Flipping the Elementary Math Classroom

Last Spring, after flipped classroom proponent Alan November visited my school, I briefly experiment with a “light” version of the flipped classroom. Rather than teaching my 3rd graders entirely through video, I introduced new content and skills in class and then created homework tutorials to assist students who needed extra help. By the end of the year, my students were creating tutorials of their own.

As I wrote in the Spring, the videos went over well with my students, and this school year I was keen to experiment further with the flipped class model for math. As an IB Primary Years Program school, we attempt to integrate as much math as possible into our units of inquiry. We also use the “Everyday Math” curriculum, however, and I thought the step-by-step nature of the program’s computational algorithms lent themselves well to video lessons.

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At the beginning of the school year, I still stuck with the homework tutorial model. Here’s an example of the videos students have been watching:

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Last week, however, I had the perfect opportunity to try to teach entirely through video: Typhoon Day! We learned around 10 AM that school for the following day would be cancelled due to the approaching typhoon. We also were getting ready to learn two new algorithms, so when my students went to Art class, I created two longer-than-usual tutorials. My students were supposed to watch and learn during their day off:

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Both algorithms were completely new to my students, so as soon as they returned , I was eager to see how thoroughly they learned from the videos. For the easier addition method, the entire class figured it out from the tutorial alone. For the more complicated subtraction algorithm, about 75% of the class was fine, and the remaining 25% needed more assistance.

The reaction from students was also positive, so I will keep experimenting with flipped learning throughout this school year. For my next two blog posts, I will discuss some unplanned benefits of posting the videos, and I will also explain exactly how I made the tutorials.

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2 Responses to Flipping the Elementary Math Classroom

  1. Wow, what a great progression of a flipped classroom and a progression of your video lessons. My daughter is in 3rd grade at ICS Addis so I’m going to show her the tutorials and see what she thinks. Are you sharing these lessons with parents? I find that EDM teaches differently than “when we were in school” and it would be very helpful for parents to watch these tutorials to see how the teacher is teaching. Thanks!

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  2. Hi Jeff, I really enjoyed watching the videos you have created for your 3rd grade class. They are a great way to share strategies with parents and a valuable resource which can be re-visited as and when required. The annotations help tremendously. The videos reminded me of one of the articles we had recently read in course 1 on ‘open content’ from the 2013 Horizon Report Technology Adoption Trends link to nmc.org
    Isn’t this a perfect example!

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