I have been experimenting with flipping a high school mathematics class since the 2012-2013 school year (SY). During that SY, I was teaching a year 2 IB DP Higher Level class (seniors), a year 1 IB DP Standard Level class (juniors), two grade 8 integrated (meaning the curriculum covered a variety of topics and students were of mixed ability) classes and a grade 9 extended class (variety of topics, stronger students). The grade 11 SL class that I had was a generally weak group. I found that much of my 70 minute class periods were being spent on answering homework questions and very little time on lesson content with no time to work on practicing the new material.
Thus, I began to flip the class. I started by providing students with the shell of notes and gave them links to other people’s pre-made videos – the like of Khan Academy or PatrickJMT. My hope was that they would be able to extrapolate from the videos to complete the notes. However, this did not go very well. Students found it difficult to apply the examples shown to the ones I’d created. To me, only the numbers were different, but they shut down.
So I started making my own videos. I was working at the International School of Amsterdam and my department computer was a Dell Tablet. I used the SMART Notebook and SMART Recorder to make these videos. This method worked really well for me. I liked being able to write on the screen and to pause in the middle of making the videos. Also, being on a laptop allowed me to switch to my TI-84 application to demonstrate calculator applications (all of these I have realized in retrospect, more on that later).
Students liked that I had made the videos. They liked that the examples were exactly the same as on their sheet. They liked the personalization – which I added to by giving students “shout outs” in the videos. Et voila, we had more time for practicing problems in class. However, this method is contingent on students watching the videos. For the students who had not, I had them begin class by watching the videos with their headphones. They’d then need to practice on their own time. But if the student can’t make time to watch the videos, odds are low that they’re going to practice on their own. On the whole, my first year of flipping, with just one class, I’d claim as a success over all. It inspired me to flip all my classes the following year. But that’s a story for another post.