For our last quick unit of the semester, my Grade 9 geometry class had an Algebra Review unit. The idea is to return to the algebra concepts introduced in Grade 8 in preparation for Algebra II in next year.
I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of spending four days in class rehashing factoring and inequalities, so when I needed to fly home for several days in the middle of the unit on family business, it seemed a natural call to flip the classroom and have the students learn (or re-learn) the content on their own, with support from me when I returned.
I set up the students with the Google Document below, which lays out their responsibilities over the four work periods and gives them video resources linked to each page assigned from their workbook.
How well did my experiment work? There were mixed results. From my observations on returning, many students seemed to flourish, able to do work in class without interruption and learn at their own pace rather than waiting for the class to catch up to them. Most students had issues with factoring quadratics of the form ax2 + bx + c through grouping but seemed to get the other concepts. However, my traditionally struggling students continued to struggle, and some were even more lost at sea without the life-raft of the teacher’s instruction. The feedback from my substitute teacher confirmed this: most students were on-task, doing work and reaching out to use the resources provided, while some had little or no focus and did not progress through the unit as planned.
I evaluated the unit in two ways: first, by collecting and marking (for both completion and partial correctness) the work package and second by having a traditional unit test. I anticipate that some students may have simply copied work on the package, so this was only worth half as much as the unit test. I considered having a unit assignment as well but decided against it due to the tight schedule and my inability to be there introducing the assignment.
I’m not sure at this point whether I will repeat my flipped classroom experience in future years; however, I know that if I do, I want to be much more present to support students through their learning. If I can intervene with off-task and struggling students much sooner than I was able to this year, I think there is a chance that they will still take ownership of their learning and even exceed what they could achieve in a traditional unit.