5 ways to flip your classroom

5 Ways to Flip Your Classroom

History teacher Keith “Hip” Hughes has a massive following on his YouTube channel.Today, he shares his technique for flipping the classroom in engaging, powerful ways.

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  • Add comments, multiple choice or open-ended questions.

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript

Five Ways to Flip Your Classroom

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e155
Friday, September 22, 2017

Vicki: So today we’re talking with Keith “Hip” Hughes @hiphughes of www.hiphughes.com and also creator of the “HipHughes History” YouTube channel.

And Keith, today we’re going to talk about “Five Ways to Flip Your Class.”

You should know all about this because you make these awesome videos. So how do we start?

#1 Define the kind of teacher you want to be

Keith: Sure! And first, thanks for having me on the program. It’s so good to talk about a subject that I love so much – the craft of teaching!

So basically, flipping your classroom – and I guess this is the first kind of tip is explaining it.

I always explain to people that I’d rather be called a FOLE than a teacher. A FOLE is a Facilitator Of Learning Experiences, and I think we can all kind of understand that analogy. We want to be “conductors” of our classroom. But I wanted more time for my kids to “compose.”

I have a saying. It’s maybe not the most graceful analogy. “Content consumption without content creation may lead to learning constipation.”

Vicki: Oh wow! (laughs)

Keith: I know, it’s not graceful. But I think it gets the point across. It’s basically shifting that content to the homework piece so you can have kids do more real things in your classroom.

#2 Understand what flipping the classroom is (and isn’t)

Vicki: Absolutely. You talk a little bit about flipping the classroom, but not everybody may understand real clearly what it is. Do you want to give us a simple definition?

Keith: The basic idea is to try to reduce the amount of time you’re talking to kids from the front of the room. I think sometimes we have this illusion that the kids are learning in the space between our mouths and their ears, and I’m not sure how much that might be happening.

So “flipping” is saying, “Let’s have the kids get the content somewhere other than the classroom.” Many times, that could be a reader, but many times it could be a really great video that explains a concept that you would normally be explaining in front of the room. You’re probably still going to have to review it. But the idea is to free up time in your class so kids that are working through skill-based activities that might in the past have been done as homework. Now (those) can be doing that in class with your facilitation.

The next step is designing projects and really having kids doing authentic inquiry-based awesome stuff in your classroom, using the content.

So that’s the basic idea of flipping your class.

Vicki: Yes! And you know, I do this. I have to do the in-flip, which means I do the videos sometimes in class, and use tools like “EdPuzzle” to kind of insert that formative assessment and that sort of thing. But we do want to shift to these authentic projects.

#3: Move to product-based learning

What’s our third way to flip our classroom?

Keith: I think it’s really to think about what you want to do with that time. If you’re going to have – let’s say 50% more time where kids are actively engaged and doing things in your class – I think we can shift to think about not just Project Based Learning but Product Based Learning.

I think it’s so important that our kids have time to use content to create new meaning – not only to achieve curricular goals, but also to start using that to form a sense of their own identity about who they are – not only in the real world, but in the online world.

Vicki: So how would you define Product Based Learning?

Keith: Product, to me, is something that exists after the activity, that can live on and have meaning outside of the classroom.

So many times, I’m a techie guy, so I talk technology but it doesn’t necessarily have to be technology. But I’m thinking about students designing websites, creating their own podcasts, making videos, doing community action projects, collaborating with classes around the world tackling problems. Doing real things that real adults do. But the idea is that we can insert our learning. So all the layers of literacy that go into these projects…

Vicki: I love it. So global audience. And we know that global audience does improve our performance, both as teachers and as students.

#4 Understand how students are interacting with your videos

OK, what’s our fourth, Keith?

Keith: So you mentioned it before, and I’m so glad you did. Using these types of things like EdPuzzle or PlayPosit, where you’re using video. And the partial flip or the in class flip. I’ve done that before. You kow, we haven’t closed that digital divide quite yet. So we have to consider that, as to whether we can do a full flip or not.

But if we are showing videos in the classroom, or you’re assigning them – you want to make sure that you’re the one that’s holding the flashlight on that video.

We can talk about what makes a great video, making sure they’re engaging, hitting your objectives. But using EdPuzzle or PlayPosit, I can pause that video, insert that exam question or reflective thought idea, or send them to a website, or give differentiation by offering a different resource.

  • Edpuzzle is a sponsor of this episode. Our sponsors have no impact on the content of the show. However, if you want to sign up for Edpuzzle, use this link as it will give your school access to the 50,000 curated video library on Edpuzzle. (Something you can get by using this link they gave for my listeners and readers.)

But I also can track that data. I can use that information to gauge how I’m using videos in the classroom. And believe it or not, some kids will do it because they know you’re watching.

Vicki: Yeah. And I love it because I can insert my voice. It will pause the video. I can insert my voice! So I don’t have to remake everything. And that’s been such a relief for me, letting them hear my voice but I don’t have to remake it all.

#5 Create content that is exciting

OK, what’s our fifth?

Keith: So I want to talk about content creation, because sometimes – and I think it depends on our personality and our time that we have in the classroom – you know, we want to “be the face” for those kids. Human relationships are so important in our classroom. If we can carry that over, and if we have the time and the enthusiasm to do it – WHY. NOT.

So, you know, I would say, “Jump in!”

That’s my tip. Don’t worry about detail. Don’t worry about how to do it. Just film yourself. Talk to that camera like you have your kids’ attention and no one’s going to interrupt you.

Flipped classroom mistakes

Vicki: OK. What do you think the biggest mistake is, Keith, that people make when they start trying to flip their classroom?

Keith: I think it’s their choice of video, to be quite honest. I think if we’re choosing videos – I don’t want to call them textbook videos, but I’m going to call them textbook videos. (These are) videos that are just primarily concerned with the content. They might have a dry voiceover wit very direct literal imagery. I think those videos need to walk in those students’ world a little bit. Not only with the language that we use – it doesn’t mean you have to be a goofball – you can be an academic. But in the visuals we choose, the music we choose, the pace of it? I think voice is really important because it emotes emotion. And I think if you’re comfortable on camera, a face can make a difference as well.

How to make exciting videos that students will want to watch

Vicki: It can! You know, it’s funny! My students like it when I make them laugh. So I try to put unexpected things in there. It makes them watch it, you know?

Keith: Include those mistakes! If you make a little mistake, do a jump cut. The kids will laugh, and I think that laughter is, in a sense, a little magnet of attention. You can draw them back in.

Vicki: Totally. So you’ve been doing this for a while, Keith, and you know a lot about making exciting videos. Of course, we could do a whole other 10-Minute Teacher on videos.

But as we finish up, could you give us a pep talk about how to make exciting video that kids want to watch?

Keith: Sure, and let’s not talk about the technology. You can go watch a different tutorial. I think Number One is – you need to relax. You need to be yourself. Kids can smell authenticity. So don’t try to pretend.

And if you can do it, try to read off of a script. I know that’s difficult for some people. But you’re allowed to make mistakes. And it’s so important to look at that camera, or use your voice to connect with those kids.

And don’t always be so literal. Sometimes some imagery that draws kids in and makes them laugh a little bit is important.

And use different modes of literacy. You know, there’s nothing wrong with a little “Sanford and Son” with a title in the middle of the video– not only to divide concepts, but again, to make them laugh, draw them in.

Vicki: So teachers…

Flipping that classroom – or in-flipping the classroom, where you show the videos in your classroom — is such an important part of my own classroom.

Remember, we have the bricks (which is the face-to-face classroom) and we have the clicks (which is the online classroom). And the best classrooms these days are blended.

So making those videos and flipping that classroom? That’s kind of what so many of us need to be doing today to be remarkable.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

Keith Hughes is an educator,

YouTuber and innovator in the field of technology and education. A 16 year veteran of the Buffalo Public Schools and adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo, he has spent his career engaging students as well as fellow educators.

As the producer of HipHughes History, he was recognized in 2012 by YouTube and Khan Academy with a YouTube Edu Guru Award. Keith has also appeared on the History Channel’s United Stuff of America and AHC’s America’s Most Badass.

Currently, Keith is employed as an Instruction Technology Coach by the Buffalo Public Schools and engages with other educators and schools across the world through professional development presentations.


Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

kelsey southard September 25, 2017 - 4:59 pm

Love this post! Thanks for the share! As a future teacher this will be really useful!


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere