Monday, May 5, 2014

Instead of Flipping, Consider Flooding

Your probably thinking, "what is flooding?"  Ok I admit it, I made it up.  As an AP teacher teaching a blended learning class, I found flipping my class a really exciting idea.  Here I could get in a good solid chunk of information a student needed on the AP as a homework assignment at night.

All they would have to do listen to a little lecture about a topic, say the 30 Years War.  Then, I could spend the day having the kids really work on essay topics, multiple choice questions, discussions about results of the war, factors from it,  and comparing and contrasting this war to other major continental conflicts.  However, in reality, there were just far too many details in the war that students needed to know to be successful on the AP.  I would be missing this by simply giving them a 15 minute lecture video to watch at night.  Yes, they read the textbook, but it's a complicated war.

How were they really going to "get it"?  How was I going to get through the vast content without  without taking up their entire period just lecturing?  So, out of sheer desperation (and I mean it with the yeshiva calendar as jam packed as possible), I tried something else.  Flooding.  I had them watch a video for homework, answer a view questions, and come into the classroom the next day.  Ok, now this sounds like flipping you say.  No, I would answer.  I then lectured for 15 minutes in a new american lecture system where I solicited answers and engaged in a discussion to recall and extrapolate on the previous night's video.  As soon as I completed this mini lecture, I had them answer 3 quick questions.  Based on their performance on them, I was able to immediately place them into three groups.  One group got to work on mock AP exam questions (either outlining an essay on the topic together, teaming up to do multiple choice questions and writing down the reasons they chose the answers they did), one group got to watch another video that went into more depth on a given complex issue within the war and then answer questions about it, and another group sat with me and got to do a firing squad round asking me questions to clarify areas of concern and allowing me to ask them as well.  I got to record their responses.  Hence, all three groups were directly held accountable for their work in a measurable way.

Once they master the topic (and hopefully quicker without this method) I can then begin to allow for a group of students to begin a project based learning experience combining topics they have learned and creating something meaningful while continuing to target areas of weakness (both skill and content) via videos or at a teacher direct table.

Is it perfect?  No.  Do I have lots to learn.  Yes!  Could this be a potential solution for AP courses or very content driven courses freeing up some time to allow for customization and even a project?  I think so.