“Flipped Classroom” Program Piloted at ICES

Irvington Community Elementary School teacher Melissia Hole is piloting an innovative educational methodology in her 1st grade class known as the “flipped classroom.” This blended learning approach – students watch classroom lesson videos as homework then spend classroom time the following day working on skills applied from the lesson, often involving working with Chromebooks — is far more common in middle and high schools.  However, having a student teacher (from the IUPUI School of Education) for the first semester was “an opportunity to attempt the flipped classroom concept,” Mrs. Hole says.

She first learned about the flipped classroom at an Unconventional Classroom training in Bloomington, Ind., last August. The training was provided by Matthew Ogles, co-founder of Unconventional Classroom (www.unconventionalclassroom.com).

Eight ICES 1st grade students are currently participating (per parent approval) in the flipped classroom program. The program launched at the start of the second quarter, with students split into Reading and Math groups. “I’m getting lots of positive responses from the involved parents,” she notes.

It works like this: Mrs. Hole videotapes her whole group (entire class) lesson with her iPhone camera and posts it online in Google Classroom. The flipped classroom students watch the video at home as homework; each video is approximately 15 minutes in duration. Parents watch the videos with their children, which is essential for success due to the students’ young ages. In the classroom, during the usual whole group instruction, the flipped classroom students immediately go to work on the skills relative to the lesson watched the evening before. The idea is to streamline and accelerate learning. So far, so good.

“My Math group is already working on 2nd grade standards,” Mrs. Hole reports enthusiastically. “This is a high-achieving group of students, so they have taken nicely to the flipped classroom concept.”

Once the first semester concludes, Mrs. Hole will meet with ICES Principal Mrs. Dehner to thoroughly evaluate the program and its academic outcomes and determine whether to proceed with it for the remainder of the school year. Meanwhile, Mrs. Dehner is giving the pilot a thumbs-up. “I’m excited by the prospects for this approach,” she says. “This is a real opportunity for educational innovation in our primary grades. It is also an excellent learning tool for differentiating instruction, which can be challenging with 25 youngsters in a classroom.” Worth noting, the flipped classroom is environmentally friendly, reducing the amount of paper needed for classroom instruction.

Any ICES parent interested in learning more about the flipped classroom pilot program can contact Mrs. Hole for a link to her Google Classroom videos: mhole@ics-charter.org.