Flipping the Elementary Classroom

Recently I spoke about the importance of technology integration and the flipped classroom in Indianapolis, IN at the CELL, Center of Excellence in Leadership of Education, 2012 Conference. One of the questions often asked is about the suitability of flipping for students in the elementary grades.

It so happens, on Monday of that same week I’d observed an outstanding example in Mr. Hernandez’s 4th grade classroom at McKinley Elementary School in Yakima, Washington. Mr. Hernandez was doing a highly engaging math multiplication lesson using a problem-based strategy for finding the missing integers.

I observed students working collaboratively in teams, accessing the multiplication content through Khan Academy videos while Mr. Hernandez moved from group to group effectively differentiating his instructional support with individual students and small groups.

Students found the Khan videos very engaging. They liked being able to pause and rewind the content. This effective use of technology to deliver the content allowed Mr. Hernandez much more time for one-on-one individual help than would have been possible in the traditional classroom model.

I do not have hard numbers yet; but based on my work with teacher groups around the country and classroom observations, I believe the practice of flipping may actually be spreading faster at the K-8 level than at High School. In their effort to improve instruction, many teachers are experimenting by incorporating “flipped” techniques without acknowledging a specific model.

These teachers are often creating their own tools while the resources available on line to support them are also growing exponentially. In my next post I will provide a link to for new elementary videos, resources and articles for anyone interested in trying this exciting new way of delivering instruction. 

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