Lamar High flipping classrooms upside down

Some students at Lamar High School are now doing the work in the classroom and watching teacher's lectures at home.

When students walk into Ms. Myer's Biology class, they know this won't be another boring lesson.

"I haven't opened my textbook hardly at all this year," said freshman Mackenzie Graham.

There's no more flipping through pages. They're flipping classrooms upside down at Lamar High.

"Not just sitting at a desk listening to a teacher all day anymore," said Kimmie Myers, a biology teacher in HISD.

Here's how it works. Teachers record their lessons on video and upload those online. That way students can access them on any device, at anytime.

"Homework's changed completely," said freshman Noah Scantlebury.

What used to be "homework" now done in class, while the lessons Ms. Myer's used to teach in the classroom are posted online and watched at home.

"The instruction is flipped," she said.

The teachers make some of the videos themselves.

"I don't really like to see my picture at the bottom, so you just hear my voice going through the PowerPoint," said Myers.

HISD also makes videos for teachers to use too.

"Their students love it," said Brooks Straub, Instructional Technologist at Lamar High.

And at Lamar, every student has a laptop. That started in January of this year. It gives equal access to the online lessons.

"That's the easy part," said Myers. "They can stop. They can go at their own pace. They can rewind and when they come to class they can apply the lessons."

That hard part happens in class. Students solve problems or answer complicated questions together. And that's how flipped classrooms are designed. In the past, if students got stuck or couldn't move past a problem, there'd be no one to help at home.

"This kind of alleviates that issue," said Annie Wolf, Officer of Secondary Curriculum and Development.

Now thanks to flipped classrooms, HISD says teachers like Ms. Myers are just one raised hand away.

"You have more individualized instruction," said Myers.

"It eliminates the frustrations students often felt when tackling homework after school.

"I learn a lot better here," said Myers. "I can ask questions when I need to."

But it's parents that are asking questions too.

"It's a change of culture for parenting," said Wolf.

They too are adapting to the new way their kids are learning. Noah Scantlebury says his mom doesn't always believe him when he tells her his homework is really watching a video taped by his teacher.

"She's confused to the fact that we don't get as much homework on paper," said Scantlebury.

It's a 21st century education changing the way teachers teach and more importantly the way students learn.

"They're just used to the old way," said Myers. "Anytime something new comes in, they're like 'oh it's different', but they actually do like it when they get to play games and do fun stuff in class versus just siting in a chair."

HISD says flipped classrooms are the future. Your child's classrooms could be flipping next.


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