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January 8, 2016

How to Differentiate Your Flipped Classroom

One of the most important aspects of flipping your instruction is that it offers students a more personalized learning experience than the traditional classroom. To get the most out of your flipped environment, you will need to differentiate your instruction both in the classroom and when students are engaging in direct instruction at home.

While you may be familiar with personalizing students’ learning in the classroom, here are a few tips to get you started with differentiating instruction when students are learning at home.

Strategies for Differentiating Instruction Outside of the Classroom

Questioning and Scaffolding

When students learn new content at home, you will want to gauge their understanding to make sure they have a solid grasp of the learning material before they put it into action in the classroom. You can do this by having your students complete assignments and reflection activities as part of their at-home work. This also provides great opportunities to differentiate based on students’ abilities:

  • Discussion Posts: After students learn new content, have them respond to discussion posts on a learning management system of your choice or with Google Apps. You can create threads for students to respond to before, during, and after they view at-home instructional content. These threads or prompts can range in complexity, and you can assign students specific threads based on where they are in their learning.
  • Blogging: Through free blogging sites like WordPress, you can help students create and maintain their own blogs in which they reflect about what they learned from the instructional content, what interested them, what questions they have, and how this learning relates to them specifically. To add a creative touch to this ongoing activity, have students design their blog and personalize it by adding pictures, videos, and audio recordings.
  • Tiered graphic organizers: Provide students with graphic organizers of varying complexities to complete as they learn new content. The graphic organizers will help students organize their thoughts about what they are learning, and the varying complexity levels will provide students with challenging, yet achievable activities to complete. As students master the less complex graphic organizers, you can move to more complex activities.

Varied Content Delivery

In addition to differentiating the process by which students learn, flipped learning also gives you the opportunity to adjust the content itself. To accomplish this, you can vary the texts or video content you use with your students to ensure that all students are appropriately challenged.

  • Websites: With a little research, you can find websites that offer articles on the same topic with varying text levels so students of all reading abilities will be engaged and challenged by the instructional content. Newsela.com and Commonlit.org are great resources for finding articles that range in text complexity.
  • Videos: From YouTube to Khan Academy, you can find appropriately challenging content for all of your students. For example, you might assign two different videos on the same topic to two groups based on their learning abilities to ensure that everyone understands the concepts.
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