This article was written by Erika Livingston, a 5th Grade Teacher from Anderson Livsey Elementary School.
Sometimes as a teacher, I get stuck in a routine. Looking for reading passages and searching for the next best thing to present to my class can be really overwhelming at times. I think that every teacher goes through this at some point in time during the school year. If I’m feeling this way, I can only imagine how my students are feeling!
I decided to do something about it for the third nine weeks. I decided to flip my classroom and let the students take control of their own learning.
My Local School Technology Coordinator (LSTC), Lorna Baldwin, had a significant impact on making this transition possible. I started by letting my students create their own questions about World War I. They created a Google slide presentation with their questions, and they had to use different resources to research and find answers to their questions.
The next step was actually engaging in conversations with them and having them make connections to their research. In addition, I created a checklist in eCLASS where the students participated in collaborative learning by reading and analyzing non-fiction texts, viewing media on Safari Montage, creating their own documents using Google, and taking assessments via eCLASS. We have even used webquests to conduct our research as well. On a daily basis, I found myself as a facilitator of the content and not just an instructor.
My LSTC was there for me every step of the way. Sometimes we would co-teach, and sometimes she would help my class in the computer lab. As a result, the students took ownership and really enjoyed working in collaborative groups.
In reflecting on my experience so far, I realize that flipping my instruction will be the norm for my classroom going forward. It was important for me to have the support of my LSTC in order to understand the process and to walk me through step by step. Once the foundation of classroom procedures and routines have been established, the students will know exactly what to do. My students are excited to grab a device and start working right away. I have students in the hallway working, spread out in the classroom, and even helping each other. In a Padlet I created for my students to rate their experiences so far, my students gave me their approval for the strategy–we will continue pushing forward using our flipping techniques. It has been a great, eye-opening experience for my students and me!