Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Planning my first Flip - PARENTS!

With so much chat coming out of  ISTE this summer about 'Flipped' classrooms, and after reading Mary Beth Hertz's (@mbteach) recent blog about the Pros and Cons of Flipping , I thought I would begin to plan my first Flip - Parents at Back To School Night!

Now if the premise of a 'Flipped' classroom is to get the concept of the lesson in front of students the night before, with follow up and more time for hands on learning, why not plan on engaging parents early in the year with a 'Flipped' video for them to view prior to Back to School Night?  If I can get all of the policies about homework, projects, acceptable use, and some background about myself out early, then I should have more time for parents to engage in some activities at Back to School Night, where time is at a premium.  More on what I plan for the big night later.

Granted, I don't know who my kids are, what access they or their parents may have to the internet, but why not start some serious planning now, so that when September comes, I will be ready!

The objective of the video has several components;
1.  Introduce myself, Education and teaching background, plus a few personal items.
2.  Take a Walk - Literally walk around the classroom with the video camera and show parents where 
     certain items are located, their purpose, and how/when students may participate.  For example, I 
     have a 'Week At A Glance' segment of my board so that students can see where we are headed      
     each week.  Thought it might be a good dinner conversation if a parent would ask, "What things are
     coming up this week?"
3.  Book Display - Share with parents copies of our textbooks and classroom library.
4.  Homework, grading, project, and acceptable use of technology policy.  Both orally and then in written 
     form.
5.  Model log in procedures and demonstrate how to navigate both our Moodle and Edmodo sites.

Whew!  Looks like a lot of info to get out in a short 7-10 minute video.  Hope my editing skills have not atrophied!

Now for the Big Night!  I have several activities that I would like to engage parents with during our time together.
1.  Assess each parent on their ability to access both our Moodle and Edmodo sites to assure that they
     know their child's password and login names.  Perhaps a brief scavenger hunt to monitor their ability to
     navigate the sites.
2.  Blog Comments.  With hopefully a few minutes available, I want parents to respond to their child's
     blog via our class kidblog.org site.  Again, monitoring that each parent can access and knows how to
     post a comment on what their child has written.  Maybe the student can describe what they think their
     parents sixth grade year was like, and the parents can reply with the real deal?!
3.  SmartBoard Interaction - I am still amazed at how many parents come into the room and are deftly
     afraid to even touch the thing!
4.  TWITTER!  Discuss and demonstrate how to follow our class on Twitter!

So there's the plan.  Feeling kind of excited about it.  I'm sure that the plan will change in some aspects between now and then, but the thought of getting parents engaged early with the technology we will be using all year has a ton of merit.  Now this may not be the exact definition of a 'Flipped Classroom' according to Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann, but my concept of  a 'Flip Lesson' will be something that I hope to pursue more of this year, as I see need for my students, and what better way for parents to obtain a grasp, then by asking them to participate?

Look forward to your ideas on how to improve my plan!