Mercer Island students flipping for flipped classrooms

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MERCER ISLAND –  We’re about two months into the new school year and for kids at one Mercer Island middle school, that means two months of a new way of teaching.

It’s called a Flipped Classroom.

Instead of lecturing to the kids in class, math teacher Donna Johnston records a video lesson for students to watch at home. The next day, the kids do their homework at school.

Johnston has been teaching math at Islander Middle School for years and felt something needed to change.

“Last year I felt like I was not meeting everyone at their level and when it gave a lecture I felt like I was giving it to the middle of the class,” Johnston said.

With a flipped classroom, Johnston feels like she really gets to know each student’s strength and weakness.

“I have seen some kids just grow, leaps and bounds,” Johnston said. “They are confident and scoring better on tests.”

The kids are able to watch the video lesson in their own environment.  If they need more time with the material, they are able to slow down the video and even rewind.  For the students who have mastered the material, they can go forward.

“It allows me to have more freedom in class. Apply more things,” Johnston said.

She admits, it takes some time getting used to and it may not be a good fit for every subject.

“In my class, I can do many things at the same time,” Johnston said. “We are all on the same topic, but just at what pace can we go.”

In the Mercer Island School District, all 8th graders are issued an iPad.  The students log on to the district’s website and pull up the lesson from home.

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