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Flipping English Classes

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This is a special guest blog post by Cara Chang, Writing Instructor at Leeward CC. Cara participated in our “Stop Lecturing and Flip Your Classroom” track at the PRLS conference (Summer 2015) which we are repeating again this summer at PRLS. In her blog post she shares how she flipped her classroom. We will continue working with Cara to further enhance her flipped classroom efforts.

20150520_113945-0-2cfk5yv-croppedI used the flipped classroom method in my ENG 100 class by creating different modules and activities for the first two essays that students write in class (Narration and Description Essay 1 and Literary Analysis Essay 2 Part 1 and Part 2).  The videos and activities worked well.  Students liked it because it was organized and told students exactly what they needed to do.  It then allowed me to use valuable class time to do more hands-on activities (applying what was covered in the flipped lessons).  For example, after learning about how descriptive writing includes figurative language like similes and metaphors, students used class time to create similes and metaphors in their essays.  In ENG 100, I believe that the flipped classroom method helped students work on SLO 2 (write compositions appropriate to a particular audience and purpose) and SLO 3 (incorporating source material appropriately) since the flipped lesson 1 and 2 covered how to write different types of essays and flipped lesson 2 covered pulling quotes from the text to support their point.

In collecting student reflections of what they learned in the course, many students wrote that they learned how to be more descriptive, which includes writing similes and metaphors.  Students were required to find and post a song that has similes and metaphors on the Tackk page in the comments section.  Students seemed to like this because it was fairly easy to use because they are familiar with social media.

cara-flipped-1

This image shows student participation in the flipped class where students had to find a song with similes and/or metaphors and explain what it meant.

At the end of the semester, students are required to submit their favorite/best essay that I put on a student blog, so they may share their writing/work with the rest of the class, and students often choose to share their narration/description essay.  One student also wrote in her reflection that she learned how to quote and cite her sources from the flipped lesson on Literary Analysis.

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This image shows my literary analysis lesson to prepare students to do their Literary Analysis Essay 2.

A challenge I faced with the flipped classroom method was managing and grading all of the activities I assigned and copying a course to be used more than once at the same time.  For example, I taught 3 sections of ENG 100, so I need to learn an easier way to manage these 3 (similar, but different courses).  I also realized that maybe I gave too many activities.   I think I will move some of my activities to a pre-flipped classroom activity.  Lessening the number of activities will make it less tedious for students to complete and easier for me to grade/manage.

In addition to using the flipped classroom in ENG 100, I also used the flipped classroom in ENG 24 to help students learn and practice grammar in collaboration with colleague, Jennifer Wharton.  Jennifer created a flipped lesson on Identifying Verbs, and I created lessons on Identifying Subjects and Identifying Prepositional Phrases.  Our goal is to eventually flip all grammar lessons, but this semester, we just decided to pilot a few lessons.  The videos were a great teaching tool as it allowed students to re-watch a lesson if they didn’t understand the material the first time.  In ENG 24, exposing students to flipped learning introduces them to a different way of learning.  After students experienced flipped learning, I believe that students better understood different ways to learn/study concepts (vocabulary, content, grammar).  This directly speaks to SLO 5, which states that students should “apply study skills to improve learning.”  In ENG 24, an improvement in student writing is very obvious, but I teach grammar using different methods (flipped and traditional), so I do not know if I can attribute their improvement to the flipped classroom experience.

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This image shows a grammar flipped class lesson for ENG 24.

A challenge I faced in facilitating a flipped classroom with my ENG 24 students was not spending enough time helping students get to the assignment.  I ran out of time when assigning the lessons, so not as many students did it the first time around.  Next time, I need to walk my ENG 24 students through the flipped classroom process by having them go into the lesson in class before they go home.

Because of the positive responses I received towards the flipped lessons, I plan to eventually create flipped lessons for all types of essays that I assign (Cause and Effect Essay 3 and Argument and Research Essay 4).  Another thing I would like to try is to maybe have students create their own lessons.  I may try this in ENG 22 since I assign a lot of presentations in this class.  Furthermore, as stated earlier, I would like to create more grammar lessons for ENG 24 students since I only created 2 lessons.

Please find the links to my flipped learning lessons created using Tackk:

  1. Narration module: https://tackk.com/d7p43p
  2. Literary analysis: https://tackk.com/lylshz
  3. Literary analysis 2: https://tackk.com/5ds9g0
  4. Subjects (ENG 24): https://tackk.com/0e901a
  5. Prepositional Phrases (ENG 24): https://tackk.com/xa7tn7
  6. Study Skills: https://tackk.com/zr2tgr

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