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Effectiveness of an In Class Flip for Third Graders

Gabrielle Clark

Bowling Green State University

Author Note

Gabrielle Clark is a Masters student in the Department of Education and Human

Development at Bowling Green State University. She is completing this paper and action

research project as part of her final seminar course, EDTL 6380.

Correspondence concerning this proposal should be addressed to Gabrielle Clark, College

of Education and Human Development. Contact:


Measuring the Effectiveness of an In-Class Flip with Phonics Instruction for Third Graders

Introduction to the Problem


In the United States of America, teachers are being pressed with more technology

standards. With the release of the 2016 ISTE Standards for students, teachers are responsible for

facilitating instruction that molds students into digital citizens and empowered learners (ISTE

Standards for Students, 2016). Teachers are expected to teach students how to leverage

technology to help master learning targets (ISTE Standards for Students). Going further, these

standards ask teachers to design learning experiences and technology-rich environments that

drive students to self-monitor and keep track of their learning through the use of technology

(ISTE Standards for Teachers, 2008). The role of the teacher is evolving. These standards are

altering the role of the teacher as the lecturer into a facilitator, pushing the student into the

driver’s seat of their learning (ISTE Standards for Teachers). These student-centered

environments along with blended learning spaces are an emerging trend in education over the

last couple of years (Adams, Cummins, Davis, Freeman, Hall, Giesinger, & Ananthanaryanan,

2017). These recent trends push teachers to enhance their teaching practices from traditional

pedagogy into a more student-centered approach with a high emphasis on technology integration

and facilitating, in order to best meet the needs of all of the students in classrooms (Adams et al.,

2017). This demand calls for a shift in thinking and restructuring of the role of the teacher and

the design of learning experiences (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). One blended model in particular,

flipped learning, asks students to take more responsibility of their learning by self-monitoring

throughout video lectures (Arnold-Garza, 2014). It is important for research to examine how

some of these blended learning techniques, such as flipped learning, enhance student learning

and motivation in classrooms.

Literature Review


Over the course of the last few years, flipped/inverted learning has started to gain

popularity in the educational realm. With the rise of the ISTE standards for students and

teachers, districts and teachers are searching for ways to develop student-centered classrooms.

Many districts are urging teachers to use a flipped model for learning and instruction. This model

uses classroom time for activities that involve critical thinking, application, and collaboration

activities (Kim, Park, Jang, & Nam, 2017). The NMC Horizon Report notes blended learning

and flipped instruction as a developing teaching practice in 21st century classrooms (Adams et

al., 2017).

Several positive impacts have been linked to flipped learning in classrooms. D’addato

and Miller (2016) write, “Flipped learning often utilizes technology as a means for engaging

students in the lesson outside of class” (p. 34). Another study explored the effect flipped learning

had on sixth grade students in a middle school science classroom in Turkey. This researcher

found that students identified the flipped model to be more educational and inspiring (Sezer,


Flipped learning environments can also be associated with heightened student motivation.

Two researchers found that students participating in flipped learning instruction experienced

more opportunities to take charge of their learning in comparison to traditional teaching

pedagogy (D’addato & Miller, 2016). An alternative study described undergraduate students as

feeling more motivated as learners in the flipped classroom environment (Nouri, 2016).

Providing students with opportunities to dig into content through the flipped model could

potentially increase student motivation and student ownership.

Flipped Instruction

Within the traditional flipped model, students are exposed to curriculum content at home

through videos or podcasts as homework. The next day, students are able to apply their skills

from the content of the video with the teacher present as a facilitator (Kim et al., 2017). Unlike

than the traditional flip, an in-class flip occurs inside the walls of the classroom. Direct

instruction is still taught through videos. However, students rotate through stations viewing the

lesson, completing independent or group work, and working in small groups or one-on-one with

the teacher (Gonzalez, 2014). The in-class flip twists the location of the delivery of direct

teaching. One potential benefit of the in-class flip versus the traditional flip is the potential for

deeper mastery of learning targets and content, with the teacher close for feedback and questions

(Gonzalez, 2014).

Different In-Class Flipped Models. Several versions of in-class flipped instruction

exist. A mixed sequence in-class flip involves students moving at their own pace through flipped

stations and practice stations (Ramirez, 2017). Differently, a simple sequenced in-class flip

involves students moving through stations in a particular order, starting with the direct

instruction station and moving onto different practice exercises (Ramirez). In the simple

sequence in-class flip, students eventually apply their knowledge from the videos during the

practice stations (Ramirez). Interestingly, one study found that college math students working

within a flipped framework noted that, “a successful learning environment would include

activities that apply what they have learned” (Strayer, 2012, p. 190).

Flipped Instruction Impacts

Positive impacts have been associated with flipped learning environments (Caligaris,

Rodriguez, & Laugero, 2016; D’addato & Miller, 2016; Kim et al., 2017; Aidinopoulou

&Sampson, 2017). Caligaris, Rodriquez, and Laugero (2016) explored student perceptions

toward the flipped model in a numerical analysis class in Argentina at Facultad Regional San

Nicolas, Universidad Tecnologica Nacional. The study found that there was a high degree of

acceptance from the students for the flipped model (Caligaris et al., 2016). Going further, these

researchers wrote, “In class the students showed their enthusiasm, and their interest was noted

from the moment the experience started” (p. 844). This flipped learning experience began to

nurture student interest and build student engagement. Along the same lines, another analysis

found that when using the flipped model with fourth grade math students, enthusiasm was

heightened (D’addato & Miller, 2016). According to Aidinopoulou and Sampson (2017), the

flipped model involved student centered activities that were exciting and engaging for fifth grade

history students. Several researchers describe that flipped classroom environments involve

students to “maintain an active role at the center of learning (Kim et al., 2017). Likewise,

undergraduate students at Stockholm University taking a research methods course also

appreciated the flipped classroom model for learning (Nouri, 2016). In this particular study,

exploring students enrolled in Bachelor programs in the Computer and Systems Sciences, Nouri

(2016) found that, “Among the 240 respondents, 180 students expressed a positive attitude to

flipped classroom after the course” (p. 6). This positive attitude expressed by students points to

enhanced student engagement and enjoyment within a flipped learning environment.

One particular study explored the bearing of transformation from traditional pedagogy to

flipped pedagogy with fourth grade students. D’addato and Miller describe the overall impact of

this change by noting, “The flipped instruction fostered enthusiasm, confidence and intrinsic

motivation in my students, which was reflected in the survey responses and observed student

daily behaviors and comments” (2016, p. 42) Not only did the study find a correlation between

flipped learning and student engagement, but the study also noted an increase in student

motivation when using the flipped model (D’addato & Miller). A different study with sixth grade

science students investigated the relationship between flipped learning and student motivation.

Using a pre and posttest experimental design along with achievement tests, Sezer (2016)

observed a larger increase in posttest motivation scores from the flipped classroom students. This

increase in the motivational scale reveals a tie between amplified student motivation and flipped


Student Motivation

Motivation is known as “ the state or condition of being motivated or having strong

reason to act or accomplish something” (“motivation”, n.d.) Using this definition, student

motivation occurs when students have a reason to act or want to accomplish something in the

classroom. Students tend to be more engaged in the classroom when they are motivated.

However, figuring out what motivates students can be challenging (Toshalis & Nakkula, 2012).

Toshalis and Nakkula explain, “Each student is a unique blend of individual interests,

backgrounds, stories, and needs. Each is motivated in different ways at different times” (p. 30).

Teachers have their hands full in determining ways to motivate each individual student.

However, “Effective student-centered approaches use adolescents' personal experiences as hooks

to help them connect with the curriculum (Toshalis & Nakkula, 2012, p. 31).

In a review of the research, two authors note that “Research has shown that the more

educators give their students choice, control, challenge, and opportunities for collaboration, the

more their motivation and engagement are likely to rise” (Toshalis & Nakkula, 2012, p. 32).

Flipped learning allows for students to be in control of their learning. Students are also given

choice and opportunity to self-pace and pick practice activities. Research suggests that learner-

centered environments can increase student motivation (Alfassi, 2004). Educational reform is

pushing for empowered learners, who are motivated to take charge of their learning (ISTE

Standards for Students, 2016). Flipped classrooms can provide students with opportunities to

take charge of their learning, developing empowered learners inside and outside of classroom



The research strongly supports the idea that flipped learning instruction has positive

impacts on classroom learning environments. Many studies have found that flipped learning

environments can be linked to heightened student engagement (D’addato & Miller, 2016; Sezer,

2016; Nouri, 2016; Caligaris et al., 2016). Student motivation is also associated with flipped

learning environments. Flipped learning structures can increase student drive and motivation

(Nouri, 2016; D’addato & Miller, 2016). Flipped classrooms extend learning by putting students

in charge of their own learning by helping to develop student-centered classrooms. The research

suggests that students who have learned through the flipped model are more excited, engrossed,

and motivated in their learning (D’addato & Miller, 2016). Determining student motivation

factors can be tricky, yet developing student-centered classrooms can increase student motivation

by putting students at the forefront of their learning (Alfassi, 2004). Further research is needed

to develop a more clear understanding of the relationship between student motivation and

student-centered learning in the context of flipped environments. Also, additional research and

studies are required to understand the implications of the specific use of in-class flipped

instructional models in elementary settings.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to measure the effectiveness of in-class flipped phonics

instruction in regards to student motivation. This study examined the impacts associated with in-

class flipped phonics instruction. Looking at multiple factors, this study also explored different

factors potentially involved in student motivation in relation to phonics instruction.

This study could be useful for the school district in revealing potential next steps in

designing blending learning environments. With these results, teachers and district

administration could be able to see the potential benefits that come along with in-class flipped

instruction. On the other hand, if the results revealed more negatives than positives, the district

would able to use the results to continue to make future decisions when planning different

aspects of blended learning environments in the elementary setting. This study is also

significant because there is a lack of research in the area of in-class flipped instruction. A

plethora of research is available to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional flipped

instruction. Instructors from many different content areas and grade levels name benefits in

using the flipped model (Arnold-Garza, 2014). The traditional flip credited to Bergmann and

Sams focuses on out of class videos and in class learning experiences to increase

personalization and active learning activities (2012). However, in-class flipped instruction and

its impacts needs further research and clarification. This study served to dig deeper to

investigate the impacts of in-class flipped phonics instruction and heightened student


Research Question and Alternative Hypothesis

The research question for this study was: Does in-class flipped phonics instruction

increase student motivation with Mrs. Clark’s third grade students during the Spring of 2018?

The independent variable in this question is the use of in-class flipped instruction. This variable

is classified as categorical. The dependent variable in this question is student motivation. This

variable is a quantitative, continuous variable. My hypothesis was that the use of in-class flipped

phonics instruction would increase student motivation in this third grade class during the spring

of 2018.

The constitutive definition of “in-class flip” reads

An In-Class Flip works like this. Just like with a traditional flip, the teacher pre-records

direct instruction, say, in a video lecture. But instead of having students view the content

at home, that video becomes a station in class that small groups rotate through. The rest

of their time is spent on other activities -- independent work and group work, with some

activities related to the lesson and others focusing on different course content. As with a

traditional flip, the direct instruction runs on its own, which frees the teacher for more

one-on-one time with students. (Gonzalez, 2014) Retrieved


The operational definition of an in-class flip includes video instruction in the classroom while the

teacher is utilizing the time for one-on-one instruction and small group attention. The

constitutive definition of motivation can be described as, “ the state or condition of being

motivated or having strong reason to act or accomplish something” (“motivation”, n.d.)

Retrieved February 9, 2018 from website The operational definition of motivation includes


having a strong passion or drive to accomplish a task. Student motivation was measured through

the use of rating scales and student questionnaires.

Project Details

Flipped Videos

In order to analyze student motivation between these two different instructional

pedagogies, phonics instruction was delivered through two different approaches. For the first

four weeks, the teacher used district purchased phonics curriculum called Rewards. The teacher

followed the lesson plans and taught whole group in the front of the classroom. For the flipped

environment, the teacher created a series of videos using the Rewards curriculum to deliver

phonics instruction using Educreations and Nearpod. All video links can be found here. Videos

were placed inside student accounts through Educreations. Students watched the videos and took

formative assessments at the end of each lesson using Nearpod. Nearpod quizzes can be found

here. The teacher also created several other flipped videos for future use in her classroom. Math

videos were created as well as some science videos.


This project also required the creation of data collection instruments. Four different data

collection instruments were created. Two different lesson-rating scorecards were created through

Google Forms for students to provide feedback at the end of each lesson (See Appendix A & C).

Pre and post assessments were also created. These assessments were administered at the end of

each cycle of phonics instruction using Google forms in a survey format (See Appendix B & D).



The design for this study is Practical Action Research. The goal was to implement the

study and use the findings to improve my teaching practices and pedagogy. I executed this study

by implementing in-class flipped phonics instruction and traditional phonics instruction and

collecting data along the way. I then analyzed the data, looking for patterns and impacts. The

data will not be used in any form to make generalizations to wider populations. The overall

action plan for this study was to determine the impact of flipped instruction on student

motivation through student responses and rating scales. This information will be used to improve

future teaching in my third grade classroom.


Pleasant Ridge Elementary school is a suburban school, just outside of Ann Arbor,

Michigan. Pleasant Ridge serves approximately 430 students in Young 5s-3rd grade. Each grade

level holds approximately 3-4 sections of about 25 students in each section. Pleasant Ridge was

given a Lime Rating on the Michigan Public School Accountability Scorecard. 18% of the

students are economically disadvantaged students, and 61% of students are eligible for free and

reduced lunch. Looking at the third grade population, 66% of students were proficient in ELA at

the end of 3rd grade. 59% of students were proficient in both Math and ELA. Overall, 55% of the

students are female, and 45% are male. The school’s diversity score is 0.19, which is less than

Michigan’s state average of 0.50.

A purposive sample of third grade students was used for this study. The participants were

23 students in Mrs. Clark’s third grade classroom. 48% of the students were female, and 52%

were male. Most of the students were Caucasian (91%) while some were African American

(4.5%) or two different races (4.5%). Student ages ranged from 8-9 years old.


To measure the independent variable, a lesson-rating scorecard was administered at the

end of every phonics lesson (Appendix A & C). The lesson-rating scorecard included student

name, general attitudes about the lesson using a 3-point scale, and general feelings about content

mastery using a 2-point scale. Students filled out the lesson-rating scorecard. Attendance records

and lesson plans were also recorded to measure the amount of intervention each student received.

Attendance records included absent student names, dates, and the title of each lesson/intervention

received. To measure the dependent variable, I utilized two pre and post assessments to analyze

student motivation and other factors involved with in-class flipped phonics instruction and

traditional style phonics instruction (Appendix B & D). These assessments utilized written

response, multiple choice, and 3-scale rating scores. Some example rating questions include:

“The flipped videos helped me learn the concepts.” “I feel more motivated when I have control

of the speed of my work.” Items will be scored using a 3-point scale with a 3 being “yes”, 2

being “sometimes”, and 1 being “no.”


All third grade students were part of Mrs. Clark’s third grade class. The first round of

phonics instruction started in early April. Students received 4 weeks of the first round of

traditional phonics instruction in their third grade classroom at Pleasant Ridge three to four times

a week for 10-20 minutes a day. At the end of each lesson, students completed the lesson-rating

scorecard. At the end of the first four weeks of traditional phonics instruction, students

completed the pre-assessment, requiring students to reflect and share their thoughts on traditional

phonics instruction. After the first four weeks, students then received another 4 weeks of phonics

instruction using an in-class flip style of instruction in their third grade classroom three to four

times a week for 10-20 minutes a day. Students again completed lesson-rating scorecards at the

end of each lesson, and students completed a post assessment at the end of the second four

weeks. The post assessment asked questions about student thoughts regarding in-class flipped

phonics instruction versus traditional phonics instruction. The lesson-rating scorecards were

analyzed for trends in student motivation and feelings about content mastery. Pre and post

assessment data was examined in reference to student motivation, student engagement, and

student attitudes toward different types of phonics instruction. After the data was analyzed, an

action plan was constructed with recommendations to adjust the needs of the students and to

guide future phonics instruction in this particular third grade classroom. Overall, student

motivation and engagement data were collected upon completion of the eight-week study and

analyzed for changes in student motivation.


To measure the dependent variable, a lesson-rating scorecard was administered at the end

of every phonics lesson. The lesson-rating scorecard included general feelings about the lesson

using a 3-point scale and general feelings about mastery of content using a 2-point scale. When

comparing results from traditional phonics instruction with in-class flipped instruction, students

noted their feelings about each lesson. Third grade students selected a smiley face, neutral face,

or sad face to display their attitudes about each lesson. There was an increase in positive feelings

when comparing traditional phonics lessons and in-class flipped phonics lessons. Based on the 3-

point rating-cards, 63% of students noted positive feelings after traditional phonics instruction.

Slightly more, 82% of students perceived positive attitudes after in-class flipped phonics

instruction (See Appendix A & C). This data shows an increase from 63% to 82% of students

acknowledging positive thoughts toward phonics instruction when the mode of instruction was

altered from traditional to in-class flipped instruction.

Figure 1: Traditional Phonics Instruction

Figure 2: In-Class Flipped Phonics Instruction

The lesson-rating scorecards also revealed another increase in student thoughts toward

mastery of phonics content. At the end of each lesson, students selected a thumbs up or thumbs

down icon on their scorecards to express their feelings toward mastery of learning targets in

regards to each particular lesson (See Appendix A & C). Based on the findings, 98% of students

expressed they felt mastery of learning targets through in-class flipped phonics instruction

compared to 86% of students expressing a feeling of mastery of content through traditional

phonics instruction.

To deepen and expand the understanding of the impacts of flipped learning in regards to

student motivation, two very similar pre and post assessments were administered to gauge

student feelings and motivation at the end of each cycle of instruction. Students completed a

survey at the end of the first four weeks of traditional phonics instruction. Students also

completed an additional survey at the end of four weeks of flipped phonics instruction. The goal

of these two surveys was to provide perspective about the effectiveness and difference in student

motivation and student engagement when using traditional phonics instruction versus flipped

phonics instruction within the classroom. There was an increase in 10% of students who noted

positive feelings about their motivation when completing flipped phonics videos versus the

traditional style of phonics instruction. 58% of students noted positive thoughts towards flipped

learning and their motivation versus only 48% toward traditional phonics instruction and their

motivation within these lessons. In correlation, pre and post assessment scores noted a similar

finding. 62.5% of students selected optimistic attitudes toward phonics through flipped lessons

versus only 47.8% of students recognizing positive thoughts towards traditional phonics


Figure 3

Along the same lines, 71% of students expressed preference in using flipped videos for

phonics instruction over traditional delivery by the teacher (See Appendix D). This means that

over seventy percent of these third grade students preferred using in-class flipped videos for

phonics instruction.

Figure 4

The pre and post survey also revealed a finding regarding student ownership and

empowerment. Students were asked on both surveys if they felt in charge of their learning in

each learning environment. There was an increase in student ownership by 28% when shifting

from traditional instruction to flipped instruction. 68% of students felt in charge of their learning

in the traditional context of education. Differently, 96% of students defined feeling in charge of

their learning when completing their phonics lessons through flipped videos inside of their


Students were also asked to explain in a narrative format what they liked about the

flipped classroom. A few trends arose. Several students explained that they appreciated the

ability to go at their own pace and take more time when learning inside the flipped environment.

Several students also clarified that they liked being able to go back and watch the videos again if

needed. Flipped videos also provide students with the opportunity to go ahead of other students,

working at their own pace without having to pause for others. Many students expressed a liking

in being able to go ahead when they were ready, without having to wait for the rest of the class.

It is important to note that a few students did explain that they did not find the videos to be

helpful in their learning. .

Conclusions & Recommendations

This study aimed to find a deeper understanding of the implications involved with using

in-class phonics instruction in regards to student motivation. The research question for this study

was: Does in-class flipped phonics instruction increase student motivation with Mrs. Clark’s

third grade students during the Spring of 2018? The results of this study revealed several patterns

in student thoughts regarding in-class flipped phonics instruction. Overall, the data supported an

increase in student motivation when shifting from traditional phonics instruction to flipped

phonics instruction.

In-class phonics instruction revealed increases in several areas when comparing flipped

instruction to the traditional style of phonics instruction. There was a 10% increase of students

who felt positively motivated to completed phonics instruction through flipped videos. The

results of this study also exposed a large difference in student ownership between the two

different modes of learning. A 28% increase was recognized in students who felt in charge of

their learning when using flipped videos for phonics instruction versus traditional instruction,

revealing 96% of students expressing feeling in charge of their learning during flipped phonics

instruction. Another impactful finding discovered that 71% of students expressed preference in

using flipped videos over traditional instruction for phonics delivery.

Although this was a small population, the results showed a slight increase in student

motivation, student engagement, and student ownership when learning inside of a flipped

classroom environment. I would like to continue to investigate and implement in-class flipped

opportunities for my students, with a careful eye on student motivation and achievement in the

upcoming school year. I would like to see if I observe the same trend in student motivation over

the course of two or three years. I would also like to analyze the differences in student

achievement when using traditional instruction versus flipped instruction, looking for any

significant variance. Future research is needed to delve into the impacts on student achievement

when performing inside a flipped classroom. In addition, potential research could aim to dissect

the differences with student motivation and achievement within in–class flipped classrooms and

traditional flipped classrooms. Another important area for prospective researchers to consider

would be the use of time by teachers within the flipped environment. Future research is needed

to understand different ways teachers can use time in blended and flipped environments, to

enhance student learning and motivation. Keeping in mind some of the learners that did not

prefer flipped learning over the traditional style, I would like to continue to make flipped videos

and use them to differentiate for some learners. However, it is important to continue to provide

different avenues of learning, not only through videos. Providing different types of learning

activities and their effectiveness could be more fully understood through future research.

Teachers and administrators could potentially use these findings to employ further action

research projects within their own schools. Although a small study, this project illuminated

heightened student motivation and student ownership through flipped learning experiences. It

would be advantageous for teachers to explore the possible pros and cons that come along with

flipped learning environments, in order to make a decision to best leverage technology in a

blended learning space. This study provided a small glimpse into one-way teachers could use

flipped learning environments to provide personalization within their classrooms. It would also

be helpful for teachers to reflect on their practices to brainstorms ways to revolutionize their

classrooms into 21st century learning environments. The role of the teacher is evolving, and it is

crucial that teachers transform their pedagogies and practices to best meet the needs of our

diverse 21st century learners.


This study was administered near the end of the school year, which could have

potentially lowered student motivation and engagement. This results in a limitation with timing

and student motivation. A second limitation with study is the fact that the data collector was the

researcher. Potential data collector bias could have arisen since I was doing research within my

own classroom. In addition, the sample size was not large, with only 23 students. With this

limited and small sample size, it could be difficult to analyze trends within the data collected.

Another limitation was the possibility of exposure to flipped lessons. Some students had more

exposure than other students to flipped videos for their learning. This variance in exposure levels

could have potentially heightened or decreased student motivation. An additional limitation to

consider is the varying reading abilities of the students in the sample. Some of the students in the

sample were reading below grade level. This limitation of students reading below grade level

could have impacted student views and scores in relation to phonics and reading instruction,

potentially skewing data. Additionally, student attendance could have possibly limited the

findings of this study, given that some students missed phonics instruction due to illness or

vacations. It also is possible that a novelty effect occurred in the sense that some students may

have signaled positive feelings because of simply experiencing a new, different form of learning.

A final limitation is the lack of generalizability. Since this is a practical action research project,

the findings cannot be generalized to a wider population. The findings should only be used to

analyze teaching practices within this third grade classroom.


Appendix A

Rate my Lesson Scorecard for Traditional Phonics Instruction Administered at the end of each


Appendix B

Pre Test Survey Administered at the end of four weeks of traditional phonics instruction

Appendix C

Rate my Lesson Scorecard for Flipped Instruction Administered at the end of each lesson

Appendix D

Post Test Survey Administered at the end of the second four weeks of flipped phonics instruction


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