Today I spent almost every minute from 8:00 to 3:00 in a school conference room with my 8th grade team colleagues. (I know that's not a common thing, either.) Parents had signed up for 15-minute slots, and we basically had a revolving door of mothers & fathers coming to talk with us about their child. We feel kind of punchy by the afternoon from the lack of oxygen, over-familiarity with each other's comments, and our unfamiliarity with sitting still for seven straight hours.
Once again, no parent complaints about my flipped classroom method.
Once again, there were several comments like "I've seen you in some of your videos!"
Once again, I had various things to say about children's performance with speaking, listening, working groups, recalling information, synthesizing ideas, creating products, solving problems, and applying organization skills. We do it all in my class, so I observe them in diverse settings and situations.
Meanwhile, students were in our classrooms following a regular schedule -- traveling from substitute to substitute teacher. That is far from ideal, and I'm sure it was some kind of a circus upstairs although my classroom did not look too bad:
Anyway, I needed a rock-solid sub plan for today. This week's flipped lesson is the first time all year that students are watching a video that Mr. Swan did not produce (!). One is a 5-minute Youtube clip from a History Channel documentary (fair use!) and the other is a segment from an Annenberg Classroom video series. I don't believe that I could make something better, so we use these overlapping videos to teach about the post-war situation in 1780s America. There are several categories of problems we want students to recognize: many states were in conflict with each other, the Articles of Confederation created a super-weak national legislature, and endebted veterans & farmers were gearing up for violent resistance. Last year, many students had lots of problems with learning from these videos. I don't think it's just the content; it was my presentation of the task.
Today, they had to watch the clips once WITHOUT taking notes and WITHOUT knowing the specific topics they need to know. I hope that allowed them to absorb the general situation (America is in trouble), rather than play-pause-write-play-pause-write in their usual choppy disjointed way. After 10-12 minutes, in which they should have watched on laptops at their own pace*, students could signal to the substitute to ask for the notes sheet, which lists the 3 topics I gave in the previous paragraph. Let's see how this turns out!
* I considered having students watch together on the projector screen, but that defeats a major purpose of flipping: individual pacing for learning.