I have blogged a few times about my systems for mastery, how I plan curriculum units, and my constant search for ideal assessments. So I won't repeat all of those ideas in this post. Basically, though, flipping my direct instruction required me to consider the standards and benchmarks more carefully. To produce a lesson of 10 minutes or less, I had to really boil down the material into the essentials. I kicked out a lot of the "fluff" in favor of stronger in-class experiences and clearer flipped-video presentations / introductions.
If students can show their understanding of the key elements in the videos, then they have met that (lower-level) standard and can progress forward to an application / analysis / deeper (higher-level) comprehension task. If not, then I return them to the video lesson to correct their misunderstandings. When they do, then they have met the standard. Everyone. Meets. Those. Standards. (Eventually.) Again, I have to carefully craft these formative assessments, but I believe this makes me a better teacher.
Maybe some students don't "climb the ladder" to the highest levels of understanding, but my conscience is clear because the opportunities were there. I don't have to do the AM or PM interventions because I have already 'cloned myself' in the form of a video lesson. When students miss those deeper-learning activities, then I meet them during the Intervention period to summarize the experience as much as possible. However, these can't always be simulated and that has to be OK. Those students tend to show at least a proficient level of understanding on the higher-level summative assessments, so again my conscience is clear.
I am not sure whether to be proud about the lack of before and after school remediation meetings with students. I made the flip several years ago, but I can still recall the frustration of trying to replicate a full-class presentation in just a few minutes ... or just handing him/her a copy of my outline notes. (What was the point of presenting them for 30-40 minutes of class?!)
Flipping my direct instruction changed much more than just homework practices. It forced me to reconsider so many concepts, policies, and beliefs that were ingrained from 12 years of (arguably) successful teaching ELA and Social Studies:
- What is the real purpose of homework? (Should I assign it at all??)
- What do students actually NEED to know? (versus the 'fluff' that had seeped into my teaching)
- When do they need to know it? (Do I have to quiz everyone the same day?)
- How and when can they show me their understanding? (Can I really differentiate now?!)
- Can I accept late work? (Who sets these deadlines anyway, and why??)
The hashtag #sblbookclub that appeared in the tweets above relates to a group started by the inimitable Ms. Kathryn Byars: an inspiring fellow Social Studies teacher, who sparked this successful Twitter-based summer reading club. How else would I have been connected to Dawn and Brienne?! Thank you @mrsbyarshistory!!
Hopefully this somewhat disjointed blog post was helpful.
Let me know in the comments if it is/isn't!