Flipping The Classroom: First Week Complete

Just a few notes about the past week’s flipping the classroom trial:


After the first night of homework (watch two videos and write a short reflection about each on a Google Doc) I did my first check. After absentees (realised I will have to be much more on top of absentees with this methodology) only 50% had completed their homework. This took a few minutes to check, make a spreadsheet to keep track of homework completion, and obviously time has to be spent on follow up and consequences/rewards. This will be new for me, as often the nature of the work is ‘work on task’ so it is incredibly difficult to check homework. Is it worth it is the question? With consistency and persistence I think it is. Not only for my understanding of their application to work, but their development of their work ethic and consistent application to understanding the set work. After the shock of knowing they’d have to stay in Friday lunch to make up the time they should have spend on work, 95% did their homework the next night. This dropped with the Friday homework session to 68%.


During the week the headphones I’d ordered online arrived, and they seem to be working. It is definitely worthwhile having a set on hand if students are expected to watch videos and not disrupt each other.

Quality of Reflections

Students have been expected to watch videos for homework and reflect on what they’ve seen. As we’ve worked through their responses in class, and followed this up with group activities on what constitutes and effective presentation, I’ve seen a sharp increase in the quality of their reflections – moving from summaries of the content of the performances to analyses of their delivery. This means that the substance of what they’re doing for homework has steadily improved with the complementary class activities.

Time With Students

The big question is did I spend more time with students in class than usual, as that is the primary reason I am trialling this. While not a huge difference yet, definitely yes. I spend most of Friday’s double going from group to group helping them improve the quality of their responses to the set group work, explaining to them how they needed to cover less points in more specific depth.


Flipping The Classroom Begins

My first step in flipping the classroom begins. This blog post is to chronicle what I’ve done differently for my own records, for those interested in trying it out, and to remind me what it was like being a beginner at this (I say optimistically). PS – Is it just me, or does anyone else have an image like below come to mind when they hear the term flipping the classroom? Problem is other terms, backwards teaching, reverse teaching, etc, aren’t much better!


CC0 1.0 Universal License

I’ve chosen one unit for one class (see Snap Judgment Unit for Year 10s here). On the unit page I have spent more time than I normally would structuring the students’ wiki page so that it is easier for them to follow. I also ‘test drove’ it by having a student look at the page and give feedback on the ease of navigation. To make it all more obvious, I put used a colour coding system, and gave this explanation at the top of the page: Links are in blue (followed links in purple). Information is in black. Instructions are in green. Headings and accented information are in brown.

I deliberately chose this unit as there was prepared video material I wanted students to watch (to give them inspirational examples for their performance poetry). This avoided the incredibly time consuming making of videos (and turned out to be great, as I discovered my copy of Camtasia didn’t work with my updated operating system and I’m sorting that out!).

When introducing the unit today, the main thing I did differently was briefly explain was flipping the classroom was and why I was trying it out. It was a fairly minimal explanation as I find students at my school are receptive to new methodologies and aren’t too interested in underlying pedagogical practices. I asked the students to identify a crucial potential problem with the approach, and was impressed when one immediately said, “Students have to do their homework or they’re stuffed.” He was absolutely right, and it has been a key difference in my unit planning and resulted in the following pattern:

  1. Classwork
  2. Homework
  3. Check homework next lesson

1. The classwork now incorporates a lot more one on one time with students because of the flipping methodology. Eg an instruction in one lesson plan reads, ‘ Work on draft. I help student individually with creating their draft.’ 2. I had to completely rethink what I set for homework. It had to be something students could access and easily watch/read/listen to and understand without me there. The goal was to remove passive receiving of information from class and set it for homework. 3. Homework is usually ‘work on assignment’ so I’ve never found it practical to consistently and accurately check it, but now it’s finite tasks and I have to plan ways to check they are done. Eg one lesson starts: Nearpod quiz on Emilie Zoey Baker’s blog post.

Another factor that is not an issue with my cohort, but could potentially be for others, is access to ICT and the internet. For any of my plans to work it has to be an ICT enhanced classroom and students need access to the internet at home. For more on this see Jarrod Johnson’s presentation.


Flipping The Classroom

Flipping The Classroom

Flipping The Classroom

I am about to flip. While yes reports and exams are looming it’s not the ‘go crazy’ flip but the educational methodology flip. I am now feeling confident enough with online learning tools environments to try ‘flipping the classroom’. To prepare intellectually I made it the focus of my last two assignments my Masters in Teacher Librarianship, and to prepare emotionally I have been looking at inspiring role models around the world. I also went to a workshop about it at the SAETA conference by Jarrod Johnson recently. I’m set to go, and yet I’m pausing.

I think the hesitation is due to the fact I’m aware it is a huge investment of time and energy, and a complete restructure of my role as an educator. Even though I have gradually been moving away from content delivery mechanism to learning facilitator, flipping is a whole other level. Content delivery appeals to the ‘control freak’ in me, and learning facilitator is making me trepidatious.

I just have to take a deep breath and jump. I did one small thing that I have been scared to try last night – online clothes shopping. While I’m feeling brave, it’s time to start planning some flipping for Term 3.

Have you flipped?

The Deification Of Youth

Saw a great snippet of Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show on Upworthy (finding this a great place for viral sites and videos that actually have substance) about the deification of youth in advertising and the damage it causes.

This is a great explanation that touches on the damage caused by this focus. There seems to be an increasing number of videos on the internet that demonstrate the ridiculous of the expectations of beauty and youth set in adverts, and I’ve included two below (the Dove Evolution video popular).

There is an increasing need to give our girls real inspirational models (love this photographer’s work on giving her daughter ‘real’ women to look up to). Just compare the range of lego my five year old has been given for her fifth birthday (see below) with a classic advert for lego from 1981 that’s doing the rounds of the internet at the moment (below that). The progress for women that has been made in western cultures seems to be subverted by the deification of youth plus the incorporation of sexual attractiveness in most advertising.

New sexualised femininity in lego products.

New sexualised femininity in lego products.

1981 - when lego was about fun and creativity for girls, not sexualised stereotypes.

1981 – when lego was about fun and creativity for girls, not sexualised stereotypes.

I feel a great need to buy my daughter some old school, fully creative lego and bin the directed, gender stereotyped, sexualised kit she’s been given. I also wonder, like Ellen DeGeneres, whether advertising has a key role in regressing the advancements toward equality we have made.

Not convinced, just take a look at the new, improved, flirtatious, curvy representations of old toys for girls in this article from the Huffington Post. Terrifying is my adjective of choice. As this post has digressed into an attack on how girls or represented in our culture, I had to add this video about how ‘like a girl’ is used as an insult:

Horror Fiction – English Assignment Brought to Ghoulish Life

Death & Dismay – Horror Fiction Fundraiser

Front CoverHello, and a warm hello to anyone who’s come here from hearing my students on ABC radio. I went to Sunrise Children’s Orphanage in Nepal in November to volunteer, and am doing a fundraiser to further contribute to their fantastic organisation. I decided to combine this with an idea I’ve had for a long time, which is to create a professional publication of Year 12 English Communication students’ narratives.

We have created the horror fiction collection Death & Dismay. It includes 27 chilling tales all told within 1000 words (SACE word limit), so it’s the perfect pick up put down read. The cover art is also by one of the Year 12 students (pictured above). It’s perfect bound, A4 size, and copies are $17. So if you’re looking for a collection of example narratives for your students, love horror fiction, or know someone who does, grab a copy! 100% of profits will go to Sunrise Children’s Orphanage.

To get a copy go to:

  • stjohnspayment.com.au/events.php
  • Put your postal address in Family ID
  • Select English Short Stories in Event
  • Cost is $17 (includes postage cost)
  • Email me at rhunt@stjohns.sa.edu.au to let me know.
  • A copy will be posted to you.

Thankyou for your support of this fundraiser!

Demo Post For New Newbies

Type away in here about something that is obvious to you but may be amazing or at least helpful to others. Or it’s just a way for you to explore something new. Such as the new film, Something New. Now you have a hyperlink! : )

Here’s a lame something new, embedding from YouTube.

Here’s a good something new, embedding from Ted.

Just an image of something new. : )

Just an image of something new. : )

Celebrating Student Work

Celebrating Student Work

Publicly celebrating student work in English is sometimes challenging. English essays don’t have the same pizzazz as Drama performances. English narratives don’t have the same visual appeal of Art exhibitions. English orals just aren’t as engaging as Music concerts. But, I had a light bulb moment this year. Here was the formula:

Read a terrible horror fiction collection in the holidays in preparation for the horror fiction unit I was doing with my Year 12s – it was terrible!
The Year 12s’ work was much better than the published collection.
Looking for a way to fundraise for a orphanage I am going to in Nepal in November.
Professional publication of a horror fiction narrative collection!

Of my 35 Year 12s 27 volunteered their story for the collection, and with some editing, use of a Year 12’s Art project for the cover, and printing from Print Matters, voila! I fantastic celebration of their amazing stories in a way that has pizzazz, visual appeal, and is engaging. Here’s the front cover (right side is front, left side is back when printed):

Horror Fiction Narrative Collection Cover

Horror Fiction Narrative Collection Cover

It will be great to have a tangible and professional result that the students can be proud of. What have you done to publicly acknowledge student work? Would love more ideas!

Completely Unrelated!

Out of curiosity, wondering if any of you have tried Tapout? By the time I’ve finished work, got home, done dinner etc, and got my daughter to bed it’s 7:30 – too dark to go jogging, and I’m too tired to then go out to the gym. So we bought Tapout and we’re loving it. Just chuck it in when our daughter’s in bed. We don’t know anyone else who’s given a go though!

Entering the world of Podcasts! (Need help.)

In danger of sounding like the smug teenager in the Uncle Toby’s oats commercial (below) who arrogantly assumes her discovery is new per se because it’s new for her, I have just discovered podcasts! I was becoming frustrated with radio because I hate commercial stations, love Triple J but it’s being repetitive at the moment, and apologies to any AM fans but I find it just too boring. I’ve also just moved house and reduced my drive to 20 minutes. Join these facts this with loving TED videos but never having time for them, listening to podcasts has been born!

And so far I love listening to them. Yesterday I listened to Emmanuel Jal discuss life after being a child solider, music, and his hopes for Africa’s future. Today I listened to Ken Robinson hit the nail on the head in discussing the drawbacks of standardised testing and the direction education would be better heading. (Both are below.) I can see this can revolutionise my drives to work!

While this is all fantastic, in the spirit of the usual time poor teacher I would love some help. Firstly, I’ve signed up to Ted and TedEd via the podcast app on my iPhone, but it plays the video and thus chews up a lot of megabytes. Any suggestions of a better way so vodcasts are solely podcasts on the podcast App? Also, what are some great podcasts to sign up for? (My foci are English, education, Media Studies.) Thanks. ♥

New Bloggers to the Blogging World + more

Today I ran my second e-portfolio training session, so now have a large interconnected network of staff at this school. The challenge now will be to maintain momentum and provide incentives for them to keep going with it. I’ve been so impressed with the quality of the blogs and the amazing resources everyone has to share, super exciting! Thanks to George Couros for coming to Adelaide and getting this started. Here are St John’s’ brand new bloggers:

Ian     Fliss     Carolyn     Deb     Carlee     Brendan     Amy     Dawn

Thanks again to Col for his help, Ian and Billsy for helping it happen, and Julie and the canteen for feeding us! 🙂

Keep on blogging!

Keep on blogging!

One tool I’m loving even though it’s superficial, is memes. I’ve mentioned them before, but have found this great site documenting the history of the ‘grumpy cat’ phenomenon, which is great for teaching Media students about viral media.

A fantastic resource I’ve been directed to is English For The Australian Curriculum. It provides units of work aligned to the Australian Curriculum for particular year levels. I need to take the time to explore this properly, eg found some great material to add to my ethos unit.