Sunday / March 3

What to Flip in a Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classroom

To say you should take your current PowerPoints and break them down into segments of video for your students would be to miss the point. You might want to first think of what is going to be done in class and then make a flipped video of the background needed to prepare for that work. If, for example, you were looking at William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, you might want to give students an exercise looking at the main points that Golding was trying to make and his view of our society. These would be tough questions that students might need assistance in understanding. A flipped video on Golding’s life and how he was led to his beliefs and subsequent writing of the book would be a good topic for your video. This video could even include the short clip found online of Golding’s thoughts on his well-known book.

Flipped ClassroomOnce you have your lesson and the video idea ready, you will need to line up what you need for the flipped overview. I usually include a few Presentation slides since written words often help student comprehension. I also have additional tabs set up on my browser. Perhaps a very short clip from the Lord of the Flies movie might enhance your presentation, as would a picture of Golding. Once these assets are set up, it makes it easy to move through the parts of the video remembering that it is okay to have bloopers as students seem to like it when their teachers appear more human in a video. Adding in personal touches also make the videos more interesting for your students. My own children have all had cameos in my instructional videos, as have the family pets!

Flipping, though, does not need to be limited to teachers. If administrators truly want to initiate a flipped school, they need to model the practice. If teachers aren’t watching the videos, then students aren’t either and administrators need to learn how to maximize watching so as to work with teachers and students to do the same. How many times has a school started a new initiative and had training sessions? Why not give people the option of watching a short video instead? What about an opening day speech when teachers would prefer to be working on lesson plans? Have them watch a 10 minute video (or shorter) and answer key questions, much as teachers would want their students to do. Modeling the practice over and over is the best way to sell flipping to your teachers.

It is important to note that it is okay to use videos from other educators as long as they fit your needs. Use your Twitter/Google+/Google search engines to look for flipped videos on your topic. Ask your Twitter followers for recommendations or send a message to someone with a large Twitter following and see if they can help point you in the right direction. There is a growing library of short videos on the Internet that you can add to your digital library by bookmarking them for later use.

For an example of flipping a lesson, check out this video I made on How to Write an Essay. Feel free to use it in your own class!

To learn how to make a flipped video, get more guidance on where to find flipped videos or even how to use Twitter to benefit your teaching, I’ve provided more ideas in my book, Deeper Learning Through Technology: How to Use the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.

Written by

Ken Halla has been a high school teacher social studies teacher, department chair and advanced placement coordinator for the past twenty-two years. Halla initiated a pilot for e-books which led to all 7-12th graders using e-books in social studies in Fairfax County, VA. Additionally he has been an online teacher and chair for the past nine years and has a popular blog technology and pedagogy blog which receives 65,000 pageviews a month. Halla also has led many in-services and offers a regular class for teachers looking to integrate technology into the classroom. Halla has a Ph.D., is a National Board Certified Teacher and an adjunct college professor You can visit his tech and social studies blogs: US Government Teachers’ Blog, US History Teachers’ Blog, World History Teachers’ Blog or contact him at He is the author of Deeper Learning Through Technology.

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