It has been awhile since my last update. Last time I was wrestling with helping my students find balance. They are overwhelmed with school and the National History Day projects. As far as the Middle Ages project, I did some "traditional" lecturing for two days instead of having students research and dig for information from a variety of resources. And then I had them actively apply it in project format. I gave them the choice of a board game, timeline, or European trip itinerary. Students could chose what project interested them and what felt manageable in terms of their strengths. They could work alone or in groups. I was able to lighten the load of the timeline student by directing them to this awesome tool. I felt happy about the "compromise." Although the accumulating information was teacher-driven, the application allowed the students to process the information and included student-choice.
For the next short chapter, I went back to the way I had been teaching it for years. Basically, in the past it had been a really fun unit for the students and resulted in learning. We had "Oprah: Crisis in the Church" skits, a Black Plague simulation, and a history bowl. It also helped keep homework loads light as students were working toward a big deadline for the NHD project. I was feeling a little guilty about not flipping this unit, but in the #flipping20 chat on Twitter, @kennybosch talked about the idea of Part-Time flipping, which he discussed in a chapter of the Flipping 2.0 book (Kenny's blog and book ordering information here). Basically, it boils down to the fact that you don't have to flip every unit. Just give it a try, get started, and you might find it works better for some units and not others.
Now we are back to flipping. I would call it flipped inquiry, but it is also taking on traits of Explore-Flip-Apply. My approach is based off of a Google Hangout I had with other flipped history teachers, in particular, @phillige. Students are trying to answer the question, "how did the Renaissance bring people both back to the past and into the future?" Students have been exploring websites and watching some videos to uncover the answer to that question. As they were exploring today, trying to come up with solid examples of "past" and "future," I was getting a lot of common questions. I talked over those key points aloud. But this is where the flip is needed. I plan to make a screencast going over those points I said in class today. Why make a video of it? Firstly, students researching at computers aren't always the best listeners. Secondly, maybe they didn't need that information yet. Carolyn Durley's awesome post talked about providing "just in time learning," rather than "just in case learning." Students are learning at different speeds. I noticed some kids struggling in the lab today, but some may not have been struggling yet and may need that information later. When I said it in the lab today, it may not have been relevant to those students. Even for the students that needed it at that moment, maybe they will need it again later. So I will "flip" that lecture, not because I planned to, but because that is what these students needed. Next, they will work to apply their knowledge by answering the focus question through an Art Gallery Tour. I look forward to seeing the results.
Enjoy the links above. The Flipped Community is about sharing, I would not be in this place, if it weren't for the inspiration of my Personal Learning Network (PLN). #thanksgiving