(Pull It, Twist It, Bop It) Flip It: Blended Learning in the Social Studies Classroom

The tired stereotype of the history teacher at the front of the room lecturing from bell to bell, droning on about nothing but names, places, and dates, and never noticing the kids sleeping in the back row needs to be thrown out the window!  In its place, how about a teacher that never lectures but instead provides students time to work hands on with the content and apply their learning from bell to bell?

With Flipped Learning, this is possible in every social studies classroom!


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A Flipped Classroom is about more than just providing lectures through video for students to watch before coming to class.  What gets “flipped” is the dissemination of information so basically anything that you would say from the front of the room in lecture now shows up in a video.

Learning how to read latitude and longitude in class?  Create a screencast that students can watch at home covering the steps, then spend your time in class applying this learning and have your students find locations on a map using what they learned.  Did they forget what they watched last night or they didn’t have Internet access to watch the video?  No problem!  Let them re-watch the video while they work at their own pace and while other students move ahead with the activity.

Do you have a great primary source that you want to have your students analyze but you know they will need some solid background information before you begin the activity?  Create a video that walks students through what they need to know, which they can watch before coming to class.

Then you have the entire class period to focus on the primary source rather than needing to spend the first ten minutes talking at your students.  Check out these top-notch primary source lesson plans from the Stanford History Education Group to get started. (And don’t forget that SHEG Executive Director Joel Breakstone will be the keynote speaker at the Kansas Social Studies Conference this fall!)

Tired of spending precious class time watching students write down vocabulary words and definitions out of the textbook?  Are your students tired of the monotony of a vocabulary log full of words and definitions that they may or may not have learned?  Create an audio file instead. The Audio file is you breaking the words down for the students, explaining their importance and connection to the content and other vocabulary words, and providing them with student friendly definitions rather than a textbook or dictionary definition.

Then, when the students come to class you can have them participate in vocabulary activities such as sorting based on content or using hexagons to create connections between the words.  Check out more great flipped vocabulary instruction ideas from Catlin Tucker here.

Like other Blended Learning models, Flipped Learning is all about providing students some choice in their pace, place, path, or time while learning the content in your classroom.

Are you currently teaching in a Flipped Classroom?  Share your advice, tips, and tricks here!  Looking to get started with Blended Learning?  Drop your questions below!

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