For my hypothetical “blended learning” lesson, I figured it would be essential for my students to understand how to do research while writing a long research paper for me. The learning objective would not only be to know how to type in “keywords,” or be able to simply find what they are looking for–rather, the learning objective will be for my students to fully understand the scope that the entire research process covers. They will learn what the best research tools are, the most efficient way to conduct research, and how to distinguish between “good” articles and “bad” articles.

For this hypothetical assignment, I would make a serious of “how to” videos that show how to conduct proper research. These videos will most probably be very similar to the screen casting video I made that shows how to use the UP researching websites. In addition to showing this particular video, I will giving my students videos on how to pick the correct “keywords” when conducting research, as well as a video about the difference between academic journals and journals that are not considered to be academic.

This assignment will help my students become more familiar with computer usage in regards to doing research. It will also be important because when they have to do research for other classes, they can simply refer back to all of the videos I would have made.

Picture done by Colette Cassinelli, entitled “Learning”

So if you’re like me, you’re often proud of your students by their interesting, deep questions about your material. The kind of stuff beyond “How is this relevant to us?” and “Can I go to the bathroom?” So how do you incorporate their deeper, more engaging questions into the curriculum without losing track of the lesson plan you’ve worked so hard on?

Google Slides’ ‘Presenter View’. For a technology-literate classroom beyond the normal curriculum, just put up a Google Slides on presenter view and ask students to post their profound questions on the powerpoint. The best way to do this would be within the unit beforehand, whenever one of those questions comes up, ask students to write it down and save it. Then, when they’re looking at the powerpoint, they’ll get on their devices and submit the question. Then, students can be challenged to answer the question (in an ELA classroom that might take the form of a strong thesis statement), then they can compete for the best answer possible! You still control everything that goes on the screen, but the students control and respond to the rest.

This model could also be used for more open-ended trivia or test-prep, if you wanted.

English/Language Arts lends itself really well to the flipped model, and teachers often do it pretty naturally within this subject. Students often do their reading and writing, the most focused activities in the discipline, as homework. One reason for this is that there isn’t enough time to always do these things in class, and another is that having students read and write at home leaves time in class for activities such as discussions, activities, and peer editing.

Learning objectives:

Students will compare and contrast Macbeth with its screen adaptation, Throne of Blood.

Students will compare the relative aspects of film vs written drama.

Flipped/Blended Elements:

Students watch Throne of Blood at home and take notes about the plot and differences between the version they just read and the film they are watching, as well as the visual techniques Kurosawa uses.

Active learning strategies:

Viewing the film, forming opinions, collaborating in groups, writing debate cases

Lesson Flow:

Students read Macbeth aloud in class the previous week. When finished, assign students to watch Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood at home over the weekend.

In class, students create Venn diagrams comparing and contrasting the film and reading generally. Decide, as groups, which telling of the story is more effective, and write a simple debate case that argues their side. Groups will then debate the effectiveness of the play vs the film adaptation.

Benefit to Students:

Using the flipped strategy, students have the opportunity to watch a film adaptation that they may not have time for if we tried to contain everything to the classroom. By removing this time constraint, students had time to work together and really dig into the material collaboratively in class.

Image Source: “Macbeth and Banquo Encountering the Witches” from Wikimedia Commons

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang Daniel! Back at it again with the blog posts!

Today we’re discussing flipped lessons. (See what I did there with the featured image? I literally used powerpoint and flipped the slide upside down. Funny, huh? Laugh. It’s funny)

SWBAT: Every good teacher should know this acronym. It describes the learning objective, or target, that the class should have reached by the end of the lesson. The learning target for this lesson would be dividing fractions.

Students Will Be Able To: Divide Fractions

The digital resources that would be particularly useful would be the Khan Academy lessons on dividing fractions as well as a program where students will be able to play with digital manipulatives that will help them visualize how fractions and operations performed on those fractions can be modeled and . This will be especially helpful for students who are more visually inclined than others. These lessons would be done at home.
“What would you do in class with all that free time?”

Well, for this particular lesson, it would be amazing to set up different math stations that deal with the most common fractions: 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc. These stations would have these fractions represented in different ways, and the students would be asked to perform the different operations on the fractions as well as describe what is happening to the models of the fractions with each operation in their own words.

The digital resource (Khan Academy) would be available at each station as a review, or as a way for students who may not have that much access to technology to engage in the lesson and do the assigned lessons at the same time the class is working at the stations.

This lesson would benefit greatly from being flipped because of all the misconceptions students often have about fractions. This would allow them to work with the concepts in the comfort of their own home and come up with their own conclusions about what the lesson was trying to teach them, without any influence from their peers.

Then when the students show up to class, they will be able to compare conclusions and how they might have gotten to those conclusions. They will also feel confident going through the various stations because they had a taste of the material the night before. Any misconceptions they have about the material will be made clear by their classmates or the available media; or, of course, the presiding teacher.

I think this is a fun and engaging way for students to understand how fractions work and how to divide them.

My main objective is to assess where my students are in terms of their mathematical skills since students coming into the classroom are on a variety of levels when it comes to their academic skills.

I want the students to be able to gauge themselves on their academic capabilities and learn that it is okay to make mistakes and that sometimes asking for help from a peer or teacher will always be the best choice to make in my class.

I need to free up class time so I can register students onto WordPress (or some equivalent like Edmodo) accounts so we can do online help forums on the various units we will be covering in the year.

Digital Resource(s) I will be using for the lesson:

I will be using a WordPress blog post with a multitude of links titled with mathematical concepts that will lead students to online worksheets to practice on.

Examples: Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, Long Division, and so on. *I just underlined them so they are not actual links*

The list will go on up until the last concept we will be covering in the year. A lot of the students may give up before that point since they have yet to learn these concepts, but some will give it a try.

Each “worksheet” will contain around 5 – 10 problems each. 3 – 5 if they are word problems.

Active Learning Strategies

Students will be gauging themselves on how well they are able to do the following concepts. The quicker, the farther. They will have a huge confidence boost at the beginning since the work will be “easy” for them, but the challenge will slowly rise as they continue.

Students will be able to work with fellow peers on problems they are unable to get passed, establishing that teamwork and group work strategies will be used in the classroom.

Once I have finished with setting up the WordPress accounts with the students individually, I am then able to walk around the classroom and interact with the students. Getting to know and/or answering any of their lesson specific questions.

How the digital resource integrates into other instructional elements of lesson – what’s the flow of the lesson?

The flow of the lesson is quite free form. On my WordPress blog post, all the students will see is a bunch of math concept titles that they are able to click on that will send them to a worksheet with problems related to the title. They do not necessarily have to go in order (top to bottom), though I feel like some students will do that. If students are comfortable enough with the concept/skill, they are allowed to “skip” on clicking that link and move onto another that perhaps will provide a challenge to them or that will allow them to revisit a concept/skill they are not strong in and practice. Students are allowed to ask others for help, but only after they have given the problem an honest-to-God attempt.

Benefits for student content mastery, collaboration or learning workflow – Why is it worth it flip / blend some of the content?

I believe it is worth it to doing this because the students (most of them at least) will see that they have learned many things in their academic journey and that they are able to do them all and are going to learn more concepts to add to that repertoire of theirs.

Hopefully, the students will see that math skills build upon themselves and what they are doing is adding tips and tricks to those skills. It is an important skill to be able to do math problems on pen and paper since the work will be saved “eternally”, or until one throws it away, that can be used to check back in and refresh oneself, to have others check your work more visually and easily, and as physical evidence to the teacher that one is doing the work.

I also see this lesson as a practical lesson on the expectations of the class surrounding teamwork, behavior, and conduct in my classroom.

Luckily in my student teaching placement, we have a lot of access to technology, but students are not able to take that technology home with them that would be necessary for a truly flipped approach to be successful. The lesson I would have students do is this Google Slides presentation that is also interactive! The best part of this Slides presentation is that it is interactive, and has places for students to type and move arrows around on the screen built into the presentation, making it much more engaging than a traditional PowerPoint presentation. You would somehow have to share this presentation with students, with Google Classroom or a class blog of some kind being the best option for sharing a Google Slides presentation.

This lesson has five stages: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation. The first part of the lesson, Engagement, has students watch 2 videos that that explains how energy moves in a food chain. This is a good way to introduce new material to students in this flipped format because they can go back and re-watch any parts of the video that they missed, or did not initially understand. Following the video, there is a place for students to record any words that students did not know when they watched the videos. These are both good videos for introducing a new topic to students, as they put the academic vocabulary that goes along with Ecosystems and food chains into very kid-friendly language and the videos are interesting and engaging for students to watch on their own.

The next three parts of the activity, Exploration, Explanation, and Elaboration all have students doing a variety of different activities that have to do with Food Chains. The one that I like the best that I would want to use as an evaluative tool instead of the test at the end of the presentation is the choice board that comes with the Elaboration section of the activity.

This has students show me in a way that works best for them what they learned about Food Chains during this lesson that they completed on their own. This activity would also be a good way to tell me where specific students’ misunderstandings were, and would be a good way to plan how to differentiate instruction when students come into class the next day.

For the in-class part of this flipped lesson, I would plan some sort of extension activity that has students work together to build their own food chain or food web, and I could help individual students with misunderstandings surrounding the topic for those who need that individual scaffolding.

In middle school and high school, I heartily looked forward to science classes each day. They were a chance to ‘experiment’ – to play, test, follow curiosity – and yet, somehow, through this, learn. What a radical idea: the combination of natural interest and discovery and education! But all sarcasm aside, teachers are testing more ways to make learning fun, memorable, and meaningful. Labs need not be limited to a science classroom. Indeed, flipped learning as a strategy for any class attempts to take advantage of technology to give students the best of both worlds: interesting lessons and non-drudgery homework in the form of class ‘explorations’ or other active learning strategies. There is huge potential in using technology for this purpose, and as teachers, we can continue to learn by trial and error, using our imaginations (and the scope of the internet) to craft new lesson sequences and see what is effective.

Here is my attempt at creating such a lesson for a high school trigonometry or Pre-Calculus class learning about the Unit Circle.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to label the Unit Circle on their own, using intuition. They will be able to identify the patterns that the trig functions follow. Furthermore, they will be able to explain how we derive trig values from special triangles on a circle of unit radius. Finally, when given a major angle measure, they will be able to return the corresponding sine, cosine, and tangent values, or vice versa, given trig values to match with angle measures.

Digital Resources for Flipped Elements

This lesson will work off of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students will begin with “homework” to do the lowest level of thinking to memorize the basic values of the unit circle. They will have at their disposal multiple tech tools to do this, as students learn in a variety of ways.

Visual learners might want to utilize these programs on Desmos and Geogebra, which help students to connect the dots between shapes/spaces and trig values.

Students more inclined to numerical or algebraical thinking might want to use a chart (especially an interactive one like this), which shows patterns among trig values to ease memorization.

The objective of this beginning stage is to gain comfort with the idea of radians, triangles inscribed in a circle, and the connection between angles and trig values. At this point, students should develop a base knowledge of trig values in relation to certain radian measures, but I would not expect them to understand the significance of these values.

Active Learning Strategies – Interactive, Collaborative, Digging Deep

The next part of the blended lesson is the in-class work, which here will consist of active student participation in a “lab” to get to the root of the importance of the unit circle. Students would work in groups, following a lab procedure that would lead them through activities looking at recognizing and questioning the qualities of the circle. At sporadic points throughout the lab, I might draw the class together to make important points or to give them hints on how to proceed, but their background knowledge should give them the foundation to proceed more or less independently. Finally, at the end, we would come together as a class to review our findings and discuss how this new material will benefit us in the coming unit.

How Will the Lesson Flow?

Using a flipped lesson sequence frees up time to focus on deeping students’ learning in class. By intentionally guiding students’ focus from basic to more advance studies of the circle, my hope is that they will not feel overwhelmed by the unit circle and instead give each aspect of it its due diligence and attention; ultimately, this should pay off in gaining both a general knowledge and a more application-based ability concerning the unit circle.

Why Use the Blended Model for this Lesson?

The goal of this lesson is for students to develop an intuitive understanding of the unit circle in order to be fully prepared to deal with all things trig-related in the following units. The unit circle is hugely important and often not covered in due depth. It may seem that math teachers’ insistence on knowing by heart the values on the unit circle is overboard, but really – they are not deceiving you in telling you that knowing this material like the back of your hand will pay you back several fold as you continue in math. More critical even than memorizing the values of the circle and a much more thorough way of learning the circle, in fact – is being able to derive these values. From what do they stem? How are radians related to measures of a circle? How are trig functions tied to coordinate points? How do we convert between trig functions, or even undo trig functions with inverses? These are the deeper questions that students should be able to answer.

Students will be able to find the derivatives of sinusoidal functions.

2. Digital Resource(s)

Before coming to class, students will watch an online video that I will create of me proving $latex \frac{d}{du}sin(u) = cos(u)$ and $latex \frac{d}{du}cos(u) = -sin(u)$.

3. Active Learning Strategies

Once students have an idea where the equations come from, they can use the freed up class time to solve problems where they are asked to find the derivatives of sinusoidal functions. One active learning strategy that I might employ is Numbered Heads Together. I will split students into groups of three or four and have them collaboratively work on problems that I will provide. One randomly selected student from each group will then provide a brief explanation of how their group went about solving the problem. Students who would have difficulties solving the problems on their own will have the benefit of group members to help them out.

4. Lesson Flow

The video explains to students where the equations $latex \frac{d}{du}sin(u) = cos(u)$ and $latex \frac{d}{du}cos(u) = -sin(u)$ come from. I will begin class by demonstrating to students how we can use these equations to find the derivatives of various sinusoidal functions. The example problems will require the use of techniques taught in previous lessons such as the power rule, the product rule, and the chain rule. After the example problems, students will be split into groups for the Numbered Heads Together activity where they will solve some problems in groups. Finally, students will be given some homework problems to work on individually for the last part of class.

5. Benefit for Students

As a math teacher, I dislike presenting a formula or equation to students and asking that they believe it on blind faith. I really believe that students benefit from seeing where formulas come from and why they work the way they do. However, in many classes (especially calculus), there are simply too many equations to offer a formal proof for each one during class time. By flipping this lesson, students are able to see where the equations $latex \frac{d}{du}sin(u) = cos(u)$ and $latex \frac{d}{du}cos(u) = -sin(u)$ come from, and I won’t have to use class time to prove the equations. Instead, students can use class time to collaboratively work on problems where they will apply the equations. This is preferred to having students work on problems at home, where they would not have a teacher or classmates to help them out if they get stuck.

Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of cellular respiration through a tennis ball lab experiment through data analysis and graphing.

2) Digital Resources Used

The first part of the lesson would be the students on their devices at home watching a video that I created through EDpuzzle. The video would be an introduction and full overview of the process of cellular respiration, I would add checkmarks of questions that the students had to answer and they couldn’t skip ahead they have to watch all of the video. I most likely would not grade these questions but see it as a form of informal assessment for me to know where my students are at (it would all depend on where in the unit we are at). This would free up what would be classroom lecture time to insert a lab which I wish I could always do more of!

3) Active Learning Strategies

For me the best active learning strategies are getting students involved in a lab experiments in class. Currently I do not have the abilities to operate a flipped classroom so I can only do a small amount of labs, but in my opinion labs are one of the best hands-on and active way for students to learn content. The lab that I would do is a tennis ball lab that connects to cellular respiration. The students are in groups and they have to squeeze a tennis as hard as they can for 30 seconds take a rest and do it again. The students have to do this five times in a row and keep track of how many times they can fully squeeze the tennis ball. The connection is that over time your muscles fatigue with has to do with cellular respiration, glycogen storage, and anaerobic fermentation.

4) Lesson Flow

The lesson will flow in the direction of starting with the video and questions at home so that when students come into class they have received and reviewed the content, therefore they are ready to begin the lab. I would most likely do a review at the beginning of the class of content that pertained to the lab and then the rest of the class period would be devoted to the students lab time. A block class period would be perfect to also start a discussion and analyze the data however it could be done over a class period and a half or two full periods.

5) Benefit to Students

This format allows students to be exposed to the material outside of class so that by the time they come into class they know what they know and what they do not know. This allows time for more questions and one-on-one time with students in class. The content offloading also allows for more hands-on, minds-on activities in the class, which for me means LABS LABS LABS. Labs are wonderful opportunites for students to demonstrate their knowledge and learning in a more active format. It also helps students that struggle with learning content from a screen or a person another way to learn material.