This Monday and Tuesday I tried out my first flipped lesson on balancing equations…well sort of flipped. This was my first time recording videos for instruction and, because it is a new thing for my students and me, we watched the videos together. There were a couple reasons why this worked well. It let me covey the idea of pausing the video and returning to watch parts again. And it let me see what my students understood and didn’t understand from the video alone.
What I liked: One of my goals with flipping in general is that it will free up time in class, while playing the videos in class didn’t directly free up time, I structured class with the work time afterwards and continuing to the next day. This did give me time to walk around and give support. My students could return to the videos if confused and had a website with written directions they could reference, but I had time to go around a check in with all my students. Plus, the activity the students worked on allowed for different levels of problems, those who got it right away eagerly worked through the harder problems. Basically, even though we technically watched the videos in class, the structure of the lesson was great.
It was also great because my handful of students who were absent the first day could be directed to the videos. Normally, balancing equations would be one day of class lecture, if you missed that you were on your own with just the slides unless you came in to help. Having videos let them watch the same thing they would have seen in class.
And lastly, I thought the length was great. I had four videos, and each was less than two minutes. Basically they were a problem each and progressively got more difficult or allowed for more independence in solving along with the video. In covering just one problem in each video it broke it up and allowed me to have an extra video they students could watch if they wanted an example of a more complex problem.
What I didn’t like: One of my big difficulties is this is the first time I have taught this material to this grade level, I’ve taught it to 11th before and, well, 11th and 8th are different. It can be hard to predict where all the student questions will be. Addressing the videos at the start of class the next day will help, but it is a concern that I might miss a critical misunderstanding in the video.
Also, my videos are boring. I like to think I have a good presence in class, but I am weird on video. Maybe I am weird all the time and don’t notice it…scratch it I know I’m weird, but the key thing is the videos are not really engaging and that is the part I need to address.
My current plan: One of my questions with flipping initially is that I don’t lecture a lot, and when I do it is usually what I think is a worthwhile lecture. By this I mean it is engaging and covers information in a way I don’t think my students would get from a written description or just a video. So, while I liked the idea of flipping, I wasn’t sure where I would want to use it.
Right now I have my students take down notes from Google Slides at home. (Before you totally wonder about this, my thought process is two fold, I use PearDeck for lectures in class because I like the assessment aspect and it helps make them engaging. And then I still feel as if I need to supplement with written notes, we don’t use the textbook in the class.) I want to replace these with videos with me talking and less being written on each slide. (Though, as I mentioned in another blog, I am still figuring out what I think makes the most sense for notes.)
I also like the idea of moving the skill based lectures or the math based lectures to videos. These are the kind of things that are often less engaging in class and students can benefit in coming back to and watching again or at their own pace.
I also see myself using videos for intervention with students who don’t quite get the right outcome from an inquiry activity.
Final thoughts: I like how these videos worked and I see flipping as part of my current plan in my class. I am not going to flip everything as I don’t feel like that completely fits my class or me, but I know there is a lot of ways I want to incorporate this into my classroom.