In rationalizing my procrastination of grading my projects from my last unit assessment, I have been doing quite a bit of research on the flipped classroom and what people are saying about it. I have added some great blogs that I am following that are full of information. I also was just reading this article which does a great job illustrating what really needs to go into the planning of a flipped classroom. http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/the-flipped-classroom-model-a-full-picture/
With the Khan Academy appearing on 60 minutes a few weeks ago, there seems to be increased buzz about the flipped classroom. I have gotten some great emails from some folks asking the hard questions like, "Now that I have the time in class, what do I do with it?". Taking lectures out of the classroom is only the smallest part of the flipped classroom model. Teachers really need to thoughtfully reflect on their assignments, assessments and class activities.
I know I have mentioned before that one of my rules of thumb for assessments is that the kids shouldn't be able to quickly Google all of the answers. When originally making the thematic plans for the year, I made sure that I chose a variety of types of assessments: some are presentational, some are interpersonal. They are equally divided between written and speaking. In benchmark assessments, I require students to use the vocabulary and grammatical concepts. I don't ask them to regurgitate a list or just conjugate in verb boxes. I always try to incorporate higher level thinking questions from the culture in the unit. For example, I might ask 1. What was the major reason for the Spanish Civil War? but I also ask 2. Why do you think that is important? or 3. How did that effect the rest of the world? or 4. Do you think the Spanish Civil War impacted our world today and why?
Fun is important, but it does need to be relevant. There is nothing students like more than skits. We just did some quick ones for the detective unit and they were great. They were the kids applying what they have learned, and isn't that what we want as teachers? We also played CLUE. The kids couldn't say anything except in Spanish, and although the kids were pretty quiet for a while, they couldn't stay that way for the entire game and soon the Spanish was flowing.
I am always looking for new ideas and activities, and I am always looking for ways to improve. For all my new readers, please add comments, send me an email. If there is one thing all the research has shown me is that teachers need to work together toward the common goal......creating thinkers, not just passing out diplomas.