Flipping a classroom may sound dangerous, but it’s all in a days work for Union High School math teacher Donna Krull.
Krull, as well as several other secondary teachers in the Union School District highlighted “Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: The Changing Face of Classroom Instruction,” during the school board meeting Wednesday night.
“This year, and for the last several years, we’ve really been going through a lot of transition with the way that we do instruction and the way that we’re adjusting the roles of teachers as more of a facilitator of learning and looking at ways to increase the level of rigor and the complexity of what we’re doing in our classrooms,” said Dr. Justin Tarte, director of curriculum and support services.
So far, Krull only flips her Algebra II classroom, but hopes to expand the teaching method to her geography and Algebra 2A classes.
The flip involves the teacher videotaping her classroom lesson, similar to how they would present it in class, and then posting it online. Watching the classroom lecture is assigned as homework.
The following day, what would typically be assigned as homework is done as their classroom activity.
“That allows me to give them higher depth of knowledge questions and allows me to put more rigor into my assignments,” Krull said. “They also have me there as a facilitator if they get stuck, whereas if I had given them those higher questions to do at home, they would just be stuck.”
Additionally, if students are absent — even if they’re not in her class — they can watch the videos and stay caught up in class.
First-year teacher Dustin Klenke, who teaches physics, biology and physical science, spoke to the board about increasing critical thinking in his classroom, mainly through asking “why” questions, or not letting an answer go without justification, and building analogies relevant to the students lives.
Matthew Huber, a first-year geography and contemporary issues teacher, spoke about digging deeper into subjects to have better content knowledge.
Another instructor, Jeff Sheltron, talked to the board about how the brain develops and how important it is to encourage critical thinking.
“This is our window to encourage that critical thinking, asking why to everything, because once that’s in place, established and enforced, that’s going to carry through to the rest of their lives,” he said.