Kindergarten Teacher

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Flipping In Kindergarten: Connecting Home and School

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Photo Credit Nick Moise

One question I get asked often is about flipping my Kindergarten class. If you have never heard about a flipped class read more about it here. The quick answer is I don’t flip my class for my students. I simply haven’t seen a need for this for my young kids. What I have been doing the last few years is flipping my class for the parents by using a classroom blog. This might not be flipping in the true sense of the word but it is as close as I have come. My goal is to use blog posts and videos to help parents understand the learning that is happening in our classroom. With that knowledge my hope is parents can support or even expand on that learning at home. I believe that informing parents about our learning is important at all levels, but especially for young kids.

My main focus on our classroom blog is the vocabulary we are using in our lessons. I really try to keep the wording short and sweet (mainly to make it easier on me) while still using the vocabulary from our learning. My goal is to post at least twice a day. This may seem overwhelming but one way this is possible for me is I use the Blogger app. This app (all main blogging platforms have apps) allows me to post as things are happening directly from my phone. I can take pictures, add a few sentences and publish in less than a minute. I found a good guide to using the blogger app HERE. Pictures also make blogging simple, they are worth a thousand words after all.

This year our classroom blog is off to a great start. After three days we have 14 posts, 1,000 page views (all from parents) and 15 comments from 8 different families. I always start the year by posting about the basics of our day. I want parents to know what library check-out looks like, about literacy centers, where we sit for lunch, etc. After I have shared most every aspect of our day I then focus on sharing our learning and the fun that happens daily.

Today I was reminded why I try so hard to make our blog a space that supports learning when I got this message from a parent  “Johnny was excited about the sign “spider web”. On our drive he pointed out all of the signs that were part of the class “spider web”. Now I understand!” What she is talking about is the word web we posted yesterday on our blog about signs (see below). Her son called them spider webs and she was able to understand what he was referring to because of our blog. I wonder how often the kids remember just enough to start a conversation but not enough to help their parent understand. This is where sharing our learning can be such a great tool for parents.

A couple of tech tools that we use often for sharing our learning are Skitch, Popplet and Educreations. All three of these tools are FREE apps and also available for FREE as a web based tool for the computer. One of my goals this year is to use Educreations more to create videos to share with parents. Since Educreations offers the ability to embed the video directly into our blog it is a great tool to use for this purpose.

sign word web

20 Responses to Flipping In Kindergarten: Connecting Home and School

  1. Jen says:

    Hi Matt,

    I use my classroom blog in a similar way to you. I find that it is a great way to `invite’ the parents into the classroom to see what the learning looks (and sounds) like! We also use the blog as part of our literacy session – we read the post and revisit the learning, we work on writing quality comments and always check the visitor count! I have found this year more difficult to post though as I am only on class three days and feel that I need to write a more detailed post. But …..You have just inspired me to try a blogger app and keep my posts a little more simple (and frequent). I was wondering though – would it possible for you to share your class blog here? It would be great to have a look and see how your blog works.

    Thanks for the ongoing sharing Matt – you do a great job. I always notice your revolver map is loaded with people from around the world whenever I visit!! :)

  2. Roxanne says:

    I haven’t been able to post any pictures yet because we have to have all parents sign a release to publish pictures or original work. I am still waiting on several. Do you not have to get a release?

    • Matt Gomez says:

      Yes I do get a release from every parent at meet the teacher or on the first day. I give them three options: permission to post images of their child, permission to post images if their child with obscured face or no pictures at all. All but three gave full permission originally. Since the those three have also given permission for pictures.

  3. Roxanne says:

    Oh and I too would love a chance to see your class blog!!

  4. Ooh! More ideas to copy! I want you to know that I do share with my colleagues way up here in MN and give you the credit. I have heard from my teacher friends who are parents that this is exactly what they want to see–what the day looks like for their kids. Lunch, book checkout, centers…things that seem mundane to me but help them “see” their children’s day and give them something to talk about.

  5. Dude seriously? You are one of my educational heroes. You do such amazing things and inspire me on a daily basis. I am so glad that you are a part of my PLN and that I get to continue to learn from you and the amazing things you do for your students. Keep up the great work friend!

  6. Hi Matt, I’ve started reading your blog and would like to chat. In terms of flipping elementary school classrooms, I agree that it’s quite different than the standard example which is upper school math where Khan Academy or whatever is a pretty good starting point for lectures. Nevertheless, what are the possibilities for using technology to recover class time for the teacher to spend more time teaching. We just wrote on this over at VocabularySpellingCity. http://www.spellingcity.com/flipped-classroom.html . Have you heard of us?

    john, founder and mayor, VocabularySpellingCity

    • Matt Gomez says:

      John, thanks for commenting. Yes I have heard of the site and my own boys have used it often to help study for spelling words. I see value in what you have shared but my philosophy for young kids is that they don’t need any homework, especially in Kindergarten. I want my students to go home and play and explore. My homework is typically along the lines of this -> http://mattbgomez.com/9-things-to-do-during-spring-break/ I know your angle is more about helping teachers that do assign things but wanted you to be aware of my thinking. I hope you will keep reading my site and commenting, the more tools a teachers has to consider the better!

  7. Arin Kress says:

    Really great post Matt! I love your idea about short blog posts daily!

  8. Hello Matt,
    I’m Savannah, and I’m new to reading your blog! I’m a student at the University of South Alabama, and I’m studying to become a math & music teacher someday. I’m currently part of a class called EDM 310, which teaches us how to take full advantage of what technology has to offer, and introduces us to different ways that it can be used in the classroom. You can check out our EDM 310 class blog here if you’d like! I’ll be featuring some of your blogposts over on my <a href="http://rhodessavannahedm310.blogspot.com&quot; student blog in a few weeks, and sharing with my classmates all of the awesome things you are doing in your classroom! I’m glad I was able to check out your post because it introduced me to the idea of “flipping a classroom”. This is something I’ve never heard of before, but will definitely be keeping in mind for after I graduate. I love how you’ve taken the idea of flipping a classroom, and done this for the parents in your class through your class blog. It sounds like it’s been a huge success so far! I’ll be sure to check out some of those apps you mentioned also! I can’t wait to read about more of the things that you are doing in your classroom.

  9. Steve Borthwick says:

    Great post Matt! I really enjoy reading and sharing your ‘stuff’ with my teachers ‘down under’. Keep up the great work.

  10. John Edelson says:

    Matt. Just read your nine things to do for homework. Great stuff, no disagreements with me there. And while I thought when i created the site that it was for home study, it turns out that is a minority of the use.

    VocabularySpellingCity is mostly used during the school day. Many teachers use it as one of the centers when they are rotating around literacy centers. So the teacher is doing small group instruction with one group, another group is reading, a third group is doing paper-based desk work, and the fourth center is VocabularySpellingCity. They use us to automate learning and studying the words in the first half of the week and for preliminary and final tests in the second half of the week.

    It’s admittedly a stretch to call that flipping the classroom, I believe it’s relevant since the core idea to me is using technology to free the teacher to do more direct small group teaching.

    • Matt Gomez says:

      I am glad that you pointed out that many teachers use the site IN the classroom. I have seen and heard that but of course that didn’t come to mind as I reflected as a K teacher. Sometimes we have to stretch definitions to make them work, that is even what I did by saying flipping in Kindergarten. Again thanks for sharing and commenting. As I said before spellingcity has been wonderful for my own family!

  11. Linda Carter says:

    Ok. Never heard of flipping a classroom. What is your definition? Loved the videos of apps. I downloaded most of them. I’m a special needs teacher and can’t wait to use these.Thank so much for the info.

  12. Lisa Giopulos says:

    Hi Matt
    I definitely want to try flipping for parents more so than the kiddos, like explaining games or tips for reading. When you post student pictures on blogger do you blur faces or just get permission for student photos? Do you just give parents access or can anyone access it from your website?
    Lisa

    • Matt Gomez says:

      I get permission from parents to post their faces on the blog. Sometimes there are a few parents that are hesitant at first and I will blur those kids faces if needed. Every year I end up having permission from 100% once they see how we use the tool. They all want to see their baby in the pictures having fun and learning. My class blog is not protected with a password or require a login. Instead I made sure the blog isn’t searchable (a feature most blog tools offer) This means that it won’t show up on search engines and really the only way to find it online is to know the exact URL

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