Flipped classrooms have been trending for a while now, but I’ve never really embraced it because I don’t expect my students to use their time at home. But while I’m thinking about how to adapt my teaching for pandemic times, I realized that I can use the idea of flipped learning within my classroom! What’s great about flipped learning is that I can maximize my interactive time with students: supporting, clarifying, assessing, and giving feedback. I can record my basic lesson during my planning time, and then use class time to work with individuals or groups.
The list of advantages, for both teacher and students, is long!
- Students access my lesson as a video. This means they can pause, rewind, or repeat as much as they need to.
- I can add labels and graphics to the video to support the concepts.
- I can easily and instantly switch instruments, reset the board, and shift equipment or setup, thanks to video editing!
- I can show close-ups of what I am doing, and students can see it clearly no matter where they are in the classroom.
- I can take time to perfect my lesson, and re-record it if I mess up!
- I can build a set of videos that can easily be shared with a sub if I’m absent, which means less work for me when I’m feeling sick.
- If we are singing or playing in parts, students can focus on the video for their part, and I won’t have the disengagement and distraction of students who can’t stick with me while I teach another group their parts.
- Also for part-singing, I can create a video of myself doing all the parts together, so they can hear the end goal. How many times have you wished you could do that in class??
- Recording one video for a whole grade level means that I don’t have to repeat myself as many times in the week. It also means I get to save my voice, which is especially important this year when my voice has to get through a mask.
- I can offer extra videos for students who need more clarification, or students who already know some of the material (for example, an advanced piano player who doesn’t need a beginner note-reading lesson) can skip what they already know.
- I have classes back to back. If students are watching the videos at the start of class, that gives me time to set up instruments or equipment we might need. This year, it will give me time to disinfect equipment between uses!
- This is the perfect way to walk students through instructions for worksheets or simple activities. Students can pause the video after each step is explained.
Here are a few considerations for flipping your classroom within your classroom.
- Break the lesson down into short video segments. I recommend that videos are three to five minutes long. You can put them into a YouTube playlist, into Google Slides, or number them in a Google Drive folder.
- Use a stand for your phone/tablet/camera. Shaky videos are really difficult for students to watch.
- On a similar note, be sure your sound quality is clear. Use an external microphone if needed; it’s worth it! Harsh or tinny sounding voices, fingers rubbing across the microphone, and inconsistent volume are all things that will distract from your message.
- Decide ahead of time if this is a sequence of videos, or if they can be watched in any order. Inform your students if they need to be watched in a particular order.
- If you can, think about your wording, examples, etc. to enable you to use the same video next year.
- Carefully plan what you will include in your video to make your interaction time most productive. You might want to include some guiding questions, or “let me know if you need help with ___”.
- Anticipate what students will need help with. Are there specific troubleshooting demonstrations you could also record ahead of time?
I’m excited to be trying this with my classes this year! Have you ever tried flipping your elementary school music classroom? How do you think this might work in your context?