Different Models for Flipping Your Class

Many teachers are surprised to find there a different models emerging of the flipped classroom. This is because flipping isn’t really a model, but more of a guiding principle of how (and when) to deliver direct instruction.  In my book, I identified 5 different frameworks of flipping and have since been introduced to a 6th.  I’ve divided them into First Iteration and Second Iterations because, in practice, teachers tend to transition for their First Iteration to their Second Iteration, with the later being more student-centered.  I used a mixture of all.  Don’t feel constrained to one model. The best part about flipped strategies is that they are flexible.

First Iteration Flips

Traditional Flip

This is the flip you hear hyped in the media. The Traditional Flip is frontloading a video of content followed by problems, activities, or writing in class.  It is the entry point to flipping for most teachers.  It is still a teacher-centered model, which gets it criticism. However, for the teacher that is struggling with innovating their classroom or who want to be more student-centered, this is a good place to start as they develop the skills to move on.


Writing Workshop Flip

Another way many teachers, English teachers especially, start in flipping is to modify the Writers Workshop made popular by Lucy Calkins. This is not surprising since many principles of the Writing Workshop are shared by flipped teaching. The Writing Workshop starts with a direct instruction mini-lesson (which is a flip video), followed by writing time in class, and finished with class sharing.  I started with this model because I didn’t have long enough classes for the full Writing Workshop process. Taking mini-lessons to video freed up more class time for students to write and share.

Second Iteration Flips

These are the flips that teachers move into once they’ve decided to move their flip to a different level.


This model is inquiry-based derived from the work of Ramsey Musallam and is a variation of the Explore-Explain-Apply model. The framework consists of the learning cycle beginning with an Exploratory activity. This activity is designed to introduce the topic, evaluate prior knowledge, and instruct through inquiry.  Once the students have reached a point they cannot progress without some direct instruction, a flipped video is made and assigned to help the students.  After sufficient inquiry and practice, the students are moved to an Apply stage which is an assessment.  It could be a project, a writing task, or other forms of skill or content application. If students have the knowledge or are gaining the knowledge on their own, there is no need for the teacher to intervene with flipped instruction. The videos in this model tend to be shorter and more focused on specific content to the needs of each inquiry group.


This model was Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams second iteration of their Flip. The Flip-Mastery model combines flipped videos with mastery instruction. In this model, students can self-pace through the direct instruction content and move on based on mastery standards determined by the teacher. The determination of what qualifies as mastery is the guide for assessment.

Mastery learning is more easily identified in Math and Science classes, because many times there is an explicitly correct answer. When I did Mastery-type units, I used more guided pacing as opposed to full self-pacing, allowing students to work at their own pace but with all the same deadline for assessment completion.

Peer Instruction (PI) Flip

The Peer Instruction model was developed by Eric Mazur at Harvard in the early 1990’s.  He, along with Julie Schell, have advanced the model to also include video instruction.  In the process, students watch a pre-class video or reading.  At the start of the class, the teacher asks a question based on the pre-class video.  The question should be ambiguous enough to spark debate.  Students are then paired with someone that believes a different answer and they are tasked with convincing each other which is correct.  Once the student pairs commit to answers, the teacher reviews the correct answer with the group.  The flip could also come as the explanation piece of the cycle depending on the complexity of the material.

Gamified Flipped

This is a new flip that has emerged over the past year or so.  Teachers are taking elements of gamification (a badge system) and combining it with Mastery-Flip.  Students progress through flip videos and assessments at their own pace, earning badges and levels.  This is still a developing area as not many teachers are using it.  These teachers are using quest-based LMS (3D GameLab) making it easy to insert videos.

The spirit of a Flipped Classroom is innovation and individualization. With that as your guiding principle, there is no limit to the evolution of your classroom.

Image credit: Chris Devers

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