George Lucas Educational Foundation

Incorporating PBL into the flipped classroom

Incorporating PBL into the flipped classroom

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Two years ago I attended the training to teach AP Spanish. After a week, I realized that the curriculum at my school needed to improve, and that I needed to find a way to incorporate more listening and speaking activities in class every day. My problem was I wasn't sure how to go about doing it, and since the AP training was the week before school started, I didn't have time to revamp everything I had been doing. My colleague and I worked on making the curriculum more relevant and made the more to thematic units. It took almost an entire year to complete the process. Last year, I embarked on a crazy journey with a science teacher from my school to go to the Flipped Class Conference in Woodland Park. I spent 3 days surrounded my mostly Math and Science teachers, but finally connected with another Foreign Language teacher! After the conference, I realized that flipping my class was the way to find the time that I needed to increase student fluency. It wouldn't look anything like how a Math or Science teacher did it, but I knew I could make it work. At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, the new curriculumWith my new thematic curriculum created, I made videos for my students to watch at home. The videos covered all of the grammar concepts that I normally covered, and I created some vocabulary practice as well. Students did practice in class as well as lots of conversation, listening and reading. The students fluency rate had increased, but I was sure that I could improve my classes even more. That was when I discovered PBL. This summer I have presented about the flipped classroom to a variety of groups, but most notably at the Flipped Class conference in Chicago. There was a ton of discussion about using the "found" class time to introduce PBL rather than other..less focused practice. Now I am in the process of rethinking all of my past assignments and trying focus on PBL in my classroom. I have some crazy ideas for projects, but the element of PBL that I have struggled with is finding an appropriate audience. The last #flipclass chat gave me some great ideas including having students create a piece that describes themselves to me and the class. Also having the students demonstrate their knowledge of our first unit by creating a video/skit to be able to show during Back to School night and email to parents that do not attend. (Since I teach mainly upperclassmen, my attendance is spotty at best!) I am so excited to have joined this group and I look forward to being able to continue to learn from my peers and increase my PLN so that I can be the best facilitator possible in my classroom. If you want to know more about me and my flipped class journey, check out my blog at

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Don Doehla, MA, NBCT's picture
Don Doehla, MA, NBCT
2015 California Language Teacher of the Year, Co-Director Berkeley WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

Thanks for sharing your insights and the link to you blog! I am also looking at flipclass ideas in support of PBL in WL. There are so many applications to our curriculum.

Another Spanish teacher working on flipclass is Emillia Carillo. Her blog is here. She has posted several practical tips for using technology to aid in flipping the WL classroom.

Antone else flipping their WL classes? Let's get a collection of links together and start a deeper discussion. What are you doing? Have you posted anything on a blog or wiki? Post your link and comments below!


Sra. Witten's picture
Sra. Witten
High School Spanish Teacher flipping over the Flipped Class

Are you interested about learning more about the Flipped Classroom in a language class? Sign up for the free webinar "Flipped for Fluency"! If haven't had the chance to complete the survey on my blog to help me shape the content, I have attached that link as well. Hope to "see" you there.

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