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You Can Be in Five Places at Once – Differentiation Made Easy

by Kelly Del Gatto on October 21, 2014


Creating a Modified Flipped Classroom with Short Recordings

Kelly Del Gatto received her B.S. in Elementary Education in 2010 and just completed her Masters of Education in Educational Technology in March 2014. She will be presenting the session, “How to teach in 5 places at once using an iPad, Educreation, and Edmodo” at the Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference this November in Raleigh, NC.

Have you struggled finding time to work with small groups in your classroom? This was a struggle I was faced with. I knew that I had to get away from whole class teaching and work with small groups. Year after year I was reading science and social studies texts to a whole class because most of my fifth grade students were not reading on grade level. No matter what I did, the advanced students were bored and the pace was still leaving the EC kids behind.


This challenge led me to create simple recordings that would allow leveled groups to listen to me reading the same material I was reading whole class, providing the same added information I would provide, and asking the same questions I would ask of the whole class. The students also view a digital copy of the material that they have in hand and I am able to annotate on the material they are viewing. They can see me modeling how to pick out important details or making notes on the document and the expectation is that if I write it, they write it. The only difference is each group can move at their own pace, pausing and rewinding to replay if needed. Students are still held accountable by being asked to pause and discuss a question posed by me during the recordings, and being required to write their answers down.

So Many Benefits

There are many benefits to recording information for small groups. The obvious is that while I work with a small group face to face I can also be virtually working with any number of other small groups or individuals simultaneously. I record all subject areas, not just science and social studies.

Another really great time saver is recording directions for projects – that way I only have to give them once but they can be replayed as many times as they are needed. I can record a picture of what the end project should look like and even walk them through it step by step. I have five different spelling word lists and giving five spelling tests is very time consuming, so I record them. I have seven students who receive a read aloud testing modification and instead of reading the test out loud (interrupting the whole class) I record it.

There are many different methods for recording but I have selected a method that is extremely simple and effective. Any student can access these recordings as long as they can press play. Teachers in lower grades could have the technology ready so students just have to press the play button while older students are able to access the recordings on their own. I also have the recordings saved in a way that students and parents can access them anywhere they have internet.

This is also a wonderful benefit for parents especially when it comes time to help with math homework. This helps to eliminate that age old battle of “that’s not how my teacher does it.” Parents will appreciate the help at home and be able to gain a better understanding of how to help their child and what they are learning at school.

My modified flipped classroom model benefits me, my student, and parents by creating a connection between school and home. My administration is completely on board and has encouraged me from my initial proposal throughout. There are many methods to create recording and deliver them to students, I have just kept it very simple. I am currently using a free App and my IPad which takes minimal time and keeps it easy for students to access and utilize through any computer, laptop, smartphone, or even gaming systems.

Making a difference for individual students is every teacher’s goal. How we get there is the difference. I am determined to make a difference – are you?

To dive deeper into planning or improving your use of the iPad in the classroom, come and and join Kelly and hundreds of other practitioners at the original iPad focused education conference – Teaching and Learning with the iPad, November 20 – 22, in Raliegh, NC. We hope to see you there!

ipad education conference

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
5 Tips for Using Google Apps on an iPad
The Flipped Classroom is Everywhere!
Technology for the Core – Apps and Tools for the Literacy Curriculum Reading Strand


I am a mother of three. I have 2 girls ages 8 and 11 and a son who just turned 26. I received my B.S. in Elementary Education in 2010 and just completed my Masters of Education in Educational Technology March 2014. I did not grow up with very much technology but absolutely love it and love learning about it. This is one reason why I try to incorporate as much as I can into my classroom. This is my fourth year teaching at a year round school and I have taught the past three years in fifth grade and was moved to fourth grade this year. I have presented my modified flipped classroom model at the county level and will be presenting as several conferences within North Carolina this year and hopefully in the future.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ARC October 22, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Hello! Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have been tossing around the idea of doing something similar in my classroom for a while now, but haven’t had the chance to try it out.

Would you please share what iPad app you are using to record your mini lessons? I have had a tough time finding an app that will allow me to do all of the things that I need!


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