During Term 3 and 4 of this year I attempted flipped learning with one of my year groups. I came to the decision to attempt it based on their feedback, however it didn’t work out as effectively as I’d hoped.
This post will outline my approach and top tips, success and failures could be a whole other post.
For a unit of work on rivers I wanted a particular year group to take some independence in their learning. I set up week by week pre-learning activities on SAM learning*.
Each activity would introduce key concepts, processes and vocabulary – the activities were always supported by a video or web link that students could use for extra support. The weekly activities were based around reading some information or watching a video clip and then either answering some multiple choice questions or fill the blanks. .
The activity for the term was to create a project on rivers – this could be in any chosen form such as booklets, posters, models with info sheets, videos, PowerPoints etc. Their creativity was their only limit. I really didn’t mind how they presented their understanding.
In the first lesson students were given a prior knowledge entry ticket, they were introduced to the project and given task sheets. Everything was explained to them and an introduction to rivers was given.
Each week then had a different focus.
Week 1 – Planning and research
Week 2 – Features of a River Drainage Basin
Week 3 – River Processes (erosion and weathering)
Week 4 – River Processes (transportation and deposition)
Week 5 – River Landforms (waterfalls and gorges)
Week 6 – River Landforms (meanders and ox-bow lakes)
The pre-learning covered the topic for the following week
Week 1 – Features of a River Drainage Basin
Week 2 – River Processes (erosion and weathering)
Week 3 – River Processes (transportation and deposition)
Week 4 – River Landforms (waterfalls and gorges)
Week 5 – River Landforms (meanders and ox-bow lakes)
Week 6 – Revision
Students were given the learning matrix for the topic which outlined the success criteria and how they could work their way up each band.
It outlined the ‘Need to Know’ questions and the links to the assessment objectives as well as outlining what they needed to demonstrate in order achieve each bronze, silver or gold in the topic.
Each lesson students had access to a variety of resources including information sheets in the ‘Help Yourself’ station, textbooks, revision guides and their SAM learning work. On occasions students also had access to iPads.
Assessment of Learning
— Prior Knowledge Entry Ticket
At the start of the topic students were given a prior knowledge entry ticket that looked like this.
Students simply ticked off what they thought they knew. This was rather interesting to identify their starting points and perceptions on what they thought they knew. For the first few lessons I would question students based on what they thought they already knew, later I would question them on what they identified as not understanding. Students came back to this in the final week and in a different colour ticked off what they knew again.
– – Entry Tickets
At the start of each lesson students were given a entry ticket on arrival, before getting on with their projects they had to complete and peer assess the entry ticket. If students struggled with any aspects or did not achieve 80% they would be invited (or instructed) to attend an in lesson (or sometimes out of lesson) tutorial to support their learning.
— RAG Rated SAM Learning Activities
Each week I could see a RAG rating of student understanding. If a student achieved less than 60% they would have a tutorial in the lesson whilst the rest of the class carried on with the activity.
— Learning Matrix
Once in lesson tutorials were undertaken and students felt confident to move on, I would spend time discussing the work and providing feedback to students on their progress to far. To do this we would first look at the need to know questions and students would identify which ones they felt they had addressed so far. Next we looked at the banded success criteria and again students would identify the criteria they felt they achieved so far, I would then look at their work and discuss it with them. Whilst i did this I would highlight the criteria they had achieved in yellow and if there was something I thought they could do to improve I would highlight the criteria in pink.
Students then had the opportunity to go away and try to achieve the highlighted criteria, later on they would get it checked and signed off by me.
Introduce pre-learning over time – don’t introduce it all at once, embed pre-learning over time and slowly introduce the use of pre-learning into several lessons over the term. Once achieved then introduce it across the whole term.
Use entry or exit tickets – these were a fantastic way of assessing student understanding. They were simple in terms of what they assessed – recall of subject knowledge – but allowed for instant feedback on what students were understanding from the SAM learning activities, tutorials and classwork.
Use an electronic system for pre-learning – having access to a system such as SAM Learning meant I could track who was actively accessing the resources at home, how many attempts they made at the activity and if they were making progress over time in the scores achieved.
Give it a go – although I will put my hands up and say it wasn’t a complete success this time, I discovered more about my students and their ability to work independently; there were those that really struggled and just couldn’t cope and those that thrived with the opportunity whilst there were also a whole load in between.
Finally have a back up plan – if you find individuals or groups of learners are not able to access the learning in this manner (which you will) ensure you have a back up. I ended up with one class split into those that worked with me in the usual style whilst the rest of the class worked independently, checking in with me for support and feedback when necessary.
I will save my success and failures for another time.
If you were thinking of trying flipped learning, I hope this post has given you ideas.
Feel free to ask any questions.
*Note: I am not affiliated with SAM Learning in anyway, I’ve not been paid or asked to promote them either. I’m just referring to them in reference to my experience. There are many other fantastic sites that provide a similar service or opportunities for flipped learning including Edmodo, Show my Homework and Google Classroom to name just a few.