How to conduct the Explore Phase
This is a series of three blog posts where I go through how you can implement the Explore, Flip, Apply in your social studies classroom. While this is social studies specific, I will explain how this could be used in any type of class.
In much of education today, we are taking the student out of it. What does this mean? Look at Drop Out rates in the US. Many educators and schools push a system of education where the student is supposed to absorb through a teaching method that is outdated (the lecture). We then expect students to regurgitate that information on quizzes, tests, exams, and standardized tests. Yes, there are pockets in the country and deeply devoted teachers who are trying to fix the system, but it is broken right now. So many different new teaching pedagogies have been developed recently.
The one that seems to be making the most splash in the news is Flipped Learning. If you don’t know much about Flipped Learning, at its roots, students are normally doing the work of class (listening to a lecture and taking notes) at home, and doing the homework at school. While it is much more than watching a video and doing questions in class, this seems to be the general sentiment of what Flipped Learning is.
I have tried and presented on many different styles of the "Flipped Classroom.” The style I tried first was Flipped 101 (described above), then I went to a Flipped Mastery model (students worked at their own pace to meet deadlines for quizzes, tests, projects, etc.). What I like about the Flipped Mastery model is that students are able to learn at their own pace. But what really bugs me about Flipped 101 and Flipped Mastery is that it is still driven by an outdated method of teaching, the lecture. It also lacks a bit of inquiry. I did both of these methods my first year of Flipped Teaching.
Then I found Ramsey’s website titled Cycles of Learning (which was called FlipTeaching when I first found it.) After investigating what it was a bit more, I really liked what Ramsey was getting at with this new method, let student inquiry drive the learning process. In the Explore phase, the teacher uses a hook (video, document, map, guiding question) to activate the students prior knowledge while withholding information from the students. When you hook students, they will drive their own learning. I will tell you this, after doing this for two years, students know more than we think and they will go deeper into the content if we hook them first.
Here are several examples of how to use hooks:
Science: If you teach Chemistry a great hook would be to show a chemical reaction. You would only let the students know the what chemicals or elements you used to create this reaction. Then the students would have to figure how to recreate the reaction just as you did it.
In Physics, you could show a video clip of an earthquake taking down a skyscraper. Then have the students figure out the force that would be needed to take down that building.
Math: Dan Meyer is probably my most favorite math person in the whole world. I really feel his Three Act Math class is the way all math classes will end up going. In his TED Talk he has a great video clip of a water tank filling up. If you are talking about volume, time, rate of flow, etc, you could show your students this video. Then have them make predictions about time, volume, etc.
English: Lets say your studying poems. Instead of teaching about poems first, then having the students write poems, give your students the most interesting piece of the poem. Have them discuss it in groups to see if they can’t figure out what will happen next.
Social Studies: Say your studying the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement. Start by showing the students MLK Jrs. famous speech. Then have the students discuss what might be going on in history to cause this to happen. Or show JFK being shot (if your students are old enough) and discuss what must be going on in order for someone to take a presidents life?
Maybe your studying World History and are looking studying Rome. Show your students a picture or movie clip of Julius Caesar getting assassinated. Then have your students discuss what must have Rome been like for the Senate to kill him?
One of my favorites is using population maps. At the beginning of a few of my world history courses, whenever we are getting ready to learn about a new civilization, I show them a population map from today. I ask the students, why do you think the area is darker than the rest of the map. So they start discussing and investigating.
So as you can see, instead of starting a new unit of study or new topic with me telling me my students read pages 34-45 and answer the reading check questions, I can get them invested in their learning first by activating prior knowledge and getting them hooked. By allowing the students collaborate (one of those big buzz words in education today... and always!) they are using the information immediately and in a meaningful way.
Our March question was: How do you asses historical thinking. I know it is the middle of April already, but I finally finished with a blog post for our history group. Here it is.
Why didn't you teach me to think historically old social studies teacher?
Dear Social Teachers of my Past,
I know teachers usually teach in the they they were taught. Heck, most new parents use the parenting skills of their parents. But does that make this correct? Yes and No. While I am sure you are taking the best skills of the teachers of your past, don’t get sucked into the their worst traits. This means, don’t lecture any more! Well at least not all the time. You need to teach me to think, and history teachers, you needed me to think like a historian!
Throughout school, you always had us write essays, take tests, do projects, etc, etc, etc. While in school I thought you were trying to give us busy work, in reality you were trying to teach us to think historically, I think. You believed that if students could memorize facts and repeat information, then they must be able to think like a historian. Well, not so fast my old teachers!
Today old teachers, I think it is more important to teach your students how to think historically. This reason maybe why history repeats itself! Most people have forgotten the facts they were made to memorize for the test! Here is how.
First, engage me in great questions. Yes you heard me, ask great questions. Not one of those Lower Blooms questions that I can simply Google or what you call a test that has multiple choice and fill in the blank questions, but give me something that will actually make me think. While I may not like it this moment, I will thank you later (which I have for the harder work you made me do!). Secondly, teach me to think historically. What does this mean? Well, teach me to look at viewpoints objectively, teach me to weigh and analyze conflicting evidence. Teach me to think for myself and be a great citizen. This is the tricky part, how do you do this?
First you need to teach me to ask questions. I need to be able to collect information from texts, images, videos, or any other type of Primary/Secondary source. Secondly, I need to be able to contextualize the information. What does that mean? Well it means I am able to put events in place and time. If I am reading a document from the 1800s, I can visualize time and place. Thirdly, I need to be able to carefully consider what the source is saying. I need to be able to understand the language they are using. Fourthly, I need to be able determine points of agreement and disagreement. I need to be able to compare and contrast these sources. Finally, I am able to make judgements about what is really being said.
As to not be to objective, make a rubric that has what you are expecting me to know based on the criteria above. Remember, I am a sponge and I want to learn. Teach me to ask questions, I will always use this skill.
Some of this information is based on the data I learned from http://historicalthinkingmatters.org/
Today I had the honor to be interviewed by Andy Barnett, an Education student at IU Bloomington. We talked why I flipped, (although I don't really consider my self a flipped teacher), different styles of flipping, and advise for those looking at flipping. Here is our recorded talk.
While on Spring Break, I have been listening to a lot of Podcasts. Specifically, the Podcast called EduAllStars. You can find them at www.eduallstars.com and on Twitter at @EduAllStarsHQ. They are run by a friend, Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd), Chris Kesler (@iamkesler), and Stacey Huffine (@techninjastacey. There guest in their earliest Podcasts was Dave Burgess (@burgessdave). He is known for his book, Teach Like a Pirate. During his interview Dave made a comment that stuck with me. Paraphrasing Dave, he said, "don't let a specific style of teaching determine who you are as a teacher. Be who you want to be as a teacher." If you have seen my presentations or chatted with me in other forums, you know how passionate I am about using Ramsey Musallam's (@ramusallam) Explore, Flip, Apply, which is a way to "Flip" your classroom. However, the term "Flipped Teacher" or "Flipped Learning" really bugs me. I feel that you should not pigeon hole an educator by the type of teaching style they use. Great educators use many different styles to engage students. So to say I am a "Flipped Teacher" is wrong. I am an educator and a learner and I use what ever method is necessary to first engage my students through inquiry, help guide them if they struggle, and allow students to be the authors of their own work.
George Phillip is a social studies teacher and designer.
Ramsey Musallam - www.cyclesoflearning.com
Karl Lindgren-Streicher -
Josh Stumpenhorst -
Jason Bretzmann -
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