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Flipping with a Twist: Start with Good Content.

In my last post I gave a quick overview of flipped teaching and how I use it in my classroom. As promised, I’ll go in more depth over the next few posts to give advice on the practical side of how to do it if you’d like to give it a try.

One central tenet of flipped classroom teaching is that the teacher is no longer in “a stand and deliver” role during class time. That can mean that an instructor records their lecture and assigns it for homework, but is potentially time consuming and doesn’t always change the level of engagement. So here are some possibilities of how you might start off with new content in a flipped classroom.

The Hook: Why not introduce student to the topic with a Youtube video, a news headline or a series of Instagram photos or Pinterest boards to get them thinking about the essential question of your lesson or unit. What do you notice about these collections? What predictions can you make about what you’ll learn? Why is what we are learning about important? How is this topic used or portrayed in the real world?

Looking for good sources? Ted-Ed is a fabulous place to find some education video content and it’s extra features allow for more student engagement (more on that in the next post). Looking for news headlines that are educational and accessible to your students’ reading levels? Try out NewsELA. The site will let you search for content, make collections and assign it to students with the added ability of choosing lexile levels to adjust the content to the student’s reading ability. Oh, and they let you search by Common Core Standards as well. And don’t forget that Maine school’s have an amazingly high quality database resources in the MARVEL program.

Need to teach a procedure or process? Khan Academy is a well known option that has defined some people’s ideas of flipped teaching, but some people are surprised to learn that Youtube has an education channel. Typing “How to” into Youtube isn’t your only option. Wikihow is a good site for step-by-step directions in pdf and picture form. Why not try looking for resources on your professional organization’s website. NCTE, NCTM, NCSS, NSTA and many many other groups have resources and lessons ready to go.

Looking for some audio content? After all if your students are teens they likely have headphones. Podcasts like Freakonomics, This American Life or Radiolab often have very engaging content, even if you use short bits of them to spur a conversation.

Don’t forget your PLN (Professional Learning Network). Some of your best resources come from people you already know and trust. Why not ask for colleagues on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest to recommend content? Why not do a search on those sites for keywords and hashtags that correspond with what you are teaching? Why not check out one of the many Twitter Chats for educators and see what resources they recommend. This is the virtual equivalent of asking the teacher down the hall for advice or resources, except the hall goes all the way around the world and you don’t have to walk there.

Once you start to bookmark, download and/or pin all of these resources, you have to figure out a way to get them to the students. I will share multiple ways to do this at various levels in my next blog post. Stay tuned.

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