s mastery, as shown on unit tests, was around 75-80%. In the flipped unit, it was 100%. Mr. Shumaker, 6th grade, reported greater student mastery as well. Although flipping doesn’t ensure 100% mastery, it does give students access to the teacher when they are most likely to need additional instruction.
Parents have expressed support for the flipped math lessons. Part of that support stemmed from the way the teachers introduced flipped lessons. At parent-teacher conferences, teachers set up a looping video that explained what flipping is for parents to watch as they waited their turn. Then the teachers did a couple of “flipped” lessons as examples in their classroom to train students to know what to do. Finally, they let parents know what to expect and gave parents a way to give the teachers feedback.
The parents also said they like being able to see how teachers at our school are teaching math. An unintended outcome is that the teachers are also demystifying the math core and winning support for math instruction in our community.
Flipped instruction is another tool Freedom teachers are using to meet our goals for increased student achievement.