Parker Palmer of Courage to Teach fame once said that

good teaching cannot be reduced to one technique . . .

I like that.

We’re all different and connect with our kids and content in different ways. But I would add to Parker’s comment and suggest that

good teaching is always more than one technique.

and its corollary;

bad teaching is always the same technique.

We shouldn’t be happy with what’s worked in the past, with what we’ve always done. We need to constantly be looking for ways to improve what we do. New research, new ideas, and new strategies can help us do our jobs better.

Which brings me to the idea of the flipped classroom.

The basic idea of a flipped classroom is that a teacher uses technology to provide student access to foundational knowledge outside of class. This allows more time for inquiry, discussion, debate, collaboration, problem-solving, product development, or guided practice during class time. So rather than kids listening to you during class and doing work outside of class, you “flip” that idea – time outside of class is spent on gathering foundational knowledge and time in class is spent working with that content.

I think good teachers have been doing this sort of thing, well . . . forever. The difference now is that there are more tools that make the idea easier to implement. One recent idea is to provide online or mobile videos of lectures or content delivery that students view on a schedule that best suits them.

It’s an interesting concept that has been creating a lot of buzz in the math and science areas but which has been slow to develop in the humanities such as history and social studies.

As you begin rolling the idea around in your head, check out the infographic below as well as a few online resources. Then ask yourself:

What would this look like in my class? What piece of this can I break off and try?

I would be curious to hear from those of you finding success with a social studies flipped classroom. What’s working? What should we be aware of?


The Flipped Class is Here to Stay
Three or four reasons the idea has legs

15 Schools Using the Flipped Classrooms
Some good examples

Flipping a History Classroom
Video clip, discussion and comments

Flipping the US History Class
A MSU discussion board on the topic

A new infographic from Knewton. Be sure to check out the research at the bottom.

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