Get Your Students In Front of a Device.

Finding a device for your students can range from easy to nearly impossible depending on your situation. Odds are though, you can schedule a time to at least get a handful of devices into your classroom. The real challenge becomes what do you do once you have the devices in front of your students?


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The above model shows the “natural progression” a teacher makes as he/she begins to use more technology. The basic idea here is that the higher you go up, the more impact technology has on the delivery of the lesson and/or activity.

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Keep It Simple

If you are new to using technology and/or flipping the classroom, you are going to want to keep things simple. Think of an activity that you can simply use a tech tool instead of pen and paper. Many teachers use Google Presentations instead of flashcards or play a review game of some kind using a template they found online. I used the jeopardy game from early in my career. Seriously, I am not saying you need to learn how to code and create a mobile app in your first lesson. Simply swap out a pen and paper activity with something you can do online. This would fall under the “substitution” area of the SAMR model above.

My Story

When I began to use technology, I knew I could not just flip my class overnight. I set out to learn as much as possible on how I could differentiate my instruction, so I decided to focus on how I assessed my students. I remember substituting a 3 question exit slip students would normally fill out on paper with an online quiz. I made a list of items that I wanted to evaluate during this. I was pretty excited because I set it up so that the computer would do the grading instantly. I remember that it was on a Friday and I was thrilled that I would not spend any time grading these over the weekend (I currently do ZERO school work on the weekends or at home unless I WANT to) and was almost giddy with excitement over this. I also had the following questions going through my mind:

  • What tech issues occurred and could I prevent them in the future?
  • What did the quiz look like on the students’ end?
  • Was the data easy to analyze?
  • Did I choose the best device?
  • What steps should I take next?
  • And of course analyzing the data from the actual exit slip 😉

My Results – Dumpster Fire



Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I chose to have the students take the assessment on Chromebooks which would have been great if the students could have remembered how to log into them. I had to look up individual passwords for over a dozen students which took way more time than I had planned. This led to many of my students not finishing the quiz or rushing through it, so there went my data. Many of the Chromebooks also kept trying to connect to the wifi of a church next door to the school which caused issues. I also got to hear about a misspelled word I had in an answer choice all day because I could not figure out how to fix it (#facepalm).

I remember going up to my principal and telling her how disastrous it was. I was so fortunate to have a supportive administration early in my career. I told her that it was definitely a learning experience and I would not give up. There is a saying that in order to have 2 successes, you need to fail 8 times. I have definitely had my “failures”, but as long as you learn something from the experience then it can not really be called a failure can it?

Fast forward to a few weeks later and I had a solution to each of those problems. I had a better handle of how much time it took my students to complete an exit slip. The students began to memorize their passwords. I called our great IT people who then blocked the church wifi so our Chromebooks would only acknowledge the school’s, and I also learned how to edit questions during a quiz (still use this feature quite a bit haha).

My Quick Advice

  • Have students save work on some kind of cloud-based platform. Google Drive is great for this!
  • Screencasting your lecture or notes is a great start. This allows students to take in the information at their own pace. Below is a link to the program screencast-o-matic that I use and recommend all the time. Super simple to use!
Super simple program to create screencasts to digitize your lectures.
  • It is also helpful if you ask the students to bring headphones. I recommend purchasing some extras if you. I recommend the pack below. They are easy to clean and pretty durable. Don’t get me wrong. Students will always find a way to break things (#thisiswhywecanthavenicethings), but I have found success with these. I only give these out as loaners and students have to give me something of theirs (usually a shoe) in order to get a pair.

  • I also recommend Chromebooks of some kind over tablets for most activities. The simple reason here is I believe getting used to using a device with a keyboard will better serve them down the road. I do not know of a single business owner that runs everything he/she does through a tablet, so I believe this will help set them up for success later in life. That being said, I do use tablets from time to time as they can add quite a bit of value to your instruction.

Your Challenge

Figure out what devices are available to you and what is the simplest way of implementing them into your class. Remember, setting up a small station of a handful devices that students can rotate to is a great start!

Happy Flipping!

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Mindset to Mastering The Classroom Flip

Let’s talk about the mindset of a teacher for a bit. Whether you are just beginning the process of flipping your class or are an experienced old pro at it, there is one thing that could make or break your efforts: Mindset.

The best resource I have found regarding mindset and goal setting would be the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I have added the link to the book below. You will find I like to share products that have impacted me, and this book has had a profound one. I have taken many of the principles from this book and applied them to my life in and out of the classroom. This book is not written for just educators, but you will find it is quite applicable to what we do.

Mastering Mindset?

“Mastery lies on an infinite continuum. As a result, we will never reach the end.”Chris Matakas-

Mastery is an ongoing process that constantly builds on the basics while gaining new skills along the way. Do you want to know what separates good from great and great from best? The best people in their respective fields never stop improving.  The defining factor is how a person views mastery.

Riding a Bike Downhill vs. Climbing a Plateau 

So often people have a goal in mind and they stop learning and improving once they achieve it. Don’t get me wrong. You need to celebrate victories! Take a few moments and pat yourself on the back, but then form a new goal. Do not allow yourself to be the person who has worked so hard and then plateau. Keller says that instead of setting goals, you should live by themes. Living by a “theme” will then lead you down a path of constant improvement and learning.  Think of it as riding a bike down a hill. The hardest part is getting on the bike and starting the movement. Once you get over this obstacle, then you need little effort to keep your balance and continue moving.

When you view mastery as riding a bike downhill seeking constant improvement, then you will begin to pick up other skills along the way that will help you live your theme more easily.

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Keep It Stupid Simple!

“Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.”Thomas Mann-

Focus on one thing (hints the title of the book) at a time. This is how Keller outlines the process. I made a few changes to direct more towards teaching.

  • What’s the one thing you want to accomplish in your classroom some day?
  • What does this look like 5 years from now?
  • A year?
  • What can you do this month to achieve this? Week? Today?

Behind the Scenes of Building Great Lesson Plans of a Flipped Classroom

My Mindset Story

My one-day goal/theme is pretty simple: I just want to lead a successful classroom. That is it. Problem is that is not the easiest thing to accomplish. For starters, this goal is a little vague and needs more detail to accomplish, so I placed my focus in one area of my teaching: Differentiation.

My one focus is to differentiate instruction every day. This has led me to some big milestones, but I know there are still more areas I can improve and am excited to continue the journey. I started learning more about how teachers differentiate by talking to colleagues in my building. I also wanted to see what they did to get their students motivated. This brought me to learning our district learning management system (LMS), Class Dojo (go to to learn more about how you can put a fun spin on behavior management for free) and implementing Learning Zones. I learned the SAMR model and began the slow process of using more technology in my classroom.

Once I thought I had pretty well flipped the classroom, I saw many positives, but still was not satisfied with results. I began surveying students to see what they enjoyed doing in and out of the classroom. I analyzed what activities brought the most success and searched what other teachers enjoyed doing in their classroom.

What I found

When student interests line up with the way they take in new information, then incredible things happen. So simple, but also so challenging.

Things to Keep In Mind

The following list is again based off of The One Thing. Seriously peeps, you need to read this book!

  • Start saying “no” – remember when you say no to something, you are really saying yes to your “ONE thing”
  • Accept Chaos – When you make changes, there will be loose ends that can throw you off your focus. This kind of chaos in unavoidable. Make peace with it and learn to deal with it.
  • Manage your energy – your health can not be sacrificed in an attempt to be more successful. “You can not pour from an empty cup.”
  • Take control of your surroundings – find the right people and environment that will support you.
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Adjust Your Mindset

Stop what you are doing and write down your “One Thing.” A powerful thing happens when you take something from inside your head to pen and paper – It becomes real! Now think how you are going to get there and what you can do today to help you get there.

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What do you do to keep the right mindset? Leave a comment below and feel free to post any questions you may have!

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What Does It Mean to “Flip a Class” Anyway?

The simplified definition of a flipped classroom would be when a teacher gives more “control” to the students on how they learn new skills and concepts. Instead of giving a daily lecture, students can view this as a video in an environment they choose. This allows more class time to be given to various learning activities such as projects, labs, discussions, and small group or one-on-one instruction.

Does it Work?

HECK TO THE YEAH IT WORKS! I began flipping my class in 2014 taking small baby steps. I began to see the potential almost immediately . Fast forward to the present day, and I have students digging deeper into content than I have ever had before. I do not give homework (more on that in your free gift you receive for subscribing) and yet I have students completing assignments and projects on Friday nights as soon as they get home, because they actually WANT to. Students are in more control for how they take in new learning. This allows me to spend more time working with small groups or one-on-one with students in class.  I am constantly building and forming strong relationships with my students. This has led to fewer discipline problems, students are more involved in day-to-activities, and a greater sense of ownership by the students for their personalized learning experience.

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How Can You Get Started?

Simple -Research like crazy and ask teachers who have experience in flipping their classrooms. The good news is you are on this page and I am here to help. Please subscribe to the site by providing your best email address.  I am also in the middle of developing a FREE 7 step course on how to flip your class. Once completed, all of the subscribers will receive a free copy of the course. Don’t worry, I will not share your email out as I know how annoying it is to get a bunch of spam email.  Here is the best part! If you ever have a question, comment or concern, simply reply to the email which will be sent to my personal email where we can begin an on-going dialogue. So, check back as I plan on launching the course sometime this summer. 

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How I Started

I remember when our administration shared to us about plans to have more students in front of technology. I have always viewed technology as a magnify glass in that it will enhance what you are doing. Notice that I did not say having technology makes you a good teacher. If you are the kind of teacher that works hard to meet the needs of your students, then having more tech in your room will enhance your ability to do so.

I began to research the idea and came across this article from US News. The part that stood at to me the most was the following:

“New data from the program given to U.S. News shows the bottom third of students’ grades were more than 10 percent higher than in a traditional classroom (the difference between a D+ and a C) and more than 3 percent higher for the class as a whole (moving from a C+ to a B-).”

That is when I began to reflect on my own experience with using technology in the classroom both as a teacher and as a student growing up. The sad truth was that I had a limited experience at best. As a student, I remember a computer was pretty much used only for writing papers. As a teacher, I only gave my students computers to play review games or at best create a presentation on a topic.

I felt a bit stumped until I remembered the first time I heard of flipping a class. I was in college and was researching “inquiry based” learning. I wanted to be a science teacher (currently am one) and knew that I needed to do something during my student teaching that would make me stand out. The research on inquiry based teaching was pretty new at the time (circa 2007ish when Fergie told the world big girls don’t cry), but I was fortunate as one of the leading researchers was a professor at  Ohio State University-Marion and I was already signed up to take his physics class during the upcoming quarter.  I had an “OK” experience in that class. There were components that I felt were flawed, and others that I thought were full of potential.

Later on in Grad School, I had a professor that assigned our cohort to read various educational peer reviewed articles (sounds like a fun time doesn’t it?). The assignment had potential to really be a dud, but the professor put a spin on it. Instead of taking a quiz or giving a book report style presentation on it, we could show her what we learned in any way we chose. This spoke to my creative personality. A couple of buddies and I set out on a mission to dominate this assignment that was only worth 10 points. We ended up making music videos from old songs from the 90s (a.k.a. the best era for music), cartoons and even pranked our cohort. That is a long story for maybe a different post in the future, but the bottom line is that having the freedom to choose how we were going to be assessed led to a much more impactful learning experience.

Your Challenge

Think about what prior knowledge and experiences you have to build from. Are there teachers who have flipped classrooms in your building or network that you can reach out to? Feel free to reach out to me as I respond to all comments and emails ( if there is something I can help you with. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Have fun and enjoy the process of flipping your class!

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