Designing a Friendly Flipped Classroom

Our parents learned in a "blue collar, industrial age" education system

Our parents need to be educated on learning methods just like our students do

Why Do We Continue to Call it Flipped?

  • The term "flipped" has a bad reputation.  Too many parents and students have read horror stories online about how ineffective it is.
  • If you are going to use methods such as videos and sites to assist in the instruction of the class, inform parents and students you have a "blended learning environment"
  • While it may not solve all of your problems, it will give you the opportunity to explain that your blended classroom isn't the same as other flipped classes.

Does it Work for your Students?

  • What is the culture of your building and classroom like?
  • What is the culture in your school community like?
  • Does the administration use technology a lot?  Do other staff members use blended learning methods in their classes?
  • You will be fighting an uphill battle if the culture is not established for teachers to try different learning methods in the classroom.


  • The most important area to focus on when you are using new methods or changing a culture.
  • Administrators and teachers need to communicate so everyone is on the same page (ex. methods being used, intervention exercises used to help students who are struggling, communication with parents).
  • Plan needs set in place on how you will communicate the new methods with parents.  Remember, communication needs to be early and often.

Communication Methods

  • What are some methods you will use to communicate?
  • Email? If so, make sure to create a detailed email with links that discuss blended learning and positive research on the methods.
  • Open House? If so, expect to get some difficult questions.  On the flip side, gives you an opportunity to take parents through a lesson and demonstrate the tools and feedback you can give kids.
  • Videos?  Make sure they are short and to the point.  Don't make videos longer than 5 minutes - especially the ones you will use to explain the teaching methods to parents.
  • Blog? Like emails, include links to articles and videos that parents can check out for themselves.

What Will You Explain?

1. Why You Are Using Blended Methods

  • Explain why you, as a professional and teacher, believe these are the best methods to use for instruction.  You wouldn't be using these methods if you didn't believe they were the best way to get student growth would you?
  • Emphasize the positives - students can watch the videos as much as they want, they can get 1:1 assistance in class on HW, students can move at their pace for a more personalized learning environment

2. Methods You Will Use

  • Let parents know what software you will be using and why you are using that tool (EX. If you are going to do screencasts, explain why screencasts are the best thing for you and the students to use).
  • Discuss devices and how they are used.

3. How You Are Going To Use The New Methods

  • Explain and demonstrate how classes will look on a daily basis (EX. Break down your classes in 5 minute segments and explain how the time will be used).
  • Discuss what assessments will look like and how students will be assessed on a daily basis (if applicable).

4. What Is Expected Of Parents And Students

  • Explain what is expected regarding devices, when videos need to be watched, what students are responsible for when they miss class, etc.
  • Search the Internet and ask PLN for examples of documents they have shared with students and parents discussing there areas.

Tools and Resources To Use For Blended Learning

1. Devices

  • Try to get either iPads or Chromebooks - phones will work, but are more difficult.
  • Some parents may be more skeptical with students watching videos while using their phones (I can sympathize with that; not the best tool to use).
  • Phones can work though, I've seen it done before.
  • Trying a straight, 100% blended learning class when all students do not have some type of device does not have a good chance of being successful.

2. Apps and Sites to Use

  • Educreations is a screencast app with an interactive whiteboard.  You can put images, your video, and voice-over in the app.  Videos are shared by using the URL generated.
  • Show Me is a screencast app similar to Educreations.  Interactive whiteboard that is used as an app.  Videos are shared by using the URL generated.
  • ScreenCast-O-Matic is a tool used to make screencasts.  It is web based and you can make 15 minute videos.  Videos are shared with others by using the URL generated.
  • YouTube is a great tool because it is easy to make videos and your videos are stored in your channel.
  • Kahn Academy is a great site to use to get videos that you may want to use in your classes.  All of the videos don't have to be of you.  They have added more courses than just Math.
  • Padlet, TodaysMeet, PollEveryWhere - tools to use to create backchannels in classes so students can ask questions, share information, help each other.
  • Learning Management Systems - Edmodo and Schoology (Google Classroom is also popular) are two of the most used systems that allow teachers to put videos in a place where students can access them all of the time and students can also share data and information with other class members.

Do's and Don'ts Of Blended Classrooms

1. Do not make videos over 5 minutes

Think about this statistic:  when it comes to web videos and marketing, you’ll lose about 1/3 of your viewers by 30 seconds, 45% of them by 1 minute and almost 60% by 2 minutes.

  • If this is the case for commercials, how long do you think the attention span is for instruction?
  • If you need longer than 5 minutes, make a series of videos over different topics in your unin

2. Make Student and Teachers Line of Communication Open

  • If there are communication barriers as to how the class operates, how students and parents can get help, and what is expected of students there will be problems.
  • Develop a plan that spells out how communication will take place between all stakeholders.  Always plan for too much communication.

3. Have an Intervention System in Place for Each Class Period

  • Students will struggle.  Have a plan in place for how you will provide intervention.
  • Create times each day where workshops will be held and direct instruction will be offered for those who want it.  This can take place in a corner of the room while other students are working on problems, projects, or assessments.
  • Create as many intervention opportunities as possible for students.  This may include retaking assessments, alternate forms of assessments such as projects and videos, and peer-to-peer teaching.

4. Don't Be Too Proud To Change and Mix It Up

  • Mix in different instructional methods - don't go full blended 100% of the class each day.
  • Use different methods on different days based on formative data gathered during class periods.  If students are struggling with topics and/or problems, you may need to re-teach not using a video.

Contact Information

Bobby Dodd, Principal
Gahanna Lincoln High School
Twitter: @bobby__dodd
School Twitter: @GLHSLions
Blog: The Principal's Blog
Parents Blog: Gahanna Lincoln H.S. Parent Blog
Facebook: Gahanna Lincoln H.S. Facebook Page
Website: Gahanna Lincoln High School

Remind Account: text 81010 with the message @glhsinfo