Moving Forward With Flipped Learning in 2020

Editors Features January 20 / January 27, 2020

 – Peter Santoro –

Happy New Year, everyone! With the dawning of a new year, I always find myself full of hope and optimism for the future. A colleague here at FLGI, Kathy Swanger, tossed a challenge out to some of us: 20 in 2020. The object was to choose 20 things you wanted to focus on in 2020. Some items were professional and some were personal. There was also a checkbox next to each item on the list so that you can keep track of your accomplishments throughout the year. What was unique about Kathy’s challenge was that she shared her list and asked for help in accomplishing all the items on her list. I created my own list (although I did “borrow” some items on her list that pertained to me as well) and I shared it with Kathy. 

When I saw this month’s theme about looking at the year ahead with Flipped Learning, I was so glad I took the time to put together my “list of 20.” The more personal items on my list include typical items such as eat healthier, exercise more, and something I used to do and received a lot of pleasure from (but stopped due to lack of time): start playing music again. I haven’t played the piano in years, so I had it tuned and I’ve started playing a little every day. I just have to have the discipline to be consistent throughout the year.

Moving ahead in 2020

I have several professional goals that I am excited to share:

    • Get better at empowering my students. Over the past six years that I have been flipping my classes, I have seen my students take more responsibility for their learning. Last school year, with Dan Jones’ help and advice, I started doing Project-Based Learning in two units of instruction in Introductory Calculus. I watched my students explore, work in groups, and refine their intellectual curiosity. When they had to demonstrate their learning, it was fun to watch them decide exactly how to accomplish this assignment. My students told me they had never been given a choice before, so they struggled with the decision-making process. Once they decided how to present their learning, they felt empowered and did a marvelous job. This year I want to build on that and empower them even more. I am now incorporating more inquiry learning techniques to help develop their intellectual curiosity and give my students more choice about their learning.
    • Build the self-esteem and knowledge level of my students. In my experience, this is a two-phased approach: Empowering students helps build their self-esteem (they reported this to me themselves), and it also results in them learning more. It is interesting that once they believe they can learn, they actually learn even more! The other technique that helps build self-esteem is Mastery Learning. Once students master a topic, it gives them the confidence to learn more and take more responsibility for their learning and education. This year I am going to implement Mastery Checks in varying formats instead of just 5-question, short little quizzes. I plan on doing one-on-one conversations to assess their level of Mastery. Another idea I have is to have my students decide how they want to demonstrate their Mastery of individual skills/topics in Calculus. I want them to build on their empowerment and show me that they are taking even more ownership of their education.
    • Connect with more educators through FLGI. I have been contributing to Flipped Learning Review magazine for many months now. I remember writing my first article and what a daunting task it seemed at the time. Writing does not come naturally for me. In the subsequent months, I have found my “voice,” and I look forward to the feedback I receive from some of the FLGI subscribers who read my articles each month. Flipped Learning will spread as more teachers share the passion of Reaching Every Student, in every class, every day.
    • The 3.0 Exchange is a way for teachers to get started with Flipped Learning in an easier way than “starting from scratch.” The lessons and units of instruction offered are from certified Flipped Learning educators. I have not yet participated in that, but I look forward to doing that in the coming weeks. When I speak with teachers, they tell me that the biggest “barrier to entry” for them is TIME! With the 3.0 Exchange, teachers can focus on implementing Flipped Learning without the burden of how to deal with the content as well.

Looking ahead at 2020

In my own small corner of the Flipped Learning world in 2020, I see exciting times ahead.

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work remotely with some math teachers in Houston. Jon Bergmann asked me to spend some time with these teachers. They had flipped their classes, and they were looking for some group space activities to reinforce the flipped lessons. These teachers were so open to my suggestions. They really wanted what was best for their students and their learning. I look forward to working with teachers everywhere.  

In September, my own school district implemented a new approach to Professional Development, FlexPD. This new approach allows teachers to choose the Professional Development sessions they want to attend and which are relevant to them and their needs. In addition, most of the PD is given by the faculty. Another teacher and I have given two one-hour sessions, one specifically for high school teachers and another geared to elementary and middle school teachers, entitled: Why you should flip your class? Three weeks after each of these meetings, we conducted a more hands-on, two-hour session, on exactly how to start flipping your class. My colleague and I flipped all of these sessions, and they were a great success. I see interest in Flipped Learning grow much more this school year than at any point in the past. Parents are now starting to send emails in praise of Flipped Learning to my principal and the superintendent of schools. The momentum is starting to shift as more teachers express interest. Colleagues stop me in the halls to ask questions about my students’ progress. Students talk, parents talk, my school administration is talking, and things are starting to move forward with Flipped Learning. I see a great deal of progress for 2020.

If anyone wants to follow me on Twitter: @peter_santoro

Peter Santoro
Peter Santoro
I have been teaching High School Mathematics for 12 years. This is the fifth year I am “Flipping” and my third year with Flipped Mastery. In addition to two sections of Introductory Calculus, I also teach one section of Geometry and two sections of Mathematics Research Honors. In addition, I am the coach of the Garden City High School Math Team (Mathletes). I am a Founding Member of the FLGI International Faculty as well as an FLGI Master Teacher and a member of the FLGI Insanely Smart Panel on the innovative uses of class time.

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