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Flipped Learning Case Study: Elementary

Flipped Learning Case Study: Elementary

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, learners will consider what an elementary flipped learning environment looks like.

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Source: Image of solar system, Public Domain, ; Image of light, Public Domain, ; Image for Learning, Public Domain, ; Image of computers, Public Domain, ; Image of Paper, Public Domain, ; Image of punctuation, Public Domain, ; Image of silhouettes, Public Domain ; Image for creativity, Public Domain, ;Tutorial, Creative Commons,

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Welcome to a tutorial on flipped learning case study, elementary. In today's tutorial, we will talk about what might the elements of an elementary flipped classroom look like, and throughout the tutorial, we'll be discussing a hypothetical classroom of fifth grade students in which the teacher uses flipped learning to go through a unit.

So in this class, the students were a group of fifth graders, and the class was in the middle of a unit on the solar system and our planets. Students had already learned about the planet Earth, the moon, the sun, and all of the other planets, as well as smaller parts of the solar system, like asteroids and comets. So it's important to note that the students already had this background information before going into this particular flipped lesson.

The goals for this teacher moving forward with this class were to use flipped lessons throughout the entire unit to promote inquiry and engage her students. This class was also very active and needed extra motivation to stay on task, so using flipped learning was beneficial for many reasons.

Remember that flipped learning allows teachers to open up the class time for that one on one or small groups, or for that active learning that really engages all students, especially those that need that extra motivation. Hopefully, the activities will be much more meaningful to those students, because we're using some scaffolding techniques to build on prior knowledge.

By asking the students to take the material home and look at it beforehand, we're providing students with an opportunity to really develop ownership over their learning and responsibility for their learning, which is important.

So now that we've talked about some reasons why this teacher decided to use some flipped learning lessons, let's talk about the lesson that this case study was done on. So the lesson, first starting with the homework, was for students to go home and explore the tutorial titled The Solar System. And this web address here will take us to the tutorial, which we'll look at in just a moment.

And this tutorial on the solar system involved looking at several different things, reading about the solar system, watching a video, playing some games, and listening to a song, all revolving around the solar system. Remember that students already knew basic information about the solar system, so this information was designed and put together intentionally by the teacher to dive a little deeper into these ideas and practice them as well.

When they were done exploring the tutorial, this teacher asked students to take the quiz on the tutorial, and we will take a look at that as well.

Before the students were sent home with their homework, the students were reminded by the teacher about the goal of these homework activities in flipped learning lessons, the importance of completing the activities before class, not putting it off not thinking, well, everyone else is going to do it, so I don't have to, making sure that students really understood that it was their responsibility to take ownership of their learning.

Students were given options if they did not have computer access, including the teacher put the website for this tutorial on their class website for students to access at a public library. She also opened up class time before class and after class for students that would like to come in and work during those times.

She reminded students of the importance of note taking and the skills that they should use. So she used a little mini lesson to remind students of those important note taking skills, as well as she discussed quality summaries and what those look like. Students were sent home with the website for the tutorial, as well as the list of three things to do.

Take notes on the important ideas, write a summary about your learnings, and write two or three questions that you have. So this is what the teacher assigned, as well as going through the tutorial, of course, and exploring and taking the short quiz on this tutorial. So after we put in the web address, this is what we see.

We have a tutorial here on the solar system, and as you scroll down, you'll see to the right hand side that there's a quiz, and that's what the teacher asked the students to take after they were done exploring all of these ideas on the left hand side. Let me make the screen just a little bit bigger, and we will explore some of the websites on this left hand side. Some of the videos, some of the games, and some of the reading material, as well as the song.

So the first of the four things that students looked at in this lesson was this link here, and this went to a kids' astronomy web page about the solar system. When you click on the game, you're able to visit each of those planets, or the sun or moon, each element of the solar system that you click on. And then when you scroll down here, you'll see that it gives more information on the sun, because we clicked on the sun.

When we go back out and we scroll down further from that, we'll see that there's lots of information that the students can read about here. The solar system. How did it form? And as we go down, you'll see that this page is just full of really neat pictures. There are some videos here that they can watch, and some great photographs, and a lot of things to keep the students engaged.

When we back out of this, back to the tutorial, we go down to the second link here, which is a space kids website. And same thing, it's a lot of really great information. The teacher's wanting to really engage them further and have them go to the planets that are really interesting to them, and learn more facts than what they've already learned in class.

You can also see that there is a video on the solar system, and this video walks through-- it's an almost four minute long video, and it walks through each of the elements of the different planets and some basic information on those, as well as a solar system song.

Even though this is a group of fifth grade students, this teacher knew that these students really enjoyed music, and music was a great way for them to retain information and learn about ideas, so she chose to use a song in this tutorial as well. So students had several things that they could go through and explore, including video and a song, and then two websites that were more information that they had to read.

When they were finished exploring, students were asked to take this three question quiz over here on the right hand side to see if they retained enough information to answer some basic questions. Moving on to the classwork question of this lesson, the next class began with students involved in a class discussion about the tutorial.

The teacher guided this discussion with questions like, what do you remember about the tutorial, what did you learn, what was your favorite part, what was hard for you. So questions to really encourage that class discussion and remembering the information that they looked that.

Students were put into groups where they read and discussed questions that they had from the tutorial. Remember, they were asked to write some questions down that they had when they were finished with watching and exploring the tutorial elements. Each group was given a different planet to research, and they were asked to prepare some information to give a presentation on.

Students used the very next week in class to research their planets together using the computer lab, accessing some of the websites from the tutorial, maybe. They were encouraged to discuss the facts, but also interesting and fun information that was new to them. Presentations were to include visual, audio, and a model of their planet. So they had to do several things for their presentations.

When their presentations were completed, students presented these to their classmates. During this, however, the teacher was an integral part. She circled the room during group time to check in with each individual group's progress and make sure that everyone in the group was understanding. She pulled students aside who were having trouble, or maybe those that did not complete the homework, to have some one on one time with those students.

She checked in each group during the lab time to get a report of their progress when they were researching for their presentations. Throughout all of this, she was facilitating. She was not directing her students in their learning, but instead facilitating where their learning was going by giving them an end goal and helping them along the way by giving them resources and tools.

She was also helping students stay engaged by using guided questions to promote discussion throughout the class time. This teacher had a very important job to do, but it was not that of a traditional learning classroom. She was not directing the instruction by standing in front and lecturing on the solar system, but instead she used a flipped learning lesson to guide her students through some further understandings and learnings of the solar system so that they could use that to present as a group.

So let's review what did we learn today. We talked about what might the elements of an elementary flipped classroom look like, and I took you through a case study of a fifth grade classroom's lesson on the solar system and the planets. Thanks for joining me today, and I hope you are able to use some of these elements of flipped learning in this example in your own classroom.

Let's reflect on the ideas we've discussed in this lesson. What might the challenges be in using flipped learning in elementary classrooms? What do you think the benefits might be to using flipped learning in elementary classrooms?

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on "Flipped Learning Case Study: Elementary"


(00:00- 00:21) Introduction/objectives

(00:22- 00:51) Who were the students?

(00:52- 01:55) What were the teacher’s goals?

(01:56- 04:07) What was the homework?

(04:08- 06:42) Overview of tutorial used in homework

(06:43- 07:57) What was the classwork?

(07:58- 09:07) What was the teacher’s job?

(09:08- 10:00) Review/Reflection


Additional Resources

Flipping the Elementary Classroom

Educator Jon Bergmann gives practical advice and strategies regarding how to flip an elementary classroom. He suggests flipping a lesson rather than a class at this grade level and provides insights on how to accomplish this.

Flipped Classroom – Dellview Elementary

This video by Christina Mank shows how teachers flip their elementary classroom instruction. The teachers and students explain their process and reactions.

Classroom Innovation Spotlight: Second-grade Faux Flipped Classroom

The classroom connects blended learning with the workshop model. This video offers great insights into how to begin blending at the elementary level. The insights from the students are invaluable.