At Lift For Life Academy, we recognize that none of our students think in exactly the same way. Therefore, it is important to utilize multiple, innovative methods of teaching in order to reach every student.
Middle school mathematics teacher, Andrea Zeiter, regularly employs a style of teaching known as the “flipped classroom.” This teaching style breaks the traditional pattern of doing applied work outside of school based on lessons first learned in the classroom. Instead, for flipped lessons, Ms. Zeiter will create instructional videos for students to watch at home, and then, she acts as a coach as they do the applied work for the lessons in her classroom.
When Ms. Zeiter prepares to do a lesson in the flipped classroom format, she will create a 6-10 minute video and assign her students to watch it and complete fill-in-the-blank notes at least a week before covering the content in class. Then, on the day of the lesson, she assesses how well each student grasps the concepts with a short review and splits them up into three groups based on how well they applied the concepts of the lesson in the review.
Ms. Zeiter will immediately work one-on-one with the lowest performing group while assigning activities of varied difficulty to the other two groups. Throughout the activities, she is able to move students between groups based on their understanding of the material.
“The flipped classroom gives the teacher a chance to teach without distractions, and gives the student the chance to learn without distractions,” said Zeiter. “Our kids all learn in such different ways. The flipped classroom allows me to reach every student, no matter how they learn best. Some kids can’t absorb information in a general classroom setting because they are too distracted by everything that’s going on around them, or they feel like they need to blurt out every single question that comes to mind the second they think of it. Those distractions and interruptions keep almost all the students in the room from learning the content. Watching videos eliminates the distractions and interruptions, so the kids can focus solely on the content.”
In addition to increasing efficiency and productivity in the classroom, Ms. Zeiter also noticed that the flipped classroom provides new opportunities and resources for students to learn at home.
“Parents are able to sit down with their kids and watch a lesson that I put together,” said Zeiter. “They learn all the language I’m using with the kids in the classroom, and they learn how I am teaching the content, so they can better recreate it at home. It gives the student an extra person they can go to when they have questions about the work and I’m not around.”
Ms. Zeiter first learned about the flipped classroom at the Midwest Education Technology Community Conference (METC) in 2013, and earlier this year, she returned to METC to present on her experiences with the teaching method. Check out the slideshow from her presentation on flipped learning.