Effectively Flipping Grammar


My ELA curriculum is crammed-packed with so much to do with little time to do it. Reading and writing workshop is delivered face-to-face so I have relied on the creative use of technology to cover all of the grammar material that is required for 5th grade. Flipping the grammar curriculum has enabled me to cover the required skills and establish a level of independence in my learners. I use a Learning Management System (LMS) through PowerSchool that allows my curriculum to be organized and accessible from a laptop, phone, or iPad. Google Classroom is a free LMS that can be used to manage online curriculum as well.

My students begin each part of their grammar unit by watching an instructional tutorial that I created using Powtoon.  They take notes and bring them to class the following day for discussion before applying what they have learned in context.  This frees me from lecturing in front of the class and wasting valuable time. The tutorials allow the students to review the material as much as needed, whenever needed. It doesn’t confine learning to the four walls of the classroom. The following provides more detailed steps of the process that is followed for flipping grammar:

On day one, my students always begin a unit by watching a teacher-created tutorial that introduces the material for that unit. It allows them to review any previously learned skills as well as have the opportunity to explore any new skills. They take notes which are allowed to be used on the diagnostic. I always tell them that I am testing them before I teach them to see where they are with their understanding because there is such a wide range in their ability levels. If they have already mastered the skills, it makes sense for them to learn something new or apply those skills in a fun, creative, and enriching way.

On day two, the open-note diagnostic is provided through the LMS. I primarily use multiple choice and fill in the blank. The results of 80 and above will indicate the students who will qualify for testing out of the unit. They are given an opportunity to study an additional day for the final test and confer with me as needed. Ninety percent accuracy and above shows that they have mastered the content and will be able to work independently in a parallel class as they go deeper with their understanding as they apply their skills designing, creating, and developing review games or writing that can be published.

On the following days, the students who test out of the unit have options for apply the skills that they have mastered in a critical and creative way. They can write a proposal or they can select on the teacher choice for freelance writing, grammar review games (board games or technology), or Storybirds. The remainder of the students begin to navigate their way through the unit as they watch an instructional tutorial on a specific grammar skill, take notes, and prepare to apply their knowledge in context. I use the LMS calendar to post links to the assignments in which they are responsible for completing on a daily basis.

The number of days that it takes to complete the grammar unit depends on the amount of content and skills within the unit. With each practice, I always provide the answer key which allows them to take ownership of their learning and develop independence in the classroom. I serve as a guide and confer on a “as needed” basis. Because I keep track of their progress, it allows me to closely monitor who is struggling with the skills and/or independence.

After they practice and check their answers, they take a checking-in which is a quick assessment that gives them immediate feedback on where they are with their understanding. They always follow this with reflections of what they missed and why they missed it, seeking help from me as needed. If they don’t show success of 75% or higher, they are then required to complete extra practice to help solidify their understanding.

For each unit, I have 3-4 final assessments: one being the diagnostic (for testing before I teach), one for testing out of the unit, one for the students who navigate the unit from beginning to end, and an extra for retesting when a student doesn’t show success.

Overall, the implementation of the flip method in the classroom has been pretty successful. The process has certainly allowed the students to develop a sense of independence and a level of responsibility for one’s own learning. The feedback from the students has been very positive, for the animation within the instructional tutorials provides visual cues for enhancing their learning, the voice over helps the auditory learner, and note-taking aids the kinesthetic learners.

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Kim Pruitt

Post author: Kim Pruitt

I am currently a 5th grade ELA teacher at Presbyterian Day School implementing technology for a blended learning environment. I received an Elementary Education Degree at Mississippi College and my Masters in Instructional Design and Technology at the University of Memphis. I have attended Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero and I use thinking routines through digital writing, collaboration, and reflection to develop deeper cognitive learning.

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