Flipped Classroom: It’s Not All or Nothing

When doing the readings for this week I was really drawn to the flipped classroom topic. It’s something I have been hearing about and seeing for a while, but I haven’t taken the plunge and filmed a video myself. I have given my students video content to view at home pertaining to a specific topic, but it has never taken the place of in-class instruction.

Much of what I found I was reading was useful in describing what a flipped classroom looks like and the pros and cons of doing it. One question that I kept asking myself though was “how does this work in an elementary classroom?” I am a grade 3 teacher so naturally I think about how I can implement it, and what is the probability that it would be successful with my students? I seemed to find a lot of great ways it was working in middle and upper grades but not as many lower grade examples. I began to search for answers.

The first great resource I came across is the video below from Flipped Teacher Training. The instructor outlines some of the reasons why this can be successful in a lower elementary classroom.


  1. Children will be motivated to watch a video at home of their teacher because they are likely already excited at the opportunity of using their tablet or computer.
  2. Parents can watch videos with their child and help in the learning process. It can also help them in aligning their homework help with the style of teaching the teacher uses in the video.
  3. Instead of using the videos for home use they can take the place of a center station during class time. Having a video do some teaching to small groups while others get one on one attention from the teacher is a great way to use the model.
  4. Flipping can be a huge help for teachers with limited time for certain lessons. Sometimes you just need an extra 15 minutes to really lock something down and having a video for homework can be that extra bit of time.

I saw some great examples of videos being used on YouTube to teach math concepts. The video below is a grade 4 teacher explaining adding and subtracting fractions.


After looking at some of the reasons why this can work, I thought about what would be needed in my classroom for this to be a successful integration. Firstly, I wouldn’t be flipping my classroom…..i’d be flipping certain lessons. I don’t think that fully flipping a classroom in elementary can work, but if you have an example of this I’d love to see it.

Edutopia has a great article about the “In-Class Flip.” Basically instead of flipping so videos can be watched at home, students would rotate through small groups with one group viewing that video at a time. The rest of their time is spent on other activities like independent work and group work, with some activities related to the lesson and others focusing on different course content.

The In-Class Flip would work well for my class. I find one of the big hurdles that I have when trying to integrate computer centered homework is the involvement of parents. Parents are essential to flipped learning in elementary years, and I work at an international school where many of the parents speak little to no English. While some parents have no trouble at all accessing online tools, others struggle. If there is even the possibility of one of my students missing a lesson due to lack of parent involvement, flipped learning cannot work.

So there you have it. I am going to try the in-class approach in the coming weeks and see how it goes with my students during a station. And perhaps once I have all parents familiar with the tools we are using in class this year, I will attempt a full flipped lesson.


3 comments to “Flipped Classroom: It’s Not All or Nothing”
3 comments to “Flipped Classroom: It’s Not All or Nothing”
  1. Hi Tanya, I have been a sceptic when it comes to flipped learning in the elementary classroom and have also written about it for my most recent blog post. You brought up a positive to the flipped model that I hadn’t thought about: building relationships with parents. I think this could be really effective. Not only does it allow students to share their ideas with parents, it also keeps the parents up to date on what is happening in the classroom. But I also see that hurdle of a student or two not working with mom or dad at home. This develops the relationship of those who want to get involved and highlights the issue of parents not being involved for others. And sometimes this is simply parents having a busy week and not being able to support. Homework can be a touchy situation with some families. I could also see the flip being super effective with things that I would rarely spend my one-to-one time with kids at centers, like handwriting. Any center really could benefit from having a quick video of you giving instructions that students could replay to make sure they understand the task. I’m looking forward to seeing how and what you flip. And I wonder where you think flipped learning fits in a PYP classroom. Thanks for a thoughtful post!

  2. Tanya,
    Thanks for adding a new perspective on the flipped classroom. Your title caught my attention, as I think many teachers resist trying educational movements or initiatives because they feel it’s all or nothing. Your post was a great reminder that elements can be incorporated without overhauling your entire teaching system. I particularly liked the information you shared about the In-Class Flip. As a Learning Support teacher, I could see this being very useful in the high school. Due to scheduling constraints, we can only offer co-taught support in one or two classes. The In-Class Flip would be a great way to support teachers who have a classroom of diverse learners and allow them to provide different levels of instruction to different groups of students. Although I am not able to be in every class physically, I can help my colleagues develop resources that can support students virtually. Thanks for giving me a new perspective on reserve instruction!

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