Monday, April 6, 2015

#flipclass Flash Blog: The Planning Process

What a great #flipclass topic!

I think I blogged about my planning process for my flipped classroom early on, but I was still so fresh, and I've come a long way since then. I don't know that my planning takes any less time than it did early on, but I am more efficient.

When planning a flipped lesson, I first look at the topic/standard I want to cover on a particular day.

I have made guided notes in SMART for several years, now, so I go to previous notes I have made on the standard.

I modify these already-made notes to make them video-friendly. I add the "I can" stem (that students write in while they watch the video) and the "Questions?" at the end of the notes.

I try to do a week's worth of videos at a time, so I prepare and export several sets of notes at once.

The next part of the planning process is recording videos. That's usually my Thursday afternoon activity. I record 2-4 videos, depending on what the plan is for the next week.

Now the hard part. With direct instruction moved to videos, how do I fill class time?

I begin searching. I know there are those who are not huge fans, but I find the majority of my class activities on Teachers Pay Teachers. Some are free, some I pay for. I am thankful there are teachers who have or make time to create activities I do not have time for. And that there are individuals out there much more creative than I.

I go for scavenger hunts, discoveries, games (review days are almost some sort of game, now), coloring pages.

Sometimes class activity is an in-depth, written response lesson, using a Laying the Foundation lesson or something similar.

For skill-based topics, I like using pages from my "Punchline Algebra" binders, as they provide straightforward practice and are self-checking.

I *love* that I can do so many self-checking activities in my flipped classroom; my students always know if they are on the right track.

And, yes, some days are out of the book. Not often, but if I am ready to take a grade on a topic, I will sometimes use a problem set out of the book.

I try to find 3 things for each lesson, a la Strategic Teaching - Before, During, and After activities. I am not always successful at completing 3 activities, but that's always the goal.

My biggest challenge with planning is timing of activities. From my reading before jumping into a flipped classroom, I knew to expect this. And it is something, even nearing the end of the school year, I struggle with occasionally.

I don't often worry if a planned activity takes too long or doesn't get finished. If students got a good 30-40 minutes practice/application on a topic, I am happy.

I struggle most when the planned activities are too short and I have more extra time than I want/need. I need to get better at having meaningful fill-in-the-extra-time activities.

I probably enjoy planning now more than I ever have, because I am getting to pick out more interesting, fun, engaging activities than I ever did when each day was me standing at the board talking for 30-40 minutes.


  1. I think a key to meaningfully filling that time in the class is to find out what each student (or small groups of students) need right there. It takes time to build up that trust for the students to believe they can have control but it really does pay off (at least for me).

  2. Hi Mickie,
    Are there really people who don't like teacherspayteachers ? I am with you, I use it all the time. I love reading about how you are flipping your class. I am going to try baby steps next year and do Flipped Friday's. Like you I am going to start with my Algebra classes. Thanks for the inspiration.