Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Adventure in Flipping the Classroom: Middle School Curriculum and Instruction

I'm teaching a course this semester in middle school curriculum and instruction. While I can't choose one course as my "favorite" to teach (that's like choosing between your kids!), I do LOVE to teach this course!

I'm using the flipped classroom model for teaching it, which has been a great learning adventure for me. This means I record lectures for them to view outside of class (along with other readings and preparation work,) and then when we meet together in class we apply the ideas to real situations.

A screengrab from an online lecture I was recording.
Just check out the passion...or craziness...in those eyes...

Actually, I'm trying to run a longterm simulation in the course throughout the semester. Their first assignment for me was to complete an application for a position in my imaginary middle school, where I am serving the role of imaginary principal. Based on their applications, I put them into grade-level teams, and much of our in-class work is run as team meetings in which they address various topics that are likely to come up in teaching young adolescents. For example, this week, I asked their teams to debate whether we should keep the name "Junior High" for our school, of if we should change our name to "Middle School." How would they decide? Well, they had to draw from their readings and the video lecture I had prepared on the history of middle level education to understand what the difference in philosophy is--because "junior high" and "middle school" are NOT the same thing! (Our teams decided that we definitely want to be more of a middle school than a junior high school, by the way. This professor was proud...and...to be honest...probably influenced their decision-making...)

It's been an adventure, but so far, I'm pleased with how it's going! Here's an example of a video lecture in case you're curious what it looks like. This is the one I created for the history of middle level education. If you have questions or would like to know more, please comment!

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