Chronicles of A Mediocre Half-Flipped Classroom

Recognizing My Shortfalls

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Before I get into the nitty-gritties of my blog post for this week, I want to applaud Raquel and Curtis B for including a very important statement and acknowledgment on their blog. Thank you for reminding me to include that I am also a white settler, living on Treaty 6 land—traditional lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota, Lakota, Dakota peoples, and the homeland of the Metis/Michif Nation. Although many things have changed over the years, this land continues to be shared with diverse populations near and far, therefore, it is important to share our understandings of the land, people, and its history. Including this acknowledgment more often is something that I need to get better at and be better at.

A Flip-In Mix

Like most educators, there has been someone throughout your career journey that has set the bar high. I don’t mean like that one person that pays extra close attention in staff meetings, and nods at all of the appropriate times, or that one person that seems to always go a little extra to be recognized by the admin team. I mean that one person that discretely is so amazing at their jobs but acts like a rookie on the baseball field. Although they seem at times like lone rangers, they embody leadership, teaching not only their students but their peers as well, and always have the most tender hearts. I was lucky enough to have a mentor like this in the first part of my career.

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She is a middle year’s educational technology guru in every aspect (in my opinion and many others too). She listened to podcast after podcast, read all the newest literature surrounding the topic, and tried (with her own money) all of the new technology that she could get her hands on. After sitting on the sidelines for some time, she called me up to the starting line. We were teaching the same grade, and she had an idea about making a flipped classroom to try to balance the needs of teaching two grades in one classroom. Obviously, she told me to jump. I didn’t even hesitate to ask how high.

We created interactive videos using SmartNotebook at the time and uploaded them to YouTube using a personal account (check Dylan’s post to find out why a personal account is a good idea). We also used a green screen and had several apps that we used to turn them into videos. We wanted to make sure our eyes were as big as our stomachs, so we only bit off one subject to begin with. We chose Numeracy (math), because we found that it was the most difficult to balance our time properly between two grades in one allotted time block.

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 It was incredible. That year, we both had students that jumped on board and embraced being able to learn from home the day or week before, and then had time in the classroom to ask for clarification and to ask questions while completing their task. But let’s be honest here for a second. The way this teacher was with kids, everyone was on board all of the time (or so it seemed). It was exciting to see the kids take some control of their learning, and I guess in some respects learn at their own pace. I remember sitting back being mesmerized by all the things this teacher knew and implemented. She still amazes me to this day, and I know many others also feel this way about her.

I tried to replicate this again once she retired, and I couldn’t quite get my kids as excited about it. Maybe it was because the times were changing, a different group of kids or I was missing my mentor, years following I didn’t feel like I was getting the same results. I think a big part of it was the shift in expectations of teachers, and student priorities, but students didn’t seem to be as into it as the years prior.

However, with COVID-19 on the rise and schools closing left and right, I brought back this into my Numeracy classroom in hopes that students would be more familiar with this model before they were forced online. Some students easily picked it up, while others seem to still struggle to find the time or motivation for whatever reason. I wonder what it would be like to have Trevor’s one-to-one ratio of technology to kids in the classroom.

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Flipped classroom can also have their challenges (or so I found in my very limited experience). Some challenges I faced were:

  • Student motivation
  • Available technology and internet
  • Support at home
  • Time to make the videos and playlists/collections
  • Getting students to embrace the teaching methodology
  • Being creative and changing things up
  • Becoming stagnant
  • Student engagement


In my opinion, although there are many challenges that we are faced with in terms of Flipped Classrooms, it also comes with rich opportunities, such as, but not limited to:

  • Building stronger relationships with colleagues
  • Getting more one-on-one time with students
  • Deeper levels of understanding
  • Self-paced learning with parameters
  • Uses a different approach to learning
  • Brings out creativity
  • Helps parents/guardians with learning at home
  • Makes content to use in future years
  • Allows students to access learning wherever and whenever they want to
  • Available to watch over and over for students who need that extra time

Have Y’all Tried Flipped Teaching in your Classroom?

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Does anyone have any great computer websites or programs that would take my videos to the next level? Remember, I am a ‘Tech Wannabe’ so I may need some guidance through them. I no longer am using SmartNotebook, I have moved towards PowerPoint and uploading it to YouTube because I know it well (boring, right?). This is the perfect example of how I can learn to step outside of my comfort zone and learn something new to bring into my classroom to use with my kiddos.

If You’ve Tried It…

  • How’d it go?
  • Did/do you like it?
  • What have you tried?
  • What great tools have you used to level up your videos?
  • What advice do you have for a ‘Wannabe Techie?’

9 thoughts on “Chronicles of A Mediocre Half-Flipped Classroom

  1. First off I have to say what a great name for your blog. Your post reminded me of something I recently saw where this one teacher said she worked beside the teacher of the year who was making math videos dressed as a shark while baby shark played in the background and she taught greater than or less than. Here is the link:

    I have been lucky enough as well to work with talented people who are passionate about certain topics and it is such a great journey when you jump on and buckle up and go for the ride. I recently started using Zoom to record my screen and wevideo to edit my videos for Math and it works pretty well. Previously I used screencastify and it was not an enjoyable experience.

    My advice would be to be yourself in the videos and have your personality come through in them.

    1. Thanks for the great ideas, Curtis. I will definitely try them out. That’s an interesting way to use Zoom. I had never thought to use Zoom in that way. Also, I was excited when Alec used Zoom with breakout rooms. What a neat feature. I will have to use it in my classroom (hopefully it comes with the free version).Thanks for sharing your experiences as well. I will be sure to try some of them out in the next few weeks with my kiddos.

  2. I liked how you talked about the teacher that acts like a rookie but really they have the qualities of a starter! I swear some of the best teachers that I have learned from are ones that just go about their everyday without trying to impress others or act like the have it all figured out. I also think that mentality does not allow us to continue to grow and learn and therefore those that feel they are the best likely are not. Anyways, I loved reading about your flipped classroom. I have never tried it but am very curious to how it would work. I hope you are able to find that fire in your students again if you get the opportunity to flip things around. I know it would be very challenging to do in the school I am at as the digital divide plays a huge factor in our students ability to learn from home. I do know that we are very thankful to have our students back in the building as we were not able to engage a majority of our students through online learning. What a great post! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping in Jocelyn. I also agree. This year is more challenging as I am at a new school and the digital divide plays a tremendous factor in students being able to work remotely or to engage with technology at home as they have limited devices or none available at home. It’s also especially challenging this year because if families have more than one child and limited technology, and parents/guardians working from home, there is an extra strain on scheduling and getting time to complete homework tasks when technology is available.

      One thing I appreciated when working remotely was getting to spend some face-to-face time without all of the protocols and actually getting to see kids smile and interact together, as our class is jammed packed with little movement (for safety reasons and protocols). It’s definitely not an ‘average’ year. I hope we can all take some things away from this, and appreciate the things we were able to do before the pandemic. Thanks again for sharing, it’s very interesting to me how other people are making things work in their schools, divisions, classrooms, etc.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience Kelly. I can relate with having an incredible mentor to co-teach with and then losing them to another school or retirement and feeling so lost!! It is amazing what successful teacher collaboration can do for students within a classroom.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Tessa! Having a positive teacher collaboration experience is such a great thing to happen in one’s career. I’m glad that you were also able to share such a positive experience. Although COVID-19 protocols and teacher collaboration look a bit different, I hope that you are still able to engage in some throughout the school year. Once things are back to a new ‘normal’ maybe more people will embrace working together since we weren’t able to do it as we may have in the past. Hopefully, we can bring a few new online strategies to the table as well.

  4. Very great post Kelly Z, I can totally relate to the work that comes from a team and inspiring colleague. It makes all the difference when two heads can work together and compliment each others skills and time. I think this was likely the missing piece once your mentor retired, as I have experienced similar let downs in sport and in the classroom. As in the words of folk singer Dan Bern in his amazing song Sister, “where would Willie Mays have been without Jackie Robinson?” (Song Live: A good sidekick is an amazing thing!

    One resource for online teaching I have really come to enjoy this year is Google Jamboard. Like shared documents or slideshows you can have students view or interactively write with you. Its autodraw tools are super cool and using all types of backgrounds makes it very useful. I use it to brainstorm with students in class and online, teach hockey drills or math and am just learning its potential!
    Thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks, Dylan for the inspirational video! It was a great way to start the day. Thanks for sharing Google Jamboard. I will have to check it out. It really sounds like a neat tool to bring into the classroom to engage the students on a deeper level than the old whiteboard. I also like how you use it outside of the classroom with hockey. Shows the kiddos that the stuff they do in the classroom is also applicable to their everyday ‘real’ lives. I will have to give it a whirl this week so that I can bring it into the classroom soon! Thanks again for the tip. I love getting new ideas from people in the field.

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