Flipped classes a hit for FHS math students

danAcademic News at FHS, High School News

When adults reminisce about high school times, they rarely remember homework as one of the more fun experiences. Yet, as parents now, they understand why practice helps the fundamentals plant themselves in student brains.

Wouldn’t it have been helpful to have the teacher there when the homework was being done, to help, assist, and monitor if students understood the procedures to get to the outcome?

It happens in Jerry Linch’s AP Statistics classes at Friendswood High School and the concept of his “flipped classes,” is catching on with other teachers as well.

This is Linch’s third year with a flipped classroom. It has been quite successful as he gets to spend more time with student – teacher interaction. 

“I can quickly find my strongest and weakest students by spending more time with them as we work on their daily assessments in the classroom.  My students are grouped in tables of four and five and everyday they have a new seating assignment that is randomized by an Excel macro.  When they come in the class they look at the projector board to see where they will be sitting, eventually being shuffled with everyone in the class.  They learn to work with others they do not know,” Linch said.

His students rarely have any homework … it has now become class work.  They do have to watch a 20-minute or less video, usually two to three per week.  During the video, they have a guided note packet where they take notes.  All of the example problems are worked out on the video and very easy for them to follow and transcribe.  It is essential that they watch the videos. 

“I usually give them a quick warm-up the next day with five questions that come directly from their notes which they can use. This is real world.  I’m more interested in application than memorization,” Linch said.  They value the time and effort they place on the notes and it does hold them accountable to watching the video lesson, which presents an introduction to the material. 

Many of his students will re-watch the video for a further understanding of the material.  Those who are absent for health issues or extra curricular will never miss a lesson. 

Overall, his test scores have improved and it has been so much easier for Linch as an instructor to capture a larger range of students with the flipped classroom. 

“My students love the format, I have not had one complaint.  There was a strong parent support for this style of teaching, however there was some initial concern.  Once the parents have been educated in how the flipped classroom works, they seem to appreciate the learning environment.”

Every year Linch reevaluates what he can do to make the classroom environment better.  He did rework all of his Power Points and videos this year and was pleased with the outcome.  The investment of time is well worth it, as he will have instructional videos that will last a lifetime. 

“I’m particularly happy that I do not have to lecture several times a day.  There are no more lectures.  The time spent in the classroom now involves every student.  I am also investing some time in providing all computer based and clicker assessments.  This has been such a huge success for me saving me hours of grading and instant grade book results for my students.  Most of their assessments are done in the computer lab.  When they finish their exam, they get their results instantly with feedback.  I can directly upload these in to the grade book,” Linch said.

The videos are hosted on the FHS Moodle platform but were formerly on YouTube.

“I still get many hits from my old YouTube videos from people all over the world,” Linch said.

Algebra II and Geometry teams are also coordinating some flipped classes in their curriculums at FHS.