Thursday, October 3, 2013


I feel like I'm letting myself down this year.

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The last time I taught US History, I taught the second half of it (1900ish to presentish).  I had not taught this course since my very first (very crummy) year teaching and I (and the world) had changed a lot in those 9 years.  I used essential questions and flipped some of my units.  My instruction was very tech heavy.  I think I did a very good job of teaching in a new, interesting, engaging, manner.

Now it's this year.  I'm teaching the FIRST half of US History (Foundings to 1900ish), and I'm struggling to make it into the course I want it to be.  First, I taught this course much more recently (2009-10) and was already starting to be more innovative in my instruction.  I still used lecture and the textbook.

My larger class load than that USII class has me struggling to be creative.  I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water, and the grading hasn't even really started yet. I also am finding that there seems to be way fewer resources for flipping USI; at least that I can find shared and for free.  I just don't know where to start with flipping and what students would actually DO during class.

So I'm doing a lot of the same things I did then, and I feel sort of terrible about it.  We're getting ready to assess the first unit of the course, and I'm looking fondly at the test I used way back when.  I need to find some inspiration, some collaboration, and that spark that lit me up when I taught USII!

With all that said, I mentioned that we were working on a mock Mystery Skype here.  A student wanted some comfort and asked if she could make a "screen" to simulate Skype better, to which I replied OF COURSE!  Here's what she made!  (She cut the frame out of cardboard; not sure why it looks so skewed here.

1 comment:

  1. I decided to peruse your blog today and it looks good. I know you wrote this a year ago, but I thought I'd Comment. I find this to be a bit of a challenge to. Most of my kids don't have computers so making them view things at home doesn't always work for me. I have moved in a direction of more student centered work. This year I added more SOLE Projects. I am also kicking around the idea of creating a Dossier Project on Andrew Jackson, since he is a lightning rod of activity for a huge portion of my 3rd quarter curriculum. I am currently wrestling with how to make it work, but it's getting there. I also have a civil war scrapbook we do every year in the 4th quarter and some other projects they do. I think if we can create projects with them exploring as much as possible that is a good place to start. Maybe start with a broad question. I did two longer projects like that this year and the kids liked them. The questions had to do with colonial fashion and if the US was successful from 1781-1789. It is hard to think in the other direction, especially when everyone else and the curriculum is thinking in a different one. Let me know what you decided to do.


Thanks for learning along with me!