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The Best Way to Start a Flipped Class

This past Spring, I saw something new. I visited Kirk Humphries’ 7th grade Flipped Math class in Deerfield, Illinois and I was blown away with how he started his flipped class. Most flipped class teachers start out class by either answering questions from the flipped video, or by having students do a short quiz. Kirk did neither of those.

Instead, Kirk asked students to summarize the video. He sat in the back of the class and let the students take charge. The first student got up and grabbed a whiteboard marker and discussed what he learned. After a short time another student raised his hand. The first student tossed the marker to the second student, who began to share. Then another student asked a question. The whole class turned to Mr. Humphries and hoped he would answer. Instead, Kirk threw it back at the class and asked if any of them had an idea about how to answer the student’s question. Up jumps another student who took the lead and helped out the kid with the question. For ten minutes I sat in amazement at how well a group of thirteen-year-old students discussed math. It was magical.

For the rest of the class students worked on questions using a variety of surfaces. Some stood at the board, others had their own whiteboards and others worked on paper. It was one of the best flipped classes I have ever seen. After the class started I asked Kirk if he had any videos of those first few minutes and lo and behold, he did. So I encourage you to watch this process.  

I also shot some video of the in class activities and posted it below. Stay tuned for a Flip Side Radio episode with Kirk where you can hear more from him about this innovative practice.

Now it is your turn: when you start your flipped class, don’t just answer questions, have students summarize the flipped video.  

4 Responses

  1. Adam

    My son has the good fortune to be in Mr. Humphries 6th grade advanced math class this year. He is a 5th grader and goes to the middle school for math. For the first time in two years my son finally is excited about math at school. In the last few years he would come home saying “we are reviewing topics I already know”. Although all the topics my son has studied this year are not new he feels this liberation and excitement again about math in school. Maybe it is because he is now captain of his own destiny, maybe it is because he can work at his own pace, or maybe he now feels he has some competition from his more advanced fellow classmates. Whatever the reason it is great to see a teacher and methodology that empowers students to reach for the stars. My son as a 5th grader set his goal to finish 8th grade math with Mr. Humphries this year and that will keep him motivated. We have an additional challenge in that we travel three hours a day, five days a week, to soccer practice. His flipped classroom being internet accessible lends itself perfectly for taking advantage of our daily travels and lindependant learning. My son can get far enough ahead that when he takes off weeks at a time for out of state soccer tournaments and training his academic progress does not suffer. Thanks to the creator and innovators in a great learning structure my son has finally found his place in math at school.

    1. Jon Bergmann

      Adam. Thanks for taking time to respond. Mr Humphries is a great teacher and I am thrilled that flipped classrooms are working so well for your son.

  2. Jonathan Lillie

    I have found that beginning the class recapping the prior night’s video IS the best way to begin the class as well! I found that when I was not doing this, I was inadvertently assuming they did not have any questions on last night’s video. Having a student come up and explain what is happening in each slide/section of my video and passing the “baton” with each stopping point/slide change is the way I am running it right now. Great post!

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