This article has been written by a guest author. If you’re an educator or music industry professional who is interested in contributing an article to the Midnight Music blog, you can apply here.
Welcome to another blog post written by a guest author. The author of today’s article is Mallory Martin – a music teacher from St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Mallory has her own excellent blog – Mrs Martin’s Music Room – where she shares lessons, information, resources and tips. I encourage you all to take a look at it!
In this article, Mallory shares a her tips for incorporating the flipped classroom model into your teaching.
– Katie Wardrobe
What is a “flipped classroom”?
Flipped classrooms have been a popular concept in education for a while now, but it never really seemed do-able for us in elementary music.
It’s a great concept: students watch pre-recorded lecture videos at home, then spend class time doing homework under the guidance and supervision of their teacher. This worked great for subjects that require a teacher-led lesson followed by individual student work, such as math or social studies. However, this didn’t really work for music classes because we typically don’t use the lecture-homework model.
How I flipped my keyboard unit (and the positive effect it had)
A few years ago, I began incorporating iPads in my keyboarding unit and a fellow teacher pointed out to me I had a flipped classroom. What?!? Yes! A flipped classroom in elementary music.
What I realized was that we simply need to expand our understanding of what “flipped” can mean. If we look closely at the flipped concept, we can see what’s really at work here: the teacher is using time more efficiently so attention can be devoted to students. There is no need for a teacher to be up in front of a classroom delivering content when that content could be accessed independently by the students. With this understanding of the flipped concept as simply a way to maximize classroom time, it opens up our opportunities to apply it to the music classroom.
What I was doing was making a series of short videos teaching kids how to play a song on their keyboards. I had a small collection of iPads in my classroom (only four iPads), which students were allowed to borrow during class. They would watch the video of the song, then go back to their keyboards and play the song. They loved it and it was very successful!
Students were highly motivated to play their songs, and achievement improved when compared to past years. I am so happy I tried this because flipping helped bring greater rates of academic success to my students.
The videos are made by myself in my classroom during my prep time. It was front-heavy as far as the workload, but it paid off in future years when my lesson planning was already done and I saved my voice from having to teach the exact same thing (multiple times in the case of classes that rotate). Here is one of the videos I made of the keyboard unit: