Buoyed by the confidence of the ‘flipped’ class results I have started the new academic year with fresh ideas for my classroom activities. These five examples were relatively well received by students.
1. ASK TEACHER
Having already assessed their holiday work 16-year-old students were asked to take part in a little experiment. They were allowed to ask any question they wanted of the teacher so long as they passed a Socrative quiz halfway through the lesson and completed an exit ticket.
To help the lesson flow all students were asked to write three questions down on separate pieces of paper and they were themed to ensure a modicum of value – Education, Specific to Holiday Work and Anything Goes. Questions were then pulled out of a hat and discussed in groups or with individuals as appropriate.
There were obvious ‘booby traps’ along the way but it allowed students to ask anonymous questions of the holiday work and indeed the school year ahead. It also prompted a discussion on values and expectations. With so much content already covered before they stepped into class, I felt confident that this twist on an old ‘icebreaker’ favourite was fit for purpose. They all passed the quiz!
2. GENIUS BAR
Via Edmodo the students were assigned a small section of a topic for which they were to become a genius. They were told that they would be running a Genius Bar for that section but not how the lesson would take form. Put simply we then had a carousel of communication where half the class ran their Genius Bar to individuals and then swapped over. I acted as a customer to assess their learning and appropriately praised each Genius! There were even phone calls home.
3. GUESS THE LEARNING
One group of students were feeling particularly satisfied with their first piece of work and so were asked to guess the learning objective that was in a sealed envelope from the start of the lesson. In groups of three they were asked to complete small tasks that ranged from puzzle solving to linking famous athletes to theories. The prize on offer was one they all wanted (Haribo) and they had one guess at the learning intention of the lesson that was in the envelope. Word for word correct earned two bags of sweets or one bag for the closest answer.
What this lesson actually enabled me to do was to communicate with every student who I felt needed guidance after their first piece of work and we used their tasks as a prompt for those discussions.
4. TEN QUESTIONS
The first extended writing lesson was focused by the fact that the class could only ask ten questions of the teacher in the entire hour. Students had slightly different titles depending on ability, so had to communicate with each other to decide what questions to ask. My side of the bargain was to make sure I answered honestly the questions that they chose. I was only allowed to use a maximum of three sentences for my answer.
An unexpected outcome of this lesson was that I observed those, who I thought communicated well with their peers, actually struggle to make decisions. This will help in the coming weeks and certainly changed my impression of a few of the students.
5. KING OF THE COURT
Put very simply this game is played like a knock out quiz tournament. The students had to pre-prepare questions that they would challenge their peers with. Each individual had to have twenty short answer questions and five more detailed queries. Any student who was knocked out of the competition then became a quizmaster. Students could only use a question once and any duplication meant automatic disqualification.
The real benefit for me was that I could hear and assess students understanding whilst they interacted with their classmates. It also allowed for any controversial decisions to be discussed which lead to the content being questioned further. One debate did lead to a split vote to which they deferred to their iPads. Needless to say the loser wasn’t happy.
These lesson ideas have been used by many of my colleagues in the past and have all proved very successful. It just feels different as I have the safety blanket of content delivered outside the classroom. I feel more relaxed with the assessment that is going on in school and I feel more comfortable with challenging myself and the students in lesson time.
It is safe to say I’ve never spoken to so many students on a one-to-one basis and it feels good to be able to help individuals on such a regular basis without booking extra slots in the school day.
If you have any ‘flipped’ class ideas I would love to hear them.