The first time I heard the term “Flipped Classroom” was a little over a year ago during an in-service presented by Elizabeth Hubbell from Colorado. Although the faculty at my local East Tennessee high school was horrified by the idea of flipping, I was
immediately intrigued, thinking of the potential such a method would present in my Spanish classroom.
Over the course of the past year, I have become very involved in finding every related article on the Internet and started following Heather Witten’s blog, “The trials and tribulations for Flipping my Spanish Classroom.” As all educators know, you learn best by teaching, so soon after the beginning of the school year my colleagues and I began PLC’s , (Professional Learning Communities), experimenting with different screen recording sites, specifically http://screenr.com and http://screencastomatic.com. We began posting the recordings on http://edmodo.com, where they were easily accessible for students to view. To our surprise, the upper level students actually appreciated our efforts and started watching the videos on a daily basis, especially the calculus students. While I have been able to incorporate many of the elements of flipping in my high school Spanish classes, I have to this day not been able to complete the flip there, due to a lack of reliable Internet in the rural areas of our county.
However, as the year progressed it did occur to me that Flipping the Classroom would actually be quite enforceable on the college level. I teach a Spanish 1010 night class once a week in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the students have been required to access their Moodle sites for all of their course assignments. My normal routine for the three and a half hour class would be to introduce approximately 60 new vocabulary words, followed by three grammar topics. Often around 9:00 pm my students and I would be totally exhausted and yet, I still had to cover one more grammar point before I could dismiss them for the evening. Well, last quarter I decided to make the flip. I added a paragraph to my syllabus explaining the Flipped Classroom and that I expected the students to come to class prepared with questions and notes on the material to be covered that night. I added a quiz to each of the videos I had posted on the Moodle site to ensure that the students would watch them. I must say that I will never go back to the traditional classroom in my college classes. What a difference this method has made! Not one of the students failed the mid-term examination, whereas usually I would have at least one or two failures. My entire attitude has changed and I am no longer stressed out when I come to class. We immediately get into groups. I hand out a sheet with questions to discuss in the groups, covering certain grammar points. The students then create an original skit with the new vocabulary, followed by various other group activities including Skype talks with native speakers in other countries.
I still have a long way to go in the flipped classroom world, but I am well on my way to reach new heights in my flipped classroom. I am looking forward to the upcoming school year, when I will incorporate even more of the elements of the flipped classroom on the high school level as well. I am especially interested in incorporating differentiated and individualized activities, as well as tapping into my students’ creativity.