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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About Jim Warford

Jim Warford is Senior Advisor and Keynote Speaker, International Center for Leadership in Education. Jim is an author, speaker, Leadership and Instructional Coach. He was named in March 2003 as Florida’s first Chancellor of K12 Public Schools. He stepped down in September, 2005 to become Executive Director of the Florida Association of School Administrators, representing over 10,000 Florida school leaders. As a Senior Advisor for the International Center for Leadership in Education, he works with states, districts and schools to provide coaching and executive training and support to school leaders and their staffs. As Florida’s Chancellor, he led the creation and state-wide implementation of Florida’s Continuous Improvement Model, FCIM, which resulted in that state’s dramatic gains in student achievement and an 80% reduction in the number low-performing schools. FCIM remains Florida’s required intervention for all low-performing schools. As Superintendent of the Marion County, Florida Public Schools, he first implemented the Continuous Improvement Model district-wide. As a result, school grades went from three “F”, eight “D” and only one “A” school in 1999 to twenty “A”, 16 “B” and no “F” schools in 2003. Under his leadership the high school dropout rate was cut in half. Jim Warford is the author of, The Chemistry of culture: Strategies You Can Use to Create a Culture of Learning. He has taught applied technology courses at the high school level for 17 years and created a Computer Graphics/Video Production program that won many national and state awards. He was named Vanguard High School Teacher of the Year three separate times.
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