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Reverse Instruction/Flipped Learning

Flipped learning is my favorite thing. Although, I can say that I don’t do enough of it – that’s not the best perspective to have. Rather, “I can always improve, so I’ll keep trying.” I think mindset plays a huge role in getting teachers on board with flipped learning. It can take a little more time and preparation.

Sylvia Duckworth

Grade 5 is learning the central idea: Living things have structures and mechanisms that help them to meet life’s needs, specifically cell structures. This unit has provided many opportunities for the classroom teacher to flip learning. Newsela, Khan Academy, and Edpuzzle have been excellent resources in helping to differentiate the learning for each student’s needs. Being in an international school (or any school really) where the levels of English and ability vary so drastically, we have found it helpful to provide different resources for students. Students also vary in their interest of cells and some choose to inquire deeper into the topic outside of the classroom.

I shared this flipped learning infographic with our PYP coordinator this week to see which areas she thought we could work on to flip learning within our current units. I will be back with an update on how we continue to implement this strategy.

Game-Based Learning/Gamification

Game-based learning isn’t a new concept to me but isn’t something that I have tried very often. As I mentioned in the comment on Alex’s blog which I will also share here, I did not grow up as a gamer, so I don’t have much expertise in using gaming in education. I remember as a child using “games” like Paint and Minesweeper (I had to ask 2 teachers to remember the name of this game – I kept wanting to call it Minecraft). The games I remember playing at school were Mavis Beacon, Storybook Weaver, and Oregon Trail. I remember loving the days we got to go to the computer lab to “play games.” Little did we know, we were using them for learning.

This past October, I studied to become a BrainPOP Certified Educator and learned that there are games connected to the videos. It is called BrainPOP Game Finder. There is also a BrainPOP Educators website that provides very helpful lesson plans and other resources. This has been a really great resource in helping other teachers segway into game-based learning.


“At the end of the day, a game is successful only if each individual gamer has an interaction with it that makes him or her want to come back for more,” says Nt Etuk, CEO of Dimension U, an educational games company.

Do you play enough games? What games do you play? Let’s transition into play-based learning.

Play-Based Learning

This is also a newer concept to me. I read this article called The Power of Play in Learning and found it as a good reminder that play is an essential part of learning. There were times that this year in my after-school activity I chose a new Chromebook app that I wanted students to be experts at. I gave them an hour to just “play in the sandbox” and explore the app and all the features that it offered. It was a great learning opportunity for me to see how much the students could figure out in a short amount of time and how this offered them the chance to teach me about the app as well.

Stuart Brown, M.D., explains in his book, Play, how a range of scientific disciplines have revealed the importance of lifelong play. Playfulness amplifies our capacity to innovate and to adapt to changing circumstances. Adults who are deprived of play are often rigid, inflexible and closed to trying out new options. Play is an active process that reshapes our rigid views of the world.

I feel like a good example of how this is used in our school is with the homework system a few of our grade levels are using. Within our school culture, we influence the importance of learning all day. There is always something new to be learned whether you are at school, home, your friend’s house, or football practice. That does not mean that you should spend hours and hours doing homework. We toyed with the idea of “unhomework” and using outdoor activities as “unhomework” to get students outside to play, as well as, using this homework grid to limit the amount of homework given per unit and allowing students to create across the curriculum and co-learn with siblings and family. This idea came from the Grade 4 teacher at our school, her name is Caz and she is a wonderful educator that I have learned so much from this year. Check out the grid and let me know what you think. How is homework done in your school? Any suggestions or advice is always appreciated.


Vodcasting… What is that???

I am a little confused. This week is called the present, but I am finding articles dating back to 2006-2007 on what a vodcast is. I honestly, had never heard that term before reading this weeks material. Am I late to the party or……. is vodcasting outdated? Let’s find out.

I was unable to find a decent (entertaining) video explaining what vodcasting is, ironically enough, so we will have to settle for this definition.

A step beyond podcasting, vodcasting, also called video podcasting or vlogging, adds video to the downloadable sound files podcast listeners are used to. – Björn Rosenthal

This sounds like something I would be willing to try. I have added text to my iMovie’s before, but haven’t ever used the feature of added pop-outs and labels. We are stilling have trouble with making movies on the Chromebooks. This is a feature I hope to try with students later down the road as we get better at creating videos.

As I wrap up this week, I am feeling like this:


I feel on the verge of an epic win………. but I have a lot of problem-solving to do first!