Success! Our 1st Flipped Science Inclusion Class

A MiddleWeb Blog

2-teachers-nobordr-210Reflection is a natural part of my everyday teaching cycle, but I find this time of year I add another dimension: I think about the goals I set for myself for this school year. 

I’m happy to say that with just about six weeks left in the school year, I was able to weave in my goal of implementing at least one flipped learning experience. Mission accomplished. And sweet success!  

Just the other day, my science co-teacher and I made this happen. For a quick glance at how flipping the learning sparks students in co-taught classrooms, check out this presentation by Michael Stano and Ali Moss, Flipped Over, Learning in a Co-Taught Classroom, shared at the Council for Exceptional Children’s 2014 annual conference last month. It is truly inspiring. 

Now here’s the story of my first-time flip in our middle school classroom.

The Prep Work

This was a completely new concept for my co-teacher.  After I shared the basic idea, he was as enthusiastic as I was to give this flip a go! We decided on the topic of moon phases for our first flip with seventh grade students. I began the prep by asking myself sequential questions:

Click to see the infographic

Click to see the infographic

Question 1: What are our lesson objectives and in what parts of the lesson would students need additional supports?

Question 2: What tools, websites or software will I use, and how can I set this up so that all students will have access to the information?

Question 3: What concepts must the students know to be able to participate in class activities?

Question 4: Since my co-teacher and I have very limited planning time, how can I make sure we co-plan this lesson?

The Plan

I opened up a Google Docs page so that I could share my plan with my co-teacher. Google Docs made it possible for us to both plan together and to do it at different times (asynchronously), which worked well with both of our schedules.

I shared some links that supported our aim to guide students to identify the moon’s phases and to explain why the phases occur. After evaluating the links asynchronously, we decided on one of the 3-minute videos I suggested. To support students to retain the information, I created a guided notes sheet so they would be active viewers.

We posted the online activities assignment on our team’s website, as well as emailing the assignment sheet with the links to the parents. Here’s the Moon Phases Flip Lesson assignment and here’s the guided notes sheet. Enjoy!

In Class—After the Flip

We gave the students two days to complete their part of this flipped lesson (at home or otherwise outside of class). When the time came for us to apply the information they learned through our lesson, there were noticeable sparks in the classroom.  The students were ready to jump right into our lab work. We saw no need for us to first lecture and introduce the moon’s phases. It was a successful first flip! 

moon phasesWhat my co-teacher and I noticed:

Most students expressed positive feedback like…

• “This was cool!”

• “I liked that I could keep re-watching the video until I really understood the facts.”

• “It made me want to learn more—I liked the bonus parts of the lesson, too!” 

• “The guided notes made it easier for me to remember the information—and it went right along with the video, so it was easy to follow and understand.” 

One student said, “I just wish we had more time to be the teachers in class—I like taking charge of my own learning.” Really!

More prior knowledge

We also noticed that during the lab that day, the students came to class with a much deeper background knowledge base.  In addition, they were able to use the academic vocabulary needed to express their understanding of the moon phases. 

They applied their background knowledge; they were engaged in the application of their knowledge; and my co-teacher and I really felt the success of this first-time flip!  I am definitely ready to take this flipped learning approach to a whole new level in the future.

Questions about our flip?

And what goals do you have before the school year is over?

What would you like to try with your co-teacher in order to deepen the learning for your students? Go on, give it a go, and then come back and tell us about it!

Elizabeth Stein

Elizabeth Stein has more than 20 years teaching experience spanning grades K-8, specializing in universal design for learning and special education. She’s currently a special education/UDL instructional coach and new-teacher mentor in Long Island NY’s Smithtown Central School District. Elizabeth is National Board Certified in Literacy, and a contributor to Education Week and other publications. Her books include Comprehension Lessons for RTI (Grades 3-5) (Scholastic, 2013), Elevating Co-Teaching Through UDL (CAST, 2016) and Two Teachers in the Room: Strategies for Co-Teaching Success (Routledge, 2017). Follow her on Twitter @elizabethlstein and #coteachat

2 Responses

  1. Shatara Ross says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I saw that you posted this over a year ago but I am just not stumbling across it. I am a 7th grade life science teacher. So after you did that one flip lesson did you change your entire curriculum to the flip format? I am flipping my classroom for the upcoming school year and I was having trouble on where to begin and what to do in class. I came across this tool called to create my videos. I am just trying to see what type of activities I can do in class. Do you have something in place for your fast learners? I cant wait to hear back from you. I am really excited about flipping my classroom!

    • Elizabeth Stein says:

      Thanks, Shatara, for reigniting this conversation! When I introduced this flipped lesson my co-teacher was completely new to the idea (and thankfully open to it!). It was a very careful baby step in the right direction. If I had remained with this co-teacher, I believe we would have taken great strides in sharing the responsibility of creating many more flipped learning experiences. But
      since this flip, I have taken a position as an instructional coach, and I am working with teachers and students throughout my district–so the follow through for this particular successful flip was not part of the process.
      As far as putting something in place to support the pacing of learning for varied learners, did you try organizing the lessons/unit to include putting students in charge as lead learners? For the flip experience I wrote about, we also planned for students to teach one another about certain aspects and concepts. Students took charge of their learning and extended their knowledge and skills through taking leadership roles in the learning process. Does this make sense?
      Great to hear you are exploring the creation of your own videos! The ShowMe app is another great tool to apply.
      If you’re on Twitter, check out “#flippedlearning or #flippedClassroom hashtag to gain tremendous insights and engage in conversations with like-minded flipped class educators! Feel free to find me on Twitter, too! I’d love to keep this conversation going!
      Hope this helps–let me know :) All the best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.