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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
Once we have a basic understanding of what the flipped classroom is, the next question to ask is, how do we modify our lessons? As teachers we have hundreds of lessons that we've already created, and so adapting a new philosophy of how we teach can seem somewhat overwhelming because of the fact that we now have to go in and change all this work we've done prior. The reality is, is adapting a current lesson to becoming a flip lesson plan, is actually fairly simple. Let's go ahead and take a look at a very common breakdown of a gradual release lesson plan. Typically, you have some kind of introduction to content.
In this particularly gradual release module, we have some introduction in content. Followed by a guided practice. Then, we release the students a little further, to some group work. And then finally, we get down to the independent work, which is often our assessment. And then, to help push mastery of content, we assign an extension activity that takes place outside of class as homework. To take this particular lesson plan format and make it a flipped classroom, all we have to do is re-evaluate what happens outside the classroom. We're going to shift everything up one spot so that the introduction of content happens outside of class, and it happens prior to the class.
Then when students get to the actual class, we're going to have guided practice, group work, independent work, and possibly even an extension activity based on how much time we have available now in our class session. I'd like to also show you how this looks on an actual lesson plan. Here in Microsoft Word, I have a lesson plan that I've used in my actual class. This less plan is for the nervous system and it's for part of my body systems unit. The objective is fairly simple, that I want my students to be able to describe how the brain and nervous system interact with other body systems. As we scroll down and look at this lesson plan, we can see right away that it's a flipped lesson plan.
I can tell, because of given myself a note that prior to class students will have watched the assigned YouTube video and completed their focus group readings. Focus group readings are actually a way that I differentiate my flipped lesson plans. Throughout my body systems unit, students have various focus groups. Each focus group receives an individualized reading that's appropriate to the students in that particular group. As I look at the lesson agenda too, you can see that there is no room for introduction in new material. Right away when my students come in, I have a brief catalyst which is an engagement activity.
We then dive right in to exploration, which is applying the outside learning we had. We have a group extension activity. I leave room for some individual work, which also frees me up to do some one on one work. And then I help my students transition to math by graphing out some brain activity. This is also going to help my math teacher make some real-world connections with what they are currently working on. When I look at the lesson elements, the engagement's really simple. My students are watching a two minute video clip from The Water Boy, where the professor argues about what makes crocodiles angry. For the exploration which the students should be into within the first five to seven minutes of class.
They're going to start right away working in teams, making a list of everything that they know about the brain. They can use their articles, they can use what they saw in the video, and then each team is going to start adding, using the Promethean board for entire group collaboration. Once we feel that the entire class has a pretty good idea of what the brain does. We're going to go ahead and use Mind Meister to create a class collaborative mind map. Each team will have a computer. They will log into a pre-created Mind Meister board, and they will add their own ideas. This way we can capture the learning of the students in a single place.
And then students can continue to access the Mind Meister any time they want to be reminded of what the brain does, and how it controls various body systems. As I scroll down further, the explanation section of this lesson plan is only for students that require more help. During class time, if I have a student that is completely lost, or it's very evident that they were not able to complete the prior to class instruction, I'm going to pull them to the side and give them an online, interactive brain model and a guided note sheet that they can do in class. Not only is this a benefit for students that maybe showed up unprepared, but if for some reason you're flip lesson plan isn't going well I can always bring the whole class together, use a Promethean board to do the class interactive model, and basically turn this into a traditional class.
That's always a nice backup plan just in case your students are not adapting well to the group work environment. So, this time, we've gone through and taken a look at how we can adapt our current lesson plans to be a flipped lesson. Essentially, we're going to take our introduction to new material, and find a way to move it outside of the classroom. The next question we need to tackle is what resources are available to us. So that we can move the introduction of content outside of the classroom.
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