Saturday, May 19, 2012

Serendipity and the Gradual Release of Responsibility

I have adjusted my daily class routine rather accidentally.  I having been using the Gradual Release of Responsibility model (Fisher and Frey) to organize the delivery of instruction in my classroom (see previous post). It works GREAT with flipping the class! The focus lesson is, of course, viewed via my video the evening before.  The other three aspects of the GRR -- guided instruction, collaborative, and independent phases --  are done in class the next day.

But one day, a few weeks ago I just plain ran out of time.  The guided instruction I provided and the extensive collaboration students were engaged in afterwards ate up the clock.  Don't get me wrong, the students needed that collaboration, but there was not sufficient time to send them to do any productive independent work as part of the GRR.  We used the remaining time in class, 10-15 minutes, to do Math Masters -- an engaging way to practice old skills. I decided to push the independent practice until the next day.

So at the beginning of class the next day and after a short two-problem review, the students worked through the independent practice problems instead of a warm-up I routinely give them to start the math period.  Glory, hallelujah!  It was great to see them work largely independently and unhurried unlike other days where their independent practice may have been cut short by the end of class.  It seemed also that the math taught only a day earlier had 'marinated' nicely overnight through their cranium and well into their gray matter.

So this is serendipity. Although I should have seen separating independent practice from guided/collaborative instruction by a day as a good option, I did not.  It took serendipity to give it clarity.


  1. Thank you for illustrating this so beautifully. I think many people who are trying to understand how to structure lessons with the flipped model will appreciate your visual.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I do hope it helps other frame content in a flipped classroom.

  2. I am so glad I have found your blog! I might be teaching Grade 7 math next year and have been recently introduced to the flipping method. Your experience with a Grade 6 class makes me feel like this is do-able in an elementary school setting. Thanks!

  3. Glad you're here. This is very do-able. I hope to be of assistance to you as you transition into the flip model.