Of course teachers plan ahead concerning the knowledge and skills students need in order to understand concepts. What I am advocating is a mindset of assessment that will help us determine what students actually know and can do.
Watch the video "A Private Universe" produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (It is WELL worth the time to watch)
The point is not to ridicule the lack of understanding by the students or the efforts of the teacher. Rather, the point is to demonstrate the need to alter the way we teach.
In the video the science teacher said, “You assume that they know certain things”, “Even the day that I taught it I assumed that they had the basic ideas” She probably delivered the appropriate facts, what was obviously missing were those checks for understanding.
In a flipped classroom, teachers have time for students to construct knowledge in class where their understanding can be monitored. Students should be working, writing, discussing in class.
Formative assessments are as simple as:
Summaries of thinking
Talking with students (As opposed to at them)
Any one of the countless literacy and reading strategies available can be used.
Click HERE for a list of strategies I use often.
My thinking has been profoundly influenced by the work of Cris Tovani. Her three books are filled with ideas for formative assessments that will work in any classroom – it’s not just about reading. Read her blog here: http://literacylabs.org/
Plan your day around what students need to understand and assess to determine if they do in fact understand. It's not rocket science. Don't be embarrassed when your students are interviewed - be proud of what you are sure they know. Be sure because you checked.