Class 5: PBL From Ideas to Action

PBL-from ideas to action

In today’s class we will finalize our brainstorming and bring some focus to our Holocaust Memorial Project.

Assignment 5

All student will complete this Sam Wineburg reading and flipped lesson Who is the historian in your classroom? Created at TEDed using a video from Stanford History Education Group. (SHEG)

Students will work in one of three study groups. Each group will design a 20-min presentation on one of the following three historical thinking skills- Sourcing, Contextualizing and Corroborating.

I recommend that students create an account at the Teaching Channel and use these three lesson clusters – Sourcing, Contextualizing and Corroborating. Each features an explanatory video as well as supporting material in the lower right of the screen. In the upper right, a “My Notes’ section allows you to take timestamped notes on the video and export for sharing with your project partner.

Jigsaw Lesson: Next week in class, each study group will be expected to teach their peers the principles and a few effective strategies for teaching their assigned historical thinking skill.

Blog post: Each partner of study team can share the same blog post which will provide some context or detail about their lesson to the class.

Image credit: Adobe Spark

What “Flipped” the US Economy on its Head?

“Breadline” by Margaret Bourke-White, 1937

The world continues to be an ever-evolving place, and, as with all things, educational strategies must adapt in parallel.  Today, the most significant change is occurring in the field of technology, and incorporating its use into the classroom is essential to aligning with the evolving needs of students.  Perhaps the most obvious use of this new resource is for delivery of content, and teachers across the world are finding it beneficial to “flip” their classroom, having students watch videos the night before class.  This frees up in-class time for interactive activities and project-based learning.

TEDed Lesson DepressionHere’s a link is to a Ted-Ed lesson on the causes of the Great Depression.  Students watch the video, answer a few questions, and are presented with additional materials to explore and space to converse with each other.  The video raises several points of debate and is largely inconclusive as to specific causes, setting the stage for the activity the following day.  In-class, students will be presented with many strips of paper, each with a different factor contributing to the Great Depression.  In groups, they will sort the strips by level of impact, discussing their rationale as they go.  Once completed, results will be collected and analyzed to produce a class-wide list generated from average list position for each cause.  A whole group discussion and debate on the list will conclude the session.

In my professional career, I fully plan to utilize the flipped lesson model quite often.  I am a proponent of project-based learning, and freeing up time for in-class collaboration is at the heart of this approach.  In my own career as a student, I found interactive tasks that generated a product offered opportunities to feel genuinely proud of my schoolwork, something strikingly absent from the traditional endless chain of worksheets.  Flipping content delivery to the night before allows for this type of meaningful exploration of the material.  Kids can learn by doing rather than just listening.

The traditional top-down-lecture model of education has been made essentially irrelevant by technology.  It is simply not practical to ask students to sit and listen to a speech when they can find the same material online with a quick internet search.  Online materials can be paused, re-watched, and used as reference, creating a useful tool where once only a fleeting lecture was available.  The new task of teachers is to teach students how to use these new tools effectively, and how to assess the sources of information they find.  These are distinct skills that must be taught directly and absorbed through repetition.  It’s a good thing there’ll be so much time in class to work on them.

Image credit: link

Flipped Lessons, Changing Roles

flipped classroom

Prompt: Students were asked to design a flipped lesson and then write a blog post that showcases their flipped lesson and reaction to designing it. 

During this week’s class, I had the opportunity to create a flipped lesson using the TedED Lesson generation program. I created my lesson around a video from the YouTube channel Crash Course American History, hosted by John Green. Find my flipped lesson here.

The TedEd Lesson tool is a great resource. It allows teachers to either choose their own video from other sources (including TED talks and YouTube videos) and generating questions/discussing feeds, all with a useful statistics function to track the students that have watched the video and answered the questions.

TedEd is definitely a resource I will use in the future. I think thing about flipped lessons that I am most skeptical about is making sure that students are actually doing the tasks and learning the content at home. However, TedEd solves this problem by giving teachers the statistics for their lessons and see which of their students have completed it. The goal of completing these lessons at home is to introduce the content to students and get them thinking about the types of topics they will discuss in class. This also opens up class time for authentic activities and allows teachers to check-in with students, rather than the traditional model of delivering content to students in class and expecting them to complete a check-in assignment for homework. The biggest strength of flipped lessons is giving teachers more time to interact with students in completing assignments, and makes it the responsibility of the student to learn the content and ask questions when needed.

As we discussed in class, flipped lessons change the role of both the teacher and the student. For this reason, many teachers are skeptical about implementing flipped lessons into their instruction. However, changing this classic understanding of what a teacher’s job is and what a student’s responsibility is allows for greater classroom involvement and student motivation, which are crucial in creating valuable learning environments.

Image Source: Library of Congress

  • Title: Schenectady, New York. A section of a blueprint reading class at the Oneida School
  • Creator(s): Bonn, Philip, photographer
  • Date Created/Published: 1943 June.



Possibilities of Flipped Learning

The basic structure of TEDed Flipped Lessons.
The basic structure of TEDed Flipped Lessons.

Prompt: Students were asked to design a flipped lesson and then write a blog post that showcases their flipped lesson and reaction to designing it. 

I found creating a TEDed flipped lesson to be both challenging and interesting. As a future teacher, websites like TEDed present the possibility for students to take their learning into their own hands, especially when showing that they can be responsible for what they learn content-wise.  Flipped lessons, while versatile, don’t easily lend themselves to those students who do not have internet access. I do find it to be an interesting site in terms of supplementing content and classroom time. I feel like it would be great for reviewing information.

In my lesson, I used a Crash Course US History video on the American Revolution as my flipped lesson. This particular lesson was challenging, because the video is 11 minutes long, and making sure that the “Think” section had different multi-choice questions on each part of the video was difficult. I feel like TEDed works perfectly if you have the precise video and have gone over the information in class before.

While I find that these flipped lessons give me the chance to think deeply about what I believe to be important information for my students to know, it is also difficult to create. The difficulty comes in part from having to watch these videos and having to scrounge for the exact points I want the focus to be on. While it might not sound difficult, it actually is, as  I noticed when working on my previous mentioned flipped lesson. The particular video I used contained a lot of fast talking and a lot of information.

If I were to use TEDed in my classroom, I would want it to be used in a situation where it would serve as review or prove to be supplemental. I believe that TEDed could be well used more in the supplemental area, because it would allow those students who might not have understood in class the chance to hear information from a different source and manner. In that manner, students also become enabled to work at their own pace, which is especially good for those students who like working at a slow pace.

While it might not be my first choice in creating new kinds of interactions in the classroom, I definitely look forward to the possibilities created by the use of TEDed flipped lessons.