Wednesday, October 23, 2013

National History Day and Flipped Class Doubts

This is my first year ever, being involved in National History Day. I have been aware of it since my teacher ed days. The focus this year for our school's Open House is history, so I though it would be a great opportunity to try it out (kind of like a Science Fair for history). I attended a workshop about it a few weeks ago at the University of Washington and that only got me more excited. I love the historical, critical thinking skills it develops. NHD's website has many great resources for teachers. I am getting students started on it now and even tried to break it down nicely for them, handing out a weekly timeline from now until the end of January (the due date).

In stress surveys I handed out this week (something we are trying to do weekly for each of our classes this year), many students were positive. Saying they were nervous about the project, but appreciated the break down I gave them today. However, just one student wrote some nasty words to me, including "why are we doing this, again?" Ouch, it stings.

So now I start thinking about priorities. How do I continue in my "flipped" classroom? I have been planning for the upcoming Middle Ages unit already. I wanted them to crowd source information and then in groups make a Medieval Game of "Life" or "Monopoly." But I'm worried. Is the thought of another project, granted, mostly in-class, going push them over the edge? Do I resort to passive, teacher-centered lessons? Is there some happy medium in-between?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Quick Update

I know that I rarely have a brief post, but I am really going to try with this one. I haven't updated in awhile because the craziness of the school year is in full swing!

Western Civilization--For Greece we looked at this article from "The Onion." It claimed that Greece was made up my historians, there is no way that one Ancient Civilization did all those things that have such a lasting impact on us today. We built some schema and then students researched and presented on a particular area they were interested in. It was successful, but I heard the first rumblings of dissatisfaction from a student that prefers to hear lectures (he is a motivated student that loves history). I did explain my aversion to lecturing and he seemed to understand. So, now with Rome, I am doing a few more "teacher-directed" things and we'll see how it goes. So far, I don't like it.

US History--After taking some time to model, we are getting in the full swing of Flipped 101. Students are watching some lectures at home and it opens up time to do some great stuff in class. What stuff? Check out this and this from this awesome site.

Teacher's Convention--Last week I attended the NWCSI convention of Christian school teachers from around Washington and British Columbia. I presented on the flipped classroom. I was really happy with the turn-out, the great questions, and overall enthusiasm from teachers in the room. I was worried I would have a room full of skeptics that might "attack," but that was not the case.

Wow, I really was brief! Check out those great links and I hope to update you on my slightly more "teacher-centered" Rome unit soon.