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WE Innovate: Flipped Classroom

During first period, students in Julie Ryan's Math class line the hallway, working in small groups on math problems and scanning QR codes for answers, not sitting in desks listening to a lecture. That's because their teacher has implemented a flipped classroom.

Julie Ryan, seventh grade Math teacher at Stoller Middle School, came to the flipped classroom idea in a roundabout way.  She was asked to move classrooms this school year, to a long room with a small white board in the middle.  "I came in here and I realized that I would have to rethink how I teach because the shape of the room isn't conducive to direct instruction," says Ryan. "Then I came upon the flipped classroom, because I needed to be innovative, I had to find what was going to be best for my kids in the space that we had."

Now, Julie develops and records video lessons on an app on her iPad that she uploads to YouTube and posts in Canvas, the District's new Learning Management System. Students log into Canvas, from home, and watch the lessons on their own time. As they watch, they take Cornell Notes, a school-wide AVID strategy.  Each lesson has three to four exit questions as well as a communication prompt that students must complete and submit to Ryan when they have finished watching.

"I really like the flipped classroom. I feel like I learn more from it because if you don't understand what the teacher says, you can just pause or rewind the video," says Harleen a seventh grader in Ryan's Math class.

"It's easier for me because I am a faster learner. When you are in a normal class, the teacher takes a lot of time to explain the lesson to everyone in the class, but when I do the video on my own time, it is much faster, I really like that," reports Bernardo, a Stoller 7th grader.

The next day in class, students begin with a warmup of reviewing and revising their Cornell Notes and have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have had about the lesson. Then, they spend their class time working on collaborative, hands-on, student-driven activities to practice what they have learned. "What they normally would have had for homework, we do in class as an activity, so all of their support is here," says Ryan. "Now I am able to do what I was trained to do best - support them."

Another advantage of the flipped classroom is that students who may be out sick don't miss any lessons. They can watch the lesson videos and Ryan can email them practice work so when they return, they are still at the same place as the rest of the class. It is also good when she, the teacher, is sick and has to miss work. She can record her lesson from home and upload it to Canvas and the students never miss a beat.

"I don't think it would matter what space I was in, now that I have discovered it, I just love it," exclaims Ryan.