"You talk as if a god had made the Machine.. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind."The machine stops - 1909 - Forster

Sunday, January 3, 2016


As J. Bergman and A. Sams state in their book  Flip your Classroom - Reach every student in every class every day  " The goal of flipping a classroom is to remove attention from the teacher and place it on the learner." Teachers should explore and hybridize  the flipped-mastery model and adapt it to what they already  know to be good teaching practice. Some teachers may not want to adopt the model fully but they would rather opt for  a step-by-step strategy.First, a single lesson could be flipped, then a learning unit and finally a part of ( or the entire ) syllabus.
What follows is how I flipped a unit with my third year students.
The main question being " What is the best use of in-class time?", I tried to plan a sequence of lessons which could meet three specific needs:
- effective technology integration
- cooperative team work
- layered activities/tasks based on Bloom's Taxonomy


Students will:
- remember facts about Malala's life
- explain in their own words the major events in her life and identify the most important issues
- reflect on limitation of women's rights in some parts of the world
- practise asking meaningful questions assuming different roles
- compare their life to Malala's
- evaluate and select good strategies for further actions
- create/compose a final slogan/motto related to Malala's campaign for education


1 hour
Aim: presenting Malala's biography
Class activity: jigsaw group work
Material: handouts

Homework: exploring the online resources  "Inspiring People"
Here you can download the text students worked on. The words in bold are the ones that were pretaught.


Students were divided in 3 different groups according to their language skills ( for the names of the groups  some adjectives were chosen which well describe Malala's personality ) :

- hardworking
- brave
- determined

The text was cut in three parts and each student received one. They were given 15 minutes to individually read the text and learn/remember as many facts as possible. They could highlight their texts, take notes, make mindmaps, underline.... While they were working I was walking around the classroom, helping them, clarifying any doubts and answering their questions.  

After that, all the "brave" students gathered together in one corner of the room, and so did the "determined" and the "hard-working" ones. Without looking at their texts or their notes, they had to share what they remembered and check if their comprehension was adequate. I didn't intervene during this phase, which lasted 10 minutes.
Finally, the students were regrouped ( each group being composed of one "brave"/one "hardworking"/one "determined" ) and their task was now to answer some comprehension questions I gave them. To complete the task each member of the group had to share what he had learnt and everybody made their contribution ( individual accountablility and equal partecipation ).


For homework they had to explore the online resources about Malala and post on a padlet 3 new things they had learnt ( some new information that was not on the handout )  and one more question ( that was invaluable formative assessment which gave me an idea on how they were learning and if they had watched the videos  )  


2 hours
Aim: working on lower and higher level thinking skills of Bloom Taxonomy.
Class activity: cooperative work
Material: handouts/ipads

Students were given a handout with a series of activities structured by levels ( from LOTS to HOTS )



1 hour
Aim: self-evaluation, reflecting on the whole process, sharing results
Class activity: cooperative work
Material: handouts from the teacher/works from the students

Final reflections

Was that a flipped unit? I would say that an objective was the starting point, technology was integrated to support the whole process, good teaching practice ( the jigsaw strategy ) was used and the attention was always placed on the learner. It worked for me and my students. The Flipped classroom is not a dogma, and it's not all about videos, of course: it's just helping to do what you are already doing better.