No grass has been able to grow under my feet.
All these challenges aside, I'm actually devoting the most energy to revamping my USI classes. I last taught the course in 2009-10, and while I was pretty innovative then (or maybe just so I thought), I've underwent some serious changes in my philosophy and how I do things. Most of the things I did then are not suitable for a flipped classroom mindset, let alone a wholly flipped classroom.
Resources that helped me so much when I flipped USII have disappeared--either from my browser's history and my bookmarks or from the internet altogether. I keep searching for this huge list of US History essential questions I used then to help focus my units--gone. It also seems that many teachers who flip have turned their classes to non-public sources like Edmodo, so it's been tough to find ideas for what will happen in class.
So, my classes have been working a lot with primary sources. This is great for common core as well as trying to get to the meat of what's important with less of the textbook type processing and a different amount of specificity. Of course, working with primary sources is a big part of the Common Core, which of course helpful too.
We're working on a project that will help them recognize the regional differences and reasons for the founding of each colony (a modification of my previous "Character of a Colony Project" to become a simulated Mystery Skype--shout out to Rachelle Lamoureaux for the Mystery Skype idea).
The changes are many: first, we've changed textbooks to one that really doesn't fit what I tend to do in my classes, so gone are all the textbook/question homework assignments. I have not yet given a Powerpoint or a lecture of any kind. We've had a lot of conversations; we're trying to group and categorize in anticipation of DBQ writing; we're building relationships; we're learning about Google Drive and Chromebooks; we're collaborating.
Speaking of which, check out the new desks, which arrived yesterday morning!
My current struggle with USI is, of course, what the heck to do with them in class time. The students who have been trained in the more traditional methods have already expressed that they WANT lectures and that they're getting sick of primary sources. The Mystery Skype is a start, but I'm struggling to fill the day-to-day. Building meaningful class activities is what makes the class time fun, memorable, and the point of getting the opportunity to spend one's days with high school students!