28 August, 2015

I have a dream .. Flipped at last !

"Flip it to win it" Is that true ? Can you gain more if you flip your classroom ?
What can happen if the students do some work at home (read, listen, research a topic, learn some vocabulary or find answers to some questions) and then engage in more practice activities in class?! I believe that would be great for both the teacher and the student !

That's how a flipped classroom works. It's more student centered and more productive in terms of using the language. And that's why I had a dream to try a flipped classroom with my students one day and here comes the day !!

As the 28th of August is the anniversary of Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech, we were encouraged as teachers to try to raise the topic of equality and diversity in class with our students using this speech which was an important moment in the American Civil Rights movement and history. Another thing that made me see it can work is the events and changes Egypt has been through in the last few years. We are still hoping and working for a change in many fields and all Egyptians have lots of dreams for their future and the country's as well.

After listening to King's speech, I thought it would be difficult to play it in class as it is a bit long (almost 16 mins) and not so easy - in terms of language - for students to work on for the first time in class. So, I thought that's the moment I should try a Flipped Classroom .


So, the questions I had to answer while planning for this lesson were;

1. How will I introduce the topic in class?
2. What are the tasks students have to do at home?
3. What kind of activities I can use later in class based on this lesson?

The answers to these questions are in the following stages of my lesson :

The first stage:

- I introduced the topic asking students about important dates in their lives and in our country's old and modern history. They shared personal dates and dates of important events in Egypt such as; The Egyptian Revolution and The New Suez Canal - which was inaugurated the beginning of this month - among some others.
- Showing students a photo of Martin Luther king , I could elicit who he is. Some of them know him well and one could even remember his famous sentence "I have a dream".
- I showed students a short video that tells interesting facts about Martin Luther king's speech.
- Commenting on the video, students started to get more interested in the topic and thus I was ready to set the main task they should do at home.

The second stage : Task at home:

1. Watch the video of the speech, read the script or listen and read, then answer the following question:
What did Martin Luther King dream about for the future of the black and white communities?
2. Find the meaning of difficult or new key words in the speech.

The last stage : Next class:

- The next class, students came with lots of good notes from the speech. They started sharing it with each other in pairs, then with the whole class.
- After that, they chose a representative from each small group (3/4 students) to write the new key words they learnt from the speech on the board. Some words were repeated, so we eliminated them to give an opportunity to share more words. When the board was full of key words , students started explaining the meaning of these words and how some of them had a different meaning conveying King's message and the suffering of the black people at that time.

It was really enriching for everyone and raised good points for discussion.

The next part of the class was asking students to think and write short notes of their own dreams for their future, the future of their country, local community or human race.

The final stage was giving each student an A3 white paper and some crayons, colour pens and pencils and asking them to put these dreams on paper as a drawing, list or any other kind of product they want.

The students enjoyed that part of the lesson so much and the products were really amazing . They were relaxed; thinking, drawing, coloring, and reflecting on each other's products wondering what they might mean. Every student expressed his/her dreams on their own special way and presented them to the class in 1 minute. I gathered all the products on a padlet wall and invited students to comment on the lesson there as well. You can see samples of their work there.

Variations :

The final products students work on can be an interview (audio or video), writing a blog post about the speech, conducting a survey, ..etc.

You can choose a simpler reading text about the speech or part of the speech, if you're teaching lower level students. There are lots of good lesson plans and free resources online that you can use or adapt according to your students' level and age.

Limitations / problems:

Some students might not do the task at home, so you have to ensure beforehand they know that the next lesson will be based on that task. Another thing you can do is to ask the students who did the task to summarize the speech or they can share the main points in pairs.

I am really happy with the experience and proud of my students. In this lesson, I aimed at and managed to achieve two of the #30goalsedu; goal #5 Integrate tech effectively and goal #23 Plant a seed of belief. Trying something new in class as well as inspiring students to keep dreaming of many good things to happen in their future and the future of their country are always good and rewarding aims.

Keep dreaming and let your dreams be seeds of belief that they will come true :)


  1. Wonderful and inspiring . Now I am thinking of how to use this lovely way of passing the information through ( search, share and learn) in a suitable way for young kids :)
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. thank you for your comment Waleed. You can definitely use it with young learners. You can choose a story or a video from http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/ or http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/ and ask the students to watch it at home and find the meaning of some vocabulary or give them a guiding task with the video, then do more practice activities using the language or discussing the topic in class. Good Luck and tell me how it goes if you try it ;)

  2. Wow... very proud of your post and what your students have done!! Bravo!! Smiles from Argentina, Maria :-)

    1. Thank you so much Maria for your support and smiles <3