Big Ideas Fest 2010, I’m still mining their site for cool stuff–and waiting for all the videos of the presentations to be available so I can share them.

I found this recent article by one of my favorite thinkers, Daniel Pink (author of A Whole New Mind and Drive).  It is about an idea he’s calling “Flip Thinking,” where you take a process that is normall done in one direction and find a way to flip it.  His example in education is here:

“However, instead of lecturing about polynomials and exponents during class time – and then giving his young charges 30 problems to work on at home – Fisch has flipped the sequence. He’s recorded his lectures on video and uploaded them to YouTube for his 28 students to watch at home. Then, in class, he works with students as they solve problems and experiment with the concepts. Lectures at night, “homework” during the day. Call it the Fisch Flip.”

I’m turning this over, wondering how I might use the idea in my own classroom.  I don;t lecture that much–I usually ellicit responses from students right away, but it would be interesting to try something like this–asking them to prepare at home, and have the experience and practice in the classroom.

One way I do flip a process is in a writing program I call Writing Outloud.  Instead of teaching essay structure first, then have students create the proper pieces one by one, I have them try out ideas, and work on elaborating on them in different ways.  Then they find their big idea, and write more on it.  Finally they shape the essay into the proper structure.  I find that, although some students never get to that perfect structure, the writing is full of meaning and voice.  When you teach structure first, you often get a lot of…b.s… that is structured “correctly.”


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