Throughout the nation, teachers and students are finding that flipped classrooms encourage creative teaching. Teachers find that they can connect students to resources and use class time to explore ideas in depth. Also, students enjoy the flexibility of having classwork available to them online at home, which means that if they miss school for illness or weather closures, they dont miss the assignment.
In a geometry class at Riverbend High School, C.J. Beckett doesnt listen to a lecture by teacher Julia Pense. There is no lecture. In the flipped classroom, students watch videos and read lessons at home for new material. Then, they reinforce what they learn through projects in school.
Pense’s geometry class, along with a half dozen others at Riverbend High School in Spotsylvania County, is “flipped.”
“I like this class,” C.J. said. “It gives me time to work. No one likes homework, but here we are able to do it in class.”
Along with his classmates last week, C.J. cut out tessellations—tiles placed together on a plane to form one or more geometric shapes with no overlaps and no gaps.
He used the shape to trace onto a square of fabric and make a picture.
The project showed the students how tessellations fit together, and after the fabric is decorated, Pense will have them made into a quilt that will be donated to a local charity.
Later in the class, students played a game in groups.
Flipped classes were piloted at Riverbend last year, and now a group of teachers offering the classes is studying their results and working to get more teachers involved.
Flipped instruction has become something of a buzzword in education during the last five years, and more and more divisions are offering the classes.
Clintondale High School in Michigan flipped completely in 2010 after experimenting with the classes.
After 20 weeks of flipping its first class, those students were outperforming their peers in traditional classrooms, according to a New York Times article about the school.
No student in the flipped class received a grade below a C-plus. That achievement was a stark contrast to the previous semester, during which 13 percent of the students failed.
In Clintondale’s traditional classrooms, there was no change in achievement.
Spotsylvania’s high schools don’t have plans to flip entirely, but teachers, including Pense, have reported gains in students’ test scores.
“The circle unit in geometry is the hardest, and my students achieved significantly higher scores on those tests this year,” Pense said.
Many of the classes, including Pense’s, are partially flipped, allowing flexibility for students who are used to the traditional lecture model of instruction.