If I asked you to describe a typical classroom what would you say? Go ahead and think about it; I’ll wait. The classroom you’re probably imagining isn’t as normal as you think. Over the past few years, the “normal” class has been “flipped” on its head and is putting more responsibility on students instead of teachers. Traditionally, your teacher will talk for a while then ask you to read, write, or do some other thing that helps you remember what they taught. This isn’t what always happens in a flipped classroom. When a class is flipped, it means that the teacher adds videos, notes, edpuzzles, or whatever else students may need at the start of the lesson, identify the goals, then turn everyone loose to work at their own pace. At Clinton County Middle School, we have two teachers who have taken the idea of the flipped and are using it to fit their needs.
In seventh grade science, Ms. Erin Casada has been teaching her students how to examine problems, set goals, and discover ways to solve problems on their own. At first, things were hard but, as time went on, her students got used to the idea and were able to use the tools they had to solve problems on their own. She taught them to understand their learning targets and get to the resources they needed to learn their lessons. Sometimes, a topic or method that everyone had a hard time with would pop up. When it happened, Ms. Erin would switch from “flipped” to “normal” lessons to help everyone at the same time. It took a little while but, eventually, everyone began to learn how to learn in Ms. Erin’s class. There are still struggles every now and then but her and her students are learning how to get better with every lesson.
A little before Ms. Erin “flipped” her class, Ms. Reshea Fillingham was learning how to change her class. During her first few years of teaching, her classroom consisted of the students sitting and listening to her deliver a lesson with very little student interaction. When the middle school received the Chromebooks she took this as an opportunity to change the way she taught. She wanted her classroom to be more student-centered, where the students were actively learning the math lessons and where they could be more hands-on with the content. Her classroom is now comprised of math stations. Students rotate between the stations throughout the week to learn the content.
The first station is the Chromebook station. During this station, students watch videos of her teaching the lessons for the week on the website edpuzzle. Edpuzzle allows her to periodically stop the students to ask them questions to see if they understand. The software also allows her to see who has watched the entire videos and to prevent students from fast forwarding through the lessons. In the second station, students complete a hands-on project or play a game with me what is being taught. She also uses this group to have more one-on-one time with students who may need the more examples or time with her.
The most valuable lesson that she wants the students to learn from her class is to take ownership for their learning and to be responsible for themselves. Like Ms. Erin, her classroom involves the students setting their own schedule and pace to getting tasks completed within a given deadline. She hope the students feel that math is a relaxing environment where they feel comfortable to take risks in their learning and to know that it is okay to not be successful every time they try something new.
This article was co-authored by Reshea Fillingham and Donovan Hatfield
Pictured below are students using blocks to represent the distributive problem, playing an equation race board game, making venn diagrams to classify numbers, playing battleship using the coordinate plane, and playing the escape game in Mrs. Reshea Fillingham's 8th grade math class.