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Flipped learning: homework in class and class lessons at home

May 3, 2016

In a typical classroom, students learn a lesson in class and then take an assignment home to practice that lesson. But what wouldGeorge L Cooke teacher Tara Komatz works with students in a flipped learning setting happen if that scenario were flipped around? According to one teacher in the Monticello Central School District, great things.

Tara Komatz, who teaches fourth grade at George L. Cooke Elementary School, has been a pioneer in the district with her early adoption of the “flipped learning” method of instruction that she uses during her math instructional period. Ms. Komatz creates a six to ten-minute video of each lesson plan which students watch at home, or during their morning time, using the Schoology app, and students then use the classroom time to work on assignments related to that lesson with Ms. Komatz.

During the 70 minute math instructional period, students are split into three small groups and Ms. Komatz spends 20 minutes with each small group. The groups are created based upon students’ performance, so that each group’s assignment is tailored to their needs. One group will work on more advanced math concepts, another will hone in on the current lesson and another will work on more remedial concepts. When the groups are not working directly with Ms. Komatz, each student works on an individual worksheet.

“In this setup, I am able to spend twenty minutes of almost individualized instruction time with each student,” Ms. Komatz said. “I can clarify any misunderstandings rapidly, so that no student falls behind.”

Student Trinity Tavares watches a lesson on the Schoology appThere’s a two-minute transition time in between group study, and the session ends with an “exit ticket” exercise, which measures students’ understanding of the day’s lesson.

Ms. Komatz learned about the flipped learning method from Lisa Jamin, a technology integrator from Sullivan BOCES. Ms. Komatz has been utilizing this style of learning since mid-November, and according to her, the results have been staggering.

“The module tests have improved rapidly since we began flipped learning,” Ms. Komatz said. “The students performed better on their module five tests, which covers more difficult fractions and decimals, than they did on their module one tests which covers addition and subtraction.”

Parents and students have both been praising the flipped learning method.

“Flipped learning is great and the videos Ms. Komatz uploads are very helpful because I can rewind the video and watch parts of it again if I’m not understanding it,” Trinity explained. “I can’t rewind Ms. Komatz.”

“If you don’t understand something, Ms. Komatz will stop right there and say ‘where did I lose you?’” fourth-grade student Indyah Pellot said. “When we do the flipped classroom, she’ll sometimes add special effects to the video to make it even more interesting. She’s really awesome.”