Guest Blogger: Kammie B. Brings Innovative Flipped Teaching to 7th Grade Pre-Algebra

“I think your flipped teaching style is very helpful because then when we are in class we can talk more about our questions,” – Gaby M., 7th grade Pre-Algebra student.

Last spring, ISTP sent its teachers to a conference at Head-Royce School in Oakland.  I chose to attend a workshop on the idea of “Flipped Teaching.”  The idea intrigued me from the moment I heard about the concept.

I learned that using a flipped teaching style, my students would watch a video for homework to learn the lesson, and then spend the class period doing practice problems with me. “No more lectures for half of the class period?” I asked myself.  I became more and more interested.

In flipped teaching, what is normally done/taught in the classroom is now done at home, and what used to be done at home as homework is now done in class.  The general routine of my students is this: For homework, they watch a math video that I have made on my iPad. In the video I will intro vocabulary from the current lesson and show some example problems.  The videos last around 5-7 minutes, as I talk through the lesson and explain how to do the problems.  The students watch the video, pausing as they need, and take notes.

Ariana P., a 7th grade Pre-Algebra student, says “the videos are short and are easy to understand, but in class, it takes forever for everyone to copy notes down and ask questions. The videos are also better, in my opinion, because taking a whole class to write notes can get a little boring, but the videos are quick and easy.”

Before we start each chapter, students are given a skeleton of the notes.  They fill in their notes, and at the end of each section, there are 2-4 problems labeled “Try These.”  These problems are usually pretty basic/easy, and the students try these problems on their own at home.  When they come to class the next day, we go over the answers to those problems, and I take any questions about the video or notes from the previous night.

Then, students answer the remaining “In Class” questions in their notes packet.  I have the students work with a friend to solve the next 2-4 problems.  These problems are usually a bit more challenging and make the students use what they have learned in the video to solve more extended problems.  Once we finish these problems, we have the rest of the class time to expand on what they have learned and practice.  Sometimes, if it is a harder concept, we do more basic practice, or we may skip the basic practice and do an activity based on the concept.  Other times we do practice problems, but we focus on the more challenging problems at the end of the lesson.

Take a look at this interesting video showing Kammie’s flipped classroom in action.

Flipped Classrooms

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