Northeast Tarrant

In Carroll’s ‘flipped’ classrooms, lectures become homework

Special to the Star-Telegram

Students in Jessica Valles’ Algebra 2 class at Carroll High School give good reviews to her approach of flipping the classroom instruction.

Instead of listening to a lecture in class and working 20 to 30 problems on a worksheet at home, students watch a video lesson for homework and use class time to practice what they’ve learned.

Videos are typically around ten minutes long, not including pauses to answer five questions embedded in the lesson. On the days videos are assigned, students have no other homework.

“I really like it,” said Rachael Sullivan, a sophomore. “If you have questions on a concept you learned the night before, you can ask about it the next day.”

Classmate Hunter Martindale said, “The homework is so much more engaging. Other teachers send you home with 30 questions. She walks you through the material and gives you examples. I’ve learned so much more in math this year.”

Valles uses her Promethean Board, an interactive whiteboard that can incorporate computer text and video files, along with a teacher’s handwritten notes on the board. It records her voice while she goes through the lesson, showing whatever she writes as she works through each problem.

Edpuzzle is a site that allows custom editing of videos, along with the ability to add questions. The site shows how much of the video a student watches, along with the score the student received on the embedded questions. Valles can see if some sections were watched multiple times.

Students get their daily grades by averaging the percentage of the video they watched and the score they received on the questions. They are expected to take notes during each video to use later in class.

Valles said a big advantage of the process is being able to watch how students complete problems in class. She varies how they practice what they are learning to keep kids engaged, so sometimes it’s a game or a quiz on their phones. Last Wednesday, students were using calculators to solve equations and hitting a buzzer when their small group had the answer. If anyone had any questions, she would show how to work through the problem.

During any practice session, Valles checks to make sure students understand.

“I don’t just ask if they have questions, I can walk around and see if someone is having trouble,” she said.

This is the third full year Valles has flipped instruction. She has become so adept that she trains other teachers, not just in the Carroll school district but across the country.

The method is spreading to many Carroll math and science classrooms at the secondary level.

Matt Miller, assistant superintendent for administrative services and the former principal at Carroll Middle School, said that a number of CMS science teachers flip the classroom. Because students watch instructional videos at home, teachers can conduct more labs and hands-on activities during class.