Welcome to The Flipped Classroom

flipped classroom bart“The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.”

This is an interactive yet independent way to teach and learn for all ages and all levels. Here’s how it works:

Traditionally, a teacher will introduce a new concept in class. This is the first time students have heard this concept. Students take notes and have a mini-class discussion. Then the teacher will reinforce the concepts learned in class with outside-of-class homework.

In contrast, The Flipped Classroom places the onus on the student and puts emphasis on the student’s own preparation for the lesson before class. Once the student gets to class, the teacher and the students, together, reinforce the subject-matter through project-based learning.

Here’s Why The Flipped Classroom Should Be the Norm:

Traditional teaching means that the student’s first introduction to the subject-matterFlipped-Classroom-Comparison is through the eyes of the teacher.

For students who learn best thorough lecture, this is a fine way to learn a new concept. But for students who have multiple modalities of learning, like many of us, the lecture-first way of teaching can be confusing, taking a student down a learning pathway that is unnatural.

The Flipped Classroom model, however, first requires the student to introduce themselves to the material by engaging in a self-taught lesson through articles, videos and research before they come to class. That way, when they enter the classroom they are already prepared with foundational knowledgeable of the lesson and relevant questions to promote a class discussion followed by project-based learning in small groups.

This is how college classes work too.

I’m intrigued by the fact that there is such a push for all kids to make college a goal, yet our lecture-first learning model is not college centered. In undergraduate and law school, I received the syllabus and on the first day of classes in my very first year, I was ready for the lesson because I had prepared the assigned reading. This is how higher education is structured.

So if we want our children to be prepared for college, this is how we should be teaching our elementary, middle and high students.

One Example of how The Flip Model is Implemented

I recently toured the STEM3 Academy, an amazing Middle & High School designed specifically for students with an IEP and who have a propensity for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Their classrooms are not just desks but lab centered, project-based learning at its core. Their seats are in pods so students can work together as teams. Reading can be done first with follow-up questions and ideas that explore that concept further in class.

advantages of flipI am so excited to learn that schools and teachers are taking a genuine look at this new way of learning and helping their students navigate the lesson by placing the power in the students’ hands. By taking the initiative to prepare for class, doing their own research beforehand, the student is in control of their educational choices.

The Flipped Classroom promotes independent thinking and learning, places the onus of learning on the student and creates students who know how to self-advocate and are more aware of their own challenges at a younger age, which only serves them better in life.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services. Christine truly loves helping students realize their inner potential and the possibilities that await them: “To be a part of a student’s ‘ah ha’ moment is the best feeling in the world because I know I’m helping that student build foundational confidence that will lead to a successful path, not just in school but throughout life!”

My Student Attended Her Own IEP & Loved It!

IEP for aspergers child11 Years Old and already CEO of her own IEP!

I was so impressed when my student’s school suggested that she attend her own IEP Meeting. As meetings go, IEP’s have the reputation of getting contentious rather quickly and losing sight of the real reason why parents, psychologists, teachers, learning specialists, principals, advocates, and attorneys are sitting at the round table in the first place– the student.

Humanizing PLOPs, Goals & Services

But something amazing happened when my 11-year-old student sat in the big chair between her learning specialist and her mother, and joined the conversation. Instead of a heated debate over standard deviations, we were able to humanize the plan of action and include her in the review of all of those Present Levels of Performance (PLOPs), Goals, and Services.

Our “adult speak” had to be tailored to her “kid level” of understanding. By doing so, it made all of the attendees that much more cognizant of what we were saying and how we were saying it. We asked for her input, addressed her concerns, and clarified her job to continue to work hard and work towards her very best.

It was probably the most honest, quick, and productive IEP I’d ever been to, and I have my student to thank for that.

Student “Buy In” & Self-Advocacy

My student felt important because she got to attend her own IEP, a key component to her “buy in” and, ultimately, her ownership over her own education. It was just as much a lesson for me as it was for her, and it got me thinking: taking into consideration age and appropriateness of course, perhaps having our students attend their own IEPs should be the best practice.

After all, what better way to meet her annual self-advocacy goal than to learn to advocate at her own IEP.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services.  Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com.

How Do You Measure Trust?

trust-3Do you remember doing the Trust Fall? It’s a common practice in scouts and business get-to-know-each-other retreats to develop a sense of trust and community within the group dynamic. For those of you who haven’t yet participated in this exercise you literally stand on a platform with your hands clasped in front of you while your team lines up behind you, arms outstretched in a zipper-like fashion. Then you turn around and fall backwards into the group. Is it scary? Yep! Does it foster trust? Yep!

Struggling Students Feel Like They’ve Fallen & No One was There to Catch Them

A Trust Fall is a lot like what our kiddos feel when we ask them to trust the adults in their lives. Especially if a child has been “burned” before, they are less apt to blindly trust you until you (as the parent, educator, or therapist) prove that you’re not going anywhere and you’re not giving up on them.

By the time students come to me for help, they’ve already suffered an enormous blow to their self-esteem: poor grades, arguments with parents, numerous trips to the principal’s office, and numerous meetings with the school — all these events culminate into one struggling student who feels that they’re not good enough and one struggling family who feels helpless.

Show Your Kiddo You Believe in Them By Earning Their Trust

My job is to first make a connection with the child in need and gain their trust. This is not something that can be measured. But therapists and educators alike, often feel the pressure to adhere only to the quantifiable, written goals and so the act of building a foundation of trust gets put to the wayside in favor of checking the box.

We’ve got it backwards, folks. We cannot work on measurable goals until a solid foundation of trust is built. Why? Your kiddo does not trust you yet and will not work towards the goals and the set standards until he does trust you.

If a Child Trusts You, They Will Work Hard to Achieve The Goals You Set

Like any good relationship, authentic connections stem from taking the time to get to know one another. This is also true in the student-teacher, client-therapist, and child-parent relationships. When we fully trust someone, we want to work hard for them because we believe that they know what’s best for us. Our kiddos want to move forward successfully and will do so as long as they know we’ve got their back.

To measure an immeasurable, like trust, is to attempt to quantify things like love and beauty. We can’t. It just doesn’t work like that. So take that extra session, that extra hour, and that extra week and spend the time to earn your kiddo’s trust. It creates a foundation that leads to a real connection and a real attempt by your child to meet those challenges.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Support Service for The Struggling Student by combining Academic, Behavior, and Advocacy support. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com.

Has Your Child Been Unfairly Labeled as a Behavior Problem?

behaviorThere is no doubt that one of the most difficult conversations you may ever encounter as a parent occurs when the Principal calls your home to discuss the behavior of your child in class today. “This is the third time this week that Seth was disruptive. Is he off his ADHD medication, perhaps?”

It’s tough to realize that your child, your baby, has been labeled as a Behavior Problem at school. You may naturally blame yourself or look for others to blame before making the connection that the school your child is attending may not be the best fit for him or her after all.

We must initially acknowledge that our American school system is only equipped to handle the mainstream population, meaning that any student who is an outlier from that average fails to have his or her needs completely met by the system itself.

I see this often in my line of work. Children who have I.E.P.’s (Individualized Educational Programs) and B.I.P.’s (Behavior Intervention Plans) a mile-long may really be suffering from lack of structure and accommodation at the school they are attending. Any teacher will tell you that out of a class of 27 there will be at least five students who come with an IEP. It’s unlikely they can solely cater to this student’s exact needs without a shadow or teacher’s assistant to alleviate the stress and time constraints of getting through the lesson, assigning homework, reviewing for the quiz, and answering 27 different questions in 48 minutes or less. They will also tell you those students with extra needs may slip through the cracks while no one is watching. It’s a slippery slope from being labeled as “disruptive” to being suspended indefinitely. I’ve seen it happen, usually to very bright but non-conformist kids.

So what can you do about this?

My first recommendation is to fight back, nicely of course. If your child is being labeled as a Behavior Problem it is your job as the parent to be your child’s advocate by getting involved, which gets the attention of the school. To do so you can attend PTA meetings, parent/teacher/principal meetings, allow your child to undergo psychological testing to rule out or define true learning or behavioral issues, ask for classroom accommodations such as sensory supports, and hire a shadow or tutor to help your child identify what he or she may be doing that is perceived as disruptive. Lesson of the Day: Be on the side of the school without being on the side of the school.

My second recommendation is to look inward: Are you providing the appropriate structure and accommodations in your home environment? This is always a delicate issue to bring up but a necessary one if you want to get to the bottom of your child’s behavior issues. Chances are if there is little to no structure in place at home and your child doesn’t respect you (the authority figure and his or her model for appropriate behavior) then it is likely your child doesn’t respond well to structure and authority figures at school. This may be the root of the issue. It takes a bigger parent to admit that they are part of the problem, but the good news is that you can also be part of the solution. Start by making structure a priority in your home: open up the family forum to set a weekday schedule in place (see my example here). Then, stick to it! Follow-through teaches your family perseverance and the ability to take action on a plan. If you need help with initially instilling structure in your home call upon a professional Family Coach. Their job is to create, implement, and facilitate positive discipline and structure that naturally gives way to positive changes. (Read more about Family Coaching here) Remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit and only three to break it so make it a priority to stick with the plan once it’s in place. If you do, you’ll see noticeable differences in just a few short weeks.

My final recommendation is to research other schools that may appropriately accommodate the behavior challenges that your child exhibits outlined in their IEP or BIP. There are a ton of wonderful private schools out there that may seem unreachable from where you stand but let me assure you that the right school can provide the right education, both mentally and emotionally, for your child. We all know that the right education, only second to the positive foundation provided at home, makes all the difference moving forward in school and, perhaps, in life. I implore you to do your homework and research the best fit for your child; it could make all the difference. If you’re in Los Angeles, contact Stacey at SchoolShopLA.com. As an expert in education Stacey’s mission is to, “Help families choose the perfect school that fits for their child… [and] help lead the way in picking an environment that will make a difference in your child and family’s life”.

These are difficult changes and realizations to make but I ask that you take a hard look at the particular situation you’re in, being as objective as possible. If your child has been unfairly labeled as disruptive then it is your job to get to the root of the issue by openly communicating solutions with your child and your child’s educators. If your child really is struggling with a behavior challenge then acknowledge the need and provide the best care possible by making appropriate accommodations, reaching out for help, and fighting for your child’s ability to learn in a conducive, stimulating environment. Most importantly, whatever you do don’t give in or give up. Education is too important to have your child sitting on the sidelines or in the Principal’s office day in and day out.

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