Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.

2.5.a Accommodate learner differences

Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.

2.5.b Design authentic learning activities

Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

2.5.c Create innovative learning environments

Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

Figure 1: Flipped Classroom

Designing learning environments that embody rigor, foster engagement and effectively address diverse students’ needs can be challenging. The concept of a  flipped classroom comes to mind as I contemplate ways to cultivate a learner-centric atmosphere. In my blog post titled, “Flipped Learning: Teacher-Centered to Student-Centered,” I referenced the Flipped Learning Network’s definition: “Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter” (Flipped Learning Network, 2014a). Emphasizing the transformation of group learning into an individual learning experience, this description of flipped learning underscores dynamism and interactivity while educators provide support and scaffolding suitable to student needs. This shift does not imply students navigate their journey themselves; rather, it signifies that they actively assert agency and responsibility over their unique educational paths.

Much of the research I read on the efficacy of flipped learning has been focused on older students. So while thinking of a project for the community engagement assignment in the DEL program, I opted to experiment with flipped learning in my 4th grade class (2.5.b). 

As I began to prepare for a flipped lesson, I contemplated experimenting with a reading or writing session.  In our school, the workshop model serves as a framework for teaching literacy. It begins with a 10-15 minute- minilesson, followed by independent work time, typically around 30 minutes.  During this phase, the teacher circulates the classroom, engaging in one-on-one conferences or with a small group of students. I recall insights from Kathy Collins, a reading consultant who visited our school a few years ago.  She says that the most impactful and refined teaching moments often occur during these conferences. After the conferences, the teacher concludes the lesson by gathering all the students in the same learning space, and conducting a brief reflection of their work that day. The entire lesson runs for about one hour. 

Figure 2: Elements of the Workshop Model

With that in mind, I started outlining a reading and writing lesson using the flipped model. Given that I was working with elementary students and all components of the flipped lesson needed to transpire in the classroom, certain adjustments were necessary. 

Figure 3: Literacy Lesson using the Workshop Model

Figure 4: Flipped Literacy Lesson

Students were divided into two small groups at the beginning of the lesson.  There were two synchronous tasks to start the lesson: the video lesson and word work session. The video minilessons were recorded on Screencastify (2.5.a), a video recording tool I started using during the pandemic. These video lessons were easily accessible to students. Some of them paused the video at different times, while a few of them watched it more than once.

Figure 5: Writing minilesson on Screencastify

Upon reflection, the key elements underscored in this lesson were twofold: ensuring students understood the lesson’s learning and optimizing my ability to confer with students. The integration of flipped learning components into a literacy lesson based on a workshop model empowered me to craft a lesson that is not only highly engaging, but also leverages technology while providing adequate scaffolding and support (2.5.c).

4 Collaborator 6 Facilitator