First of all, my wife is amazing…..she is also an amazing teacher. The comments that she has received from students, parents, teachers, and administration in her short career have been extremely positive. She has a background in learning assistance and ever since she moved into the classroom those skills have paid great dividends.
As a high school teacher it is hard for me to even comprehend what Elementary teachers deal with, my hat is off to them. On a daily basis she works as a teacher helping her students through the gr. 2 curriculum but even more so she is a mother to those students. She is giving food from her own lunch to those who do not have enough, she is running to the lost and found to give students an extra pair of pants when accidents happen, and more important than any of that, she is giving students the love they may not be getting elsewhere.
At times our teaching lives seem worlds apart. This Spring after I had just finished the #canflip conference we were sitting on the couch talking about my wife’s exciting move to a new school next year. With a new school come new responsibilities, things that make you excited, things that make you nervous, and a natural point to create some change in your practice. My wife has heard nothing but Flipped Classroom talk for the last year or so, so when she brought up the topic I was cautiously optimistic…
She asked if I thought it could be used in the Elementary classroom. I am sure we must have had this conversation ages ago and we both concluded that it could not. If there is one thing I have learned about the Flipped Classroom is that it is always evolving. Heck, most of my students don’t watch their videos at home anymore; only in class, some teachers get students to make the videos themselves, and some Flipped Classroom teachers don’t use videos at all. Yet these classes are still Flipped Classrooms in my opinion.
As the Flipped Classroom gurus Jon Bergmann and Arron Sams always say, what is the best use of your face to face classroom time? These little grade 2 students don’t need to be going home watching videos on the days of the week or addition and subtraction techniques, but perhaps my wife could use them to buy time in her own classroom.
Lightbulb! Spelling…my wife has already completely differentiated her spelling lists with her students. Each student is on a different list depending on where they are at and they do not move forward until they have mastered the list. My wife sits down with each student at the back of the class while the other students are writing in their journals and gives the spelling lists individually. The good old… “Jump…….How high can you jump?…..Jump” about 20 words each, for every one of her students.
There had to be a better way…why not Flip them? Create videos that not only have the audio but also have pictures describing the words. Students can ‘jump’ on a computer at the back of the class, put on the headphones and complete their spelling test while my wife now has time to work with the rest of her class.
The idea is all my wife’s and it seemed brilliant to me. I am super excited to welcome my wife into the Flipped Classroom world. What I love about this is that you are not flipping a unit or a lesson, but rather you are flipping the teacher. I always hear people say if the teacher could be replaced by a computer they probably should, here is one instance where the computer can and should do the work.
This is the first time I really enjoyed seeing my wife ‘flip’ out! So proud of her and excited to see where this goes.