A flipped classroom provides teachers with more time, deeper conversations with students, and increased passion for teachers. This blog shows you how!
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This week I am sharing with you Mandy Rice from Teach on a Mission and host of The Sustainable Teacher Podcast.
I was lucky enough to be a guest on her podcast. We talked about three organizational things you can do to organize your classroom and make teaching more sustainable for yourself.
In this post, Mandy is going to talk about how you can use a flipped classroom to create a more sustainable teaching routine for yourself (and your students).
What is a Flipped Classroom
Before we hear from Mandy on the benefits of a flipped classroom, I think it’s important we establish what a flipped classroom is!
“A flipped classroom is a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school. This is the reverse of the more common practice of introducing new content at school, then assigning homework and projects to completed by the students independently at home.”– Teach Thought
Essentially, a flipped classroom is doing the “teaching” part at home and the “practicing” part at school.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what it is, Mandy is going to break down some of the benefits of a flipped classroom.
The Biggest Secret to Sustainability in the Classroom
If teaching weren’t hard enough to maintain in a semi-balanced and healthy manner, the teaching through a pandemic has certainly shown us how it can get worse, am I right?
Hi, I’m Mandy Rice, of teachonamission.com, and I’m so grateful to Kelly for allowing me to come on her blog and speak to you about this idea of a Sustainable Classroom.
Helping teachers build sustainable classrooms so they can stay there longer (that is longer than the average short life-span of a teacher) is my ultimate passion and our main focus on my podcast, The Sustainable Teacher.
Obviously by the name of the podcast, sustainability for teachers is what we are all about.
Teachers do some of the most impactful and important work, and keeping them in the classroom is our top priority here, and we work to do that by helping teachers build sustainable systems and practices in their classrooms.
Sometimes it’s hard to have these conversations about doing things that sustain teachers because we feel guilty focusing so much on the adult in the room (ourselves) rather than the students.
That narrative, along with the status quo of teacher hustle equating to effectiveness, is what’s ultimately driving teachers away from the classroom, though, and I’m here to change that narrative.
Could we overdo it by focusing too much on the teacher and not enough on the students? Of course we could – there are two ends of extreme to every choice, and I choose to live somewhere comfortably in the middle as much as possible, including when it comes to building an effective classroom.
So what is this big secret? The biggest secret to finding sustainability in the classroom?
Well, I’m going to tell you all about it, and I’m also going to provide three reasons why this one thing is so sustaining.
After reading this post, you will feel empowered to get the best return on your time investment with every classroom choice you make because you know that sustaining you is important, not selfish, work, and you’ll know how to make it happen with the flipped classroom.
Return On Investment
Often times in the business world you hear the term ROI, which stands for return on investment.
It’s one of the most important aspects of any financial decision you make whether you’re a fortune 500 company, or a family trying to decide on a larger purchase. Like right now, my husband and I are deciding if we install a sprinkler system or remodel our master bathroom… which one will result in the best ROI.
You know who doesn’t have these conversations? Teachers.
Meaning they don’t work with large sums of money when it comes to the decisions they make about their business, the classrooms, and so they don’t have to consider ROI.
Or do they…
Maybe teachers don’t work with large sums of money, but you know what probably means more to every single teacher in the world, maybe even more than money?
Time is a Teacher’s Currency
And this is what I believe is the biggest secret to building a sustainable classroom. In every decision a teacher makes, he/she must consider the possible return on their TIME investment.
So it’s not ROI, it’s ROTI – return on time investment.
The next time you consider using a new project in your classroom, implementing a new strategy, or even whether or not to rearrange your seating charts again, ask yourself… what kind of return will I get on my time investment here?
Then determine if it’s worth the time investment.
The Changing Times in Education
In Episode 14 of The Sustainable Teacher Podcast, which I would love for you to come and give it a listen, I talked all about the New Normal in education we are barreling toward, and how it truly could be a great opportunity to determine what we want our normal to look like as classroom educators.
If I could add an addendum to that episode it would be that when you consider what you want your classroom to look like, how you want it to flow, function, and feel, you should do nothing else before considering the potential return on your time investment with each decision you need to make.
If it’s alright with you, I’d like to help you do that. I would like to give you some teacher-friend advice on how I believe you can get the best return on your time investment especially when it comes to the new normal we’re approaching in education.
When it comes to preparing for the new normal of education, teachers are thinking of these three items:
- Being accessible to all students no matter how they arrive to your classroom,
- Managing students on multiple platforms,
- Staying grounded in the content while providing engaging learning opportunities and experiences for your students so that they choose to arrive to and thrive in your class…
Sustainability of a Flipped Classroom
If wrapping all of those kinds of results up into a sound, research-backed, sustainable structure of your classroom is what we want to achieve, then the absolute best way to do it is through the foundations of flipped learning; by flipping the classroom.
Now, as stated in the intro, I want to show you why. I’m not just going to say “Hey, I’ve got a secret you want to hear that’s going to rock your socks,” tell you the strategy and then peace out. No. I want to empower you to get jazzed up about it. See the impact it can have not just on your classroom but on the sustainability of your daily teaching life.
I’ve got three key points to show you the sustainability of the flipped classroom.
Here’s the truth – a ton of teachers who consider flipping start the process by considering if it’s worth the work. Wondering, ok how much work is this going to be because I already have a never ending to-do list.
And you are not wrong in asking those questions, because you are ultimately asking about the time investment you’ll make, and here I am showing you the return you will get.
1. Videos in a Flipped Classroom Save Time
Return on Time Investment number one is this…
Let’s talk about the videos of your flipped classroom, particularly what they look like at different grade levels.
- Starting with our oldest students in high school, you don’t want to make your videos longer than 20 minutes.
- For lower high school students, get closer to 10-15 minutes, then on down from there to elementary-aged kids, no more than 5-10 minutes.
- For the babies, that is kindergarten and first grade or lower, don’t make a single video longer than 5 minutes.
But a high school teacher making 20 minute videos will have her students watch 2-3 of those per week. An elementary school teacher will make multiple 5 minute videos for her students to watch possibly per day – let’s just say one for each subject of math, reading, and science, for instance. Those two amounts of video-time get pretty close to equaling out.
One video that is 15-20 minutes in length (so that’s three to four videos for our elementary teachers), will take about 30-40 minutes to make depending on your editing preferences and how many mistakes you made while recording.
Man that sounds like a lot of work. I won’t sugar coat it, it is a decent amount of work, but let’s get real about this time investment so we are fully aware of exactly how much time we are investing and what return it will get us.
Delivering that information to students in a traditional classroom (remember, a 15-20 minute video) every bell of the day takes 30-40 minutes multiplied by how many bells you teach it, multiplied by semester (if it’s a semester course), multiplied for every year you teach it.
Let’s do the math.
As a high school teacher who gives one 30 minute lecture in the same course for, let’s say, 10 years because our courses do switch, and teaches that course 4 bells per day will spend 20 hours delivering that one lecture.
If you make it into a video, and let’s say you remake that video after 5 years because you want to update it, you’ll spend no more than one hour delivering that content and yet all of the students you have in those ten years will get the content.
Not to mention, because it’s in a video, more of your students are likely to get the content because they’re able to watch your lecture in spite of absences.
2. Better Conversations with Students
Return on time investment number two is this…
Because content delivery is through a video and probably outside of class time (although it doesn’t have to be), you now have time to empower your students learning through meaningful conversations instead of just reminding them of their lengthy to-do list as if that’s the equivalent to learning.
The meaningful conversations you’ll have in your classroom will be more focused on their learning habits and the results of their effort, and therefore will have better return because you are increasing student ownership and accountability.
So not only does the video itself have a high return, but it provides you more time in class to then get even more return with what you decide to do in class.
And engaging students in their own metacognitive learning processes will get higher returns on your time investment everyday of the week.
The ability to dive deeper into the content, not just stay up on surface-level-learning, will also get a greater return.
Not to mention, it’s going to reach those middle of the road students who are oftentimes left behind in our hustle of reaching kids at the bottom and top of performance, and will push them to higher growth and achievement.
3. Teacher Excitement and Passion
Return on time investment number three is this….
Your passion and excitement in your classroom matters. If you are delivering the same song and dance multiple times a day without the ability to truly dive deeper and engage with students, you’re going to burn out. Your passion and excitement is going to fade.
With the flipped classroom you have the class time to spend on the cool stuff of what you teach or maybe the cool ways in which you teach it. You can save all the stuff that you really like to teach for in-class time, making everything else in a video.
Or, you get to put all the content outside of class so that you can do things like Socratic seminars, let them choose a book to read in your non-ELA classroom, a fun new lab you’ve always wanted to try, passion projects, 20% time, the possibilities are endless.
And, sure it’s all stuff you’ll need to find or build, but the possibility is there and it’s one that gets you going as a teacher, one that lights you up and reminds you of why you love to teach without sacrificing your effectiveness with the content in the process.
That last part is huge. Because of the flipped classroom, you can do the cool stuff you want to do, that really lights you up and gets kids engaged without sacrificing the content.
In a traditional classroom you have to set standards aside, not all the time but a lot of the time, in order to do something cool. Well, in the flipped classroom you don’t have to set it aside, you can do both.
Alright teacher-friend, you now know the best kept secret of sustainability in your classroom, and that is to consider the return on your time investment with every classroom decision you make.
You also can see and I hope feel empowered to get the best return on your time investment with the flipped classroom.
Flipped Classroom Starter Kit
If you’re ready to flip your classroom (or know you will be soon) I have the exact resource you need to get started, and that is the Flipped Classroom Starter Kit.
It’s a free, printable guide built on my ten years of flipping my own classroom and helping other teachers do the same. Grab it by clicking here and I’ll send it to you straight away.
Thank you, again, to Kelly for this opportunity and I hope to see you over on the Sustainable Teacher Podcast soon.
The status quo of hustle and DIY for teachers doesn’t have to stick around in our new normal.
Instead we can choose to focus on the systems of our classroom working for us, instead of us working for them, and making sure that our evenings and weekends are our time without sacrificing effectiveness with students in the process.
Because, YES, my teacher-friend you can have both.
Here is a quick recap of all the links shared in this post:
- What is a Flipped Classroom
- Teach on a Mission Website
- The Sustainable Teacher Podcast
- Make Better To-Do Lists with this Free Training
Until next time,