Marc Seigel, a contributing author to Flipping 2.0, talks about an innovative flipped science classroom. How do lessons flow? What are common mistakes? How do students make progress? Learn all this and more in this quick, 10-minute show.
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Flipping Awesome Science
Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e273
Date: March 14, 2018
Vicki: Hey, let’s do some flipping awesome science with Marc Seigel @DaretoChem
So, Marc, first of all, in your bio, you talk about being Johnny Crayons.
Vicki: What is that?
Who is Johnny Crayons?
Marc: So Johnny Crayons came a couple years ago.
A friend of mine, we were teaching together. We’re both very nontraditional teachers.
And across the hall from us was a very traditional teacher, one of those guys who — I mean, a phenomenal educator — but he stood behind a podium. That’s where the bell rang. That’s where he was the whole block.
And one day, he walks over across the hall to my friend, and says to him, “I don’t know what’s going on with all this Johnny Crayons noise stuff, but you gotta keep it down around here.”
And we just laughed hysterically.
We kind of take this — the Johnny Crayons — the nontraditional, the energetic, the full energy in the classroom.
I kind of describe it like this. There was a meme a couple of years ago about this little elementary kid. And he’s got this crayon gripped in his fist. He’s scribbling furiously at this picture. His eyes are wide. His teeth are clenched.
And I said,”That’s the Johnny Crayons. When you attack a project, when you attack an assignment so voraciously that you’re putting all of your energy and passion into it? That’s a Johnny Crayons, and I want nothing but them in my classroom.”
What does your science classroom look like on a great day?
Vicki: OK. What does a classroom day look like when you have an awesome engaging day. Describe what that would look like in your science classroom.
Marc: So I run a flipped classroom. My students work asynchronously.
So I give them all of the information and materials they need for an entire unit, and then I let them run and play with the different activities, depending upon where they are, their abilities, and how well they’re grabbing onto the concepts.
Kind of think of it like a whole bunch of stations all over the classroom, where some kids are working independently, some kids are working collaboratively with someone else that they’re friends with or they’re working well with.
Some kids are doing labs.
Some kids are working one-on-one or in small group settings with me as a teacher.
And when I’m not working with one kid, I’m floating around like a butterfly all over the classroom, trying to get to every group, trying to check in with students at all times.
So it’s kind of like a chaos of like a whirlwind of learning going on in my classroom at any given moment.
Can you give us an example?
Vicki: So give a science concept that you’d be teaching. And what the different kids would be doing, so we would kind of have a way to envision this.
It does sound like chaos! (laughs)
Marc: Absolutely. Yeah.
So, for example, I was a chemistry teacher and I taught a section on gas laws.
Gas laws talk about how gases behave and then different things happen to them. You change the pressure, you change the temperature, whatever it’s going to be.
And some cases, I might have, you know, a couple students working off on the side with some digital probes. They’re moving syringes in and out into a pressure center. And all of that information is being graphed onto a computer as an inquiry part of the assignment, too.
So as they pull out the syringe or push on the syringe, they’re changing the volume of that gas, and then the computer is measuring all the pressure.
So I’ve got a Chromebook set up. Kids are graphing all the information with Google Sheet.
On another section, I’ll have students on personalized whiteboards, and those whiteboards ar 16”x24” and wrapped in neon duct tape. So I’ll have students working on quiz questions or homework questions that I’ve got placed at my desk.
I don’t give traditional homework. Anything the students work on at home typically is like lab questions that they didn’t complete during class.
So these kids are working here in my classroom because when they struggle, I want me to be around to help them through whatever struggles they’re having.
I might have another group of students working off on the side watching some instructional videos off my YouTube channel.
So, it depends on where you are in the classroom, depending on what’s going on.
I might have kids sitting on a lab bench over on one side. I used to have a girl who used to like to hide under the lab bench.
Marc: She kind of made her own little cubbyhole. She was a little bit of an introvert, and the chaos of the room didn’t lend itself for her to be focused. So she would tuck herself underneath, and that’s where she would stay for the whole block.
How difficult is this to organize?
Vicki: So Marc, how hard is this to plan and set up?
Marc: This takes years. Of doing it…
Vicki: Ohhh. But no. Now nobody’s going to want to do it! (laughs)
Marc: No, actually I was just talking with a group of teachers this week at a conference. I said,”What a lot of people forget when they read about a flipped classroom, they’re seeing it from people who have been doing it for several years. And they get overwhelmed.”
And they say, “Well, I can’t do that!”
And I’m like, “No, you can’t. Because I’ve done this over seven years. So the best thing to do is start small. Start with something you know and you are confident with.
My very first flipped lesson was in the easiest unit of the entire year. I planned it all out.
I actually storyboard everything at home. I have a big whiteboard at home.
I lay out all the topics, and I link them to where my videos are going to go with arrows, and then I connect the assignments into them.
By making it visual in front of me, it helped give me a nice, neat plan for my students. I give them an assignment chart which helps keep them organized throughout the entire unit as well.
Vicki: So you’re one of the authors of Flipping 2.0. You have a chapter in there.
Now, so are you more of the end-flip? So when they’re watching your videos, it’s in class? It’s not at home?
Which kind of flipped classroom do you run?
Marc: Mine is both. I leave it up to the students as to how they want to do it. So there are some students who are very active in athletics, they have a part-time job, they’re doing a ton of things at home, or maybe even internet access is limited. So I never wanted to force my students to always do the videos at home. So I leave them the option.
One year I had these five boys who used to get together on the weekend and watch all the videos for the entire unit in one afternoon. And they’d come to class on Monday with all their questions ready. They’d pound out all the assignments over the course of five days. They’d take the test on Friday, or maybe on the following Monday. And they were done. And that’s the way they liked it.
I had other students who would come to class, walk in, pull out their device, watch the first video, do a quiz or do the homework assigned to that video. And watch the second video, and they had that kind of routine.
So I let the kids be flexible in how THEY structure the class.
Vicki: OK, if you could spare beginning science flippers one mistake, what would it be?
What mistakes do people make when they begin?
Marc: Oh, relying on the video too much.
My very first massive fail was that I gave an assignment to watch the video for homework. And then my lesson was entirely based on the students’ notes from that video.
There were 21 kids in the class. But only 5 kids actually watched the video.
And I went, “Oh my gosh! What do I do now?”
So now that’s like Rookie Mistake #1 about flipping. That’s what you do your first year teaching. It’s like you put all of your emphasis is on the kids doing the homework — and then they didn’t do the homework.
Marc: So I ended up having to reteach the entire lesson that I had put in the video via lecture. Because that’s the best way that I could get the information across.
So those 5 kids who did the video? Now sat bored for 30 minutes, while I’m going through a lesson.
Marc: My video was only 10 minutes. But it takes that much longer in a lecture.
So the best thing you can do is — to learn from my failure — the next time I did that? When the same thing happened to me?
What I did was I brought the five kids up who did their assignment. I brought them up to the front of the room.
I sent the other 16 kids to the back to watch the video.
I then gave special extra reinforcement to those kids — sort of as a reward to those kids for watching the video.
So I hit them with extra problems, extra questions, and they got small group learning with me.
At that point everyone was done with the video, and then we came together as a whole group and did a large group activity.
So the kids who didn’t do their homework still got the information that they were supposed to get. But they didn’t get the extra reinforcement that they would have, had they done the homework. And that really changed how my class functioned.
Vicki: OK, if you could have one thing that every teacher could do RIGHT, right out of the gate, what would it be?
Marc: With a flipped classroom?
What advice do you have?
Marc: Remember that it’s about maximizing your face-to-face time with your students.
So it doesn’t matter if you use videos or document-based questions, or reading passages or anything. It doesn’t matter what you use.
It’s about — when you sit down and think about that lesson — are you maximizing more face-to-face time with your students?
If the most effective thing you are doing is hands-on learning and small group work, then make sure your lessons look like that in the classroom.
If you’re a phenomenal educator and you can stand up and lecture, and kids are engaged and it’s amazing and they get it?
Then do THAT.
Like you have to make your class your space.
Don’t look at articles from Jon Bergman or Aaron Sams or anyone else.
- Listen to Jon Bergmann “Preparing Your Students for Flipped Learning”
- Listen to Aaron Sams “8 Ways to Be Technology’s Master and Not Its Slave
- Listen to How to Make Flipped Classroom Better
Or don’t even look at the book, and say, “Oh, I have to copy Marc.”
Do what works best in YOUR class.
Vicki: Yeah! And I use the in-flip, I’ll use videos sometimes.
Today I was talking to somebody about the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
We had a fascinating Socratic discussion and that’s the way we did it.
So it doesn’t have to always be the same.
Use those videos in a way that really accents your learning.
So, science teachers out there, and all teachers — we’ve got some flipping awesome science ideas. Follow Marc on Twitter.
Get out there and be Johnny Crayons.
I want to be Johnny Crayons.
I don’t think I want to be behind the podium! (laughs)
Contact us about the show: https://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/
Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford [email protected]
Bio as submitted
In the past eighteen years, Marc Seigel has taught a wide variety of STEM stuff, including classes in Chemistry and design, and has recently embarked on serving as a high school educational technology integration specialist. Presenting at state and national conferences has developed Marc’s love for collaboration with teachers and administrators of all levels and disciplines. A Google Certified Innovator & Educator as well as a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, Marc is a self-proclaimed Positive Deviant and “Johnny Crayons,” and has reinvigorated his teaching practice through the use of Flipped Classroom, a topic about which he has presented all over the Northeast. Find Marc on the internet at (www.marcseigel.com) and on Twitter/Instagram (@DaretoChem).
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