This is the first post in a series about how to flip your classes, an approach that moves some content delivery outside of the classroom in order to provide in-class time for practice in applying that information to build new knowledge.
It is suggested that, like all new instructional approaches, you try flipping one class session before attempting widespread implementation. Many who want to test out flipping their classroom struggle with finding a starting place. The easy option is to pick a lesson where you have noticed students struggling in the past. These moments lend themselves to flipping because we find ourselves wishing we had more time to work with students in class on tough problems or activities. Trying the process with one class first also makes it easier to assess the success of the flipping.
The first step to flipping a class session is to build our framework. Start at the end of the instructional process by thinking about what it is you want your students to be able to do by the end of the lesson. Using the Bloom’s Taxonomy table on the right (click it for a bigger version), you can identify verbs associated with the cognitive process which helps us build your Learning Objectives (LOs). Using these verbs ensures that the LOs are meaningful and measurable. Simply saying “You will learn about what a volcano is” is not only vague for the student by conveying nothing about the end goal or what they will need to do in order to obtain that goal, but it doesn’t indicate at what point the learning will be sufficient. LOs offer transparency to the students and afford the instructor stronger evidence of learning. So instead, this learning objective might look like: “Be able to identify the basic structures of a volcano.” With this, the student knows what will be required of them.
You may end up with one or two LOs, but it isn’t wrong to have six or seven. Remember, the idea is to get students from the lower levels of cognition to the higher levels, so if you find yourself using many verbs from under the same cognitive level, you may want to consider consolidating some of those objectives in favor of progression.
We want to ensure that our list of verbs is both all-inclusive yet minimal. Has every important concept of the lesson been assigned a learning objective? Have you eliminated the redundancies and favored consolidating less significant objectives into larger, related ones? These questions may seem at odds with one another, but use your best judgment to accommodate the content. Lower level objectives should only focus on building fluency; at minimum, what will the student need in order to succeed at the next level?
Next time, we will look at a method for discerning which learning objectives belong in class and which belong out of class. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions regarding this process.