But reality crashes in eventually, and realistic unit plans must be created. When you veer too far away from last year's system, then it starts a domino effect. "Now I need to replace that bulletin board ... and my website needs an overhaul ... plus of course I need to re-arrange the desks into groups ... so now those bookshelves have to move to the other side of the room ..." and suddenly you're spending an entire morning in late-July boxing and unboxing some dusty free-read novels because ........ uhhhhh ... can you even remember what started all of this?!!?
Yes, I speak from experience, but not from this year. A key test of the flipping model for me is how flexibly I can change some elements of a few units, while maintaining most of what makes my classroom work well. So while I am altering my approach to teaching about the colony regions to reflect Colin Woodard's wonderful American Nations (probably more on that in a future post) and developing some new Big Questions, I actively avoid the domino effect of apocalyptic lesson planning.
The best tool would be a reusable template for planning flipping units and lessons. My colleague Jean was working on one at the end of last school year. I thrive on structure, so a repeatable method of instruction that organizes videos, assessments, in-class activities, etc. could be a real life-saver. Why not recycle conventional lesson plans? Because flipping moves the 'student practice' step from homework to classwork, and the 'direct instruction' phase from class-time to elsewhere. This feels like it's the last big hurdle to overcome in this process, and when we solve that obstacle then many more things will fall into place. Here's hoping, because the students are less than one month away!!