Friday, March 29, 2013

The Flipped Classroom Day #1

I am glad to have something to blog about on a regular basis again. 

After some real soul-searching about what was happening in my class, particularly with my honors students, I realized that there was a difference between what they know and what they have learned.  I did feel as if they knew things, but what was more important to me was that they had learned something.  After reading a number of posts, paricipating in a number of #flipclass twitter chats, and numerous conversations with a math teacher who was having success with the flipped classroom with her students, I decided that I would use the fourth marking period as an experiment in flipping my class.

That experiment started today.

I asked my students to watch about 5 minutes worth of video about the expansion of the English colnies to the Mississippi River and then the Louisiana Purchase.  They then worked with a thinglink, in which I asked them to click on the images surrounding a statue and work to figure out who the people in the statue were based on the clues.  (You can see that image and try for yourself here.)  It certainly helped in our discussion about the image today that many of them had some knowledge of the people in the image, but it nonetheless provided an interesting thinking activity.  (Special shout out here to @jluss and @PetroskiLindsay for their help with this concept at the recent #playdate13 held in Boston.)

We had a brief discussion about the image and then went to work ont he activity for the day: they were a member of the Corps of Discovery after the Corps left the Mandan tribe in April, 1807.  They were able to do this through the PBS interactive Into the Unknown, whcih is essentially a choose your own adventure story where they make the choices about what happens next.  After each experience that they had along the way, they made a diary entry in a word document.  Once they reached the end of the journey, they saved their diary as a PDF, uploaded to GoogleDrive, made the PDF public, and shared the link in their blog. 

When I do this with the one class that didn't meet today on Monday, I will start with them opening a GoogleDoc and work from there.  It will save a step and make it much easier for them to link to their diary in their blog.  I will also make sure to give them some time to write a reflection about their experience in doing the activity.

I believe that this was a good first step down the flipping path.  We'll see what Monday brings and the snap debate.

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