by Barbi Honeycutt, PhD, Faculty Focus: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/blended-flipped-learning/flipped-classroom-unplugged-three-tech-free-strategies-engaging-students/
Throughout this summer article series,
we’ve addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about the
flipped classroom in higher education.
We’ve shared ideas for student
motivation, student engagement, time management, student resistance, and
large classes. Since this is the final article in the series, I
reviewed my notes and the findings from the Faculty Focus reader survey on flipped classroom trends (2015), and there’s one more topic we need to address: creativity.
“I don’t know if I’m creative enough to flip my class. How do you
keep coming up with new teaching strategies and tools to engage
students during class time?”
In almost every workshop I teach, at least one participant asks me this question. And, the findings from the Faculty Focus
reader survey highlight the scope of this concern among educators.
Almost 79% of the survey respondents indicated that “being creative and
developing new strategies and ideas” was sometimes, often, or always a
challenge when implementing the flipped classroom model.
By design, the flipped classroom model challenges you to plan
activities and learning experiences where students focus on applying,
analyzing, and evaluating course content during class time. It does take
a certain amount of creativity to flip your classroom, but it doesn’t
have to be intimidating. You can flip your class using simple strategies
that allow for students to interact with the material and engage with
For example, lately, I’ve been exploring
the idea of flipping moments in our classes without using technology. What would happen if we got back to the basics with some of our
activities and used everyday tools to engage students in higher levels
of thinking? Would this help some of us overcome some of these feelings
of intimidation and inspire us to be more creative? To start the
conversation and get the creative ideas flowing, here are three
“unplugged” flipped strategies you can add to your class to engage
Flipped Strategy: Adaptation of Muddiest Point
Tool: Index Cards
“Muddiest Point” is a classroom assessment technique that
allows students the opportunity to tell you what they are still confused
or unclear about from the lesson (Angelo and Cross, 1993). Ask students
to write their “muddiest point” on an index card. You may want to
specifically focus their attention on the material from today’s lecture,
yesterday’s lab, last night’s homework, or any other learning
experience you want them to examine.
After your students complete the
task, divide them into groups and tell them to analyze the cards based
on some set of criteria. Ask them to look for patterns, common themes,
categories, or outliers. Note how this adaptation of the Muddiest Point
activity challenges students to move beyond just explaining what they
don’t understand and into the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They
are now summarizing, sorting, analyzing, and evaluating the cards while
looking for connections and themes.
Bonus idea: After students sort the cards, challenge them to find the
answers together. If you want to keep things “unplugged,” tell them
they can only use their textbook, hand-written notes, or other printed
Flipped Strategy: Mind Mapping
Tools: Sticky Notes, Whiteboard, Markers
Give each pair or group of students a stack of sticky notes and
ask them to go to the whiteboard or chalkboard. Assign a topic related
to the course material and challenge students to create a mind map of
the topic using only their sticky notes. Explain that they can only put
one idea on each sticky note, but they can use as many sticky notes as
they need. Encourage them to use markers or chalk to draw lines and make
connections between the ideas/concepts so you can see how their mind
map is organized. By using sticky notes, it’ll be easier for the
students to change their maps based on new ways of thinking.
Bonus idea: If you assign all groups the same topic, then you can ask
them to rotate around the room and compare and contrast the different
mind maps. You could give each group a different colored sticky note so
they can add to another group’s mind map, almost like a gallery walk but
with sticky notes.
Flipped Strategy: Brainstorming Challenge
Tools: Pair of Dice, Worksheet
Give students a case study, question, or problem that benefits
from brainstorming. Then, divide students into groups and give each
group a pair of six-sided dice. Tell students to roll the dice, and
whatever number they roll represents the number of answers they need to
For example, if they roll a four and a five, they need to
brainstorm nine possible solutions. If they roll a pair of sixes, they
need to brainstorm 12 possible solutions. Give them a worksheet to
record their ideas. Once groups have completed their challenge, ask them
to switch their worksheets with another group and review their lists.
This could be the beginning of a class discussion, or you could go
another round and see how many more ideas students can add to another
Bonus idea: At the end of this activity, ask students to review all
of the ideas, select the top two best solutions, and justify their
Hopefully these unplugged flipped strategies will inspire you to be
creative in your own way. Your flipped classroom may not look like your
colleague’s flipped classroom, and that’s okay. It’s not a
“one-size-fits-all” approach. There isn’t one “right” way to flip your
class. The most important takeaway is to use the tools and strategies
that make the flipped model work for you and your students.
Thank you for following the series this summer. I hope I have
addressed many of your questions about the flipped model, and I look
forward to hearing from you!
Now it’s your turn! What “unplugged” flipped strategies have you used in your classes to enhance student engagement?
Angelo, T. & Cross, P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. 2nd edition. Jossey-Bass.
Honeycutt, B. (July 7, 2016). Three ways you can use index cards
to FLIP your class: Another “unplugged” flipped strategy. Published on
LinkedIn. Available online: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-ways-you-can-use-index-cards-flip-your-class-barbi-honeycutt-ph-d-?trk=mp-author-card
Barbi Honeycutt is the owner of FLIP It Consulting in Raleigh,
N.C. and an adjunct assistant professor at NC State University. Her new
book 101 Unplugged Flipped Strategies to Engage Your Students. Connect on Twitter @BarbiHoneycutt and on her blog.