We spoke with 7th-grade geography teacher, Amanda Mendenhall, about how she uses TeacherMade for her flipped classroom. TeacherMade is the perfect tool for a flipped classroom because you quickly create assignments from materials you already have, embed multimedia, and auto-grade assignments.
How do you TeacherMade in your classroom?
My name is Amanda Mendenhall, and I teach 7th-grade geography in Oklahoma. TeacherMade has made my life as a teacher so much simpler. This last year I decided to try a flipped classroom for my students. It was something that I had always wanted to do but never had the resources to be able to do with my students. Also, our school district requires us to use project-based learning to help our students understand the concept we teach throughout the trimester. My classroom is also a student-based learning classroom, so they have different options and methods by which they choose to learn a concept.
How do you do a flipped classroom?
In a flipped classroom, my students would use TeacherMade almost daily as we reviewed the assignment they should have completed at night for homework. Students are sometimes given the rear-view assignment as we go to the class. Sometimes, they give the review at the end of the hour, and sometimes they provide it as part of their homework for that evening. Students spend most of their class time discussing and learning from each other about the concept we have been working on.
What tech tools do you use for a flipped classroom?
Students come to the classroom and complete their bell work. That work is designed to start the day and set up the classroom for the concept that will be taught that day. Students will then begin looking at Google Classroom to see the assignment for the day. If the assignment is on TeacherMade, it will be posted to their Google Classroom as class begins. Students will be able to work on the document as we review the concept they should have read or watched last night for homework. As we discuss the assignment, students will be completing the assignment individually. Once an assignment is complete on TeacherMade, the students will turn it in from the program for me to grade. If the assignment is a student-based project, the student will simply use the program's drawing feature, draw a circle around their choice, and then complete the assignment by embedding a link that will lead me to their assignment. On either assignment, the students will complete the assignment in TeacherMade and then turn it in so that I can give them feedback. The students can then also redo the assignment or keep their earned grades. My students can almost always work at their own pace as long as they complete the assignments by the due date. Students feel in control of their day-to-day assignments in my class and are more responsible for completing them.
How do you train your students to use technology for your flipped classroom?
First, this all does not happen in August when school starts. My students must be trained on how to use the program, be individual learners, and be self-driven in the classroom. I do this by starting at the beginning of the year with some simple student-based assignments. They can complete simple assignments in less than 10 minutes without opening their textbooks. Then as the year progresses, I can move to more complex assignments for my students to have the discipline to complete them on their own or with a partner. Some of my classes never make it to this step, and some of my classes make it to almost a student-led classroom where the students teach each other.
I am a simple guide. These are the classrooms I love to watch and learn. TeacherMade has made this process so much simpler and so much more productive for my students and myself. I can monitor my students from afar instead of being over their shoulders watching every move they make.
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