Whenever I train teachers on the Flipped Classroom Model, I’m always asked the same questions. “What do you do if your students do not complete the homework?” or “What do you do if students do not have access to the internet and/or devices at home?” These are valid questions and concerns. Homework completion and online access must be a consideration when teachers decide whether or not the flipped classroom is a viable model.

For those teachers who don’t feel they can successfully flip instruction for homework, I recommend the in-class flip. This is a variation on the traditional approach to the flipped classroom, which pulls both the online transfer of information and the application/practice into the classroom.

Colleen in-class flip

Recently on Twitter, I was asked, “Doesn’t the in-class flip defeat the purpose of the flipped classroom?” I don’t think so. The original intention of the flipped classroom was to allow students some control over the time, place, and pace of their learning. If they are able to watch a video at home, they can pause, rewind, or rewatch the video and pace their own learning in a way that isn’t possible when a teacher is lecturing or explaining information in class.

3 reasons the in-class flip is worth trying: 

1. Students still control the pace of their learning. 

Many teachers still march lock-step through lectures, mini-lessons, and PowerPoint presentations with the entire class. This approach provides students with one opportunity to get the information. The pacing is the same for everyone; even though, students write and process information at different rates. If they fall behind in their notes, they may miss important details or facts. If teachers record their presentations and allowed students to watch them at their own pace in class, then students can still pause, rewind, ask a question, or look up a word to better understand the information being presented. Those videos are also available online anytime for students who want to revisit the information.

2. Teachers are free to circulate and support students as they work. 

The in-class flip frees teachers from the trap of talking at the front of the room and allows them the opportunity to move away from a one-size-fits-all lesson. As students watch videos, the teacher can move around the room answering questions and troubleshooting with students who need it. Even the clearest video or lecture will spark questions for some learners, so these one-on-one conversations can help clarify complex concepts. (Click here for more on avoiding the one-size-fits-all classroom.)

3. Students can still apply the information in class with their peers. 

I’ve always said the magic of the flipped classroom lies not the information that is flipped or the media used to flip it. Instead, the magic is what happens in the classroom when the time created by shifting the transfer of information online is used to engage students in collaborative application and practice. To effectively create this time in class for student-centered practice, teachers must be thoughtful about the design of their lesson. It’s best to employ a Whole Group Rotation, if you have devices for every student, or a Station Rotation Model, if you have limited access to devices, to set up an in-class flip that both allows time for students to self-pace through the video or online information and work collaboratively with peers to practice applying that information. When teachers are able to balance these two elements of the lesson, they are free to shift from the role of a facilitator or coach supporting students as they work to apply information.

If you want specific strategies, resources, and lesson templates to design a Flipped Classroom (or in-class flip), Whole Group Rotation, or Station Rotation lesson, check out my newest book Blended Learning in Action! It’s available on Corwin & Amazon.

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30 Responses

  1. I am going to try this method of the in-class flip this coming yeat…summer planning time now to do a video lesson for a unit! Thanks, Catlin!

  2. Hi Catlin, what you describe as in-class flip sounds like what others have been calling Blended Learning. Is there a distinction you see or is it just an overlapping phrase?

    • Hi Marcy,

      The in-class flip is a variation on the flipped classroom, which is a blended learning model. It is one of several ways a teacher can blend online and in-class work.


      • This reminds of my college days when I would record my classes on my little mini-cassette recorder. I would listen to the lecture in my dorm room or in the library on headphones. I could rewind things, look up words, look up what the professor was referring to, etc..

  3. […] Whenever I train teachers on the Flipped Classroom Model, I’m always asked the same questions. “What do you do if your students do not complete the homework?” or “What do you do if students do not have access to the internet and/or devices at home?” These are valid questions and concerns. Homework completion and online access must be a consideration when teachers decide whether or not the flipped classroom is a viable model.  […]

    • Hi Maria,

      It depends what you are looking for. My first book, Blended Learning in Grades 4-12, is a great resource for any teacher just getting started with blended learning who may not have school-wide support. It provides strategies and resources for creating a safe space online, engaging students in dynamic asynchronous discussions, and weaving that online work back into the classroom.

      My second book Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with Technology is a resource designed to support English, history, and science teachers shifting to the Common Core. It provides “outside of the box” ideas for teaching reading, writing, research, speaking & listening, etc. using technology.

      My newest book, Blended Learning in Action, speaks to both leaders and teachers. It has chapters that detail each blended learning model with specific explanations for how to design lessons, strategies for mitigating challenges, example lessons, etc.

      I hope that helps!


  4. I’m currently working to acquire 8 Chromebooks for my classroom. I look forward to trying out the either the Station Rotation or the Whole Class model depending on available technology. Thanks!

  5. I have always been intrigued with the idea of a flipped classroom, but struggled with the lack of devices and willingness of students to do the homework. I like the suggestions of the in class flip and the station rotation model.

  6. I have been getting positive feedback from my 9th graders with my newly-adopted approach to grammar instruction. Study Sync has upped their game recently with grammar skills lessons, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to switch up my approach. I’m having a great time experimenting with blended learning. Thank you for inspiring me at CATE!

    • Hi Melinda,

      I’m thrilled you’re enjoying StudySync. It’s nice to have an ELA program that’s evolving. I’m loving the new grammar (and reading comprehension) questions.

      Take care.

  7. I like the idea that students can control the pace of their learning and re-watch the lessons as needed. I guess it is still hard to believe that students that really need to watch the lesson more than once really will. But it is definitely worth trying. I teach third grade. At what grade level do you think is the most beneficial age or grade to start Blended learning?

    • I honestly think all grade levels can benefit from blended learning models that get closer to personalizing their learning experience, Brenda. I teach 9/10 but I coach teachers at all levels of elementary. It’s amazing to see 1st and 2nd grade students move through a “free flow” station rotation lesson!


  8. Caitlin, what tool would you recommend to someone never made a video? Any tips/things to avoid when making a video ?

    • Hi Karen,

      I just use QuickTime, a free program on my mac. I don’t even edit my videos. Screencastify is a fantastic Chrome Extension if you are working on a PC or Chromebook.


  9. Thanks for the information Catlin! I started the in-class flip with a class of at-risk students in my Bio class this year. The students were very happy to not have any homework. The best part of the in-class flip however, is the instant feedback I. An give my students. Assignments are graded with the student present, and misconceptions are addressed immediately. The benefit of that is obvious for the student, but for the teacher, it means I don’t have to take papers home to grade. No homework for me he students, and no homework for the teacher. It’s a win-win.

  10. I think Blended learning is most useful with ESL student at Secondary school. They will be more engaged in their learning at their own pace and they will not be intimidated with the amount of information we present to them at so little time. .In this video Blended Learning has been defined vey efficiently and it provides several examples.
    We must use every possible tool to engage our students so they can be successful.

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