Ms. Scioli is the first teacher to try out a different style of teaching in the Social Studies department. The “flipped classroom” is to have students watch lectures and take notes at home, and apply those facts and ideas in class. Students will use what they learned at home for more critical thinking activities in class.
In theory, it is a brilliant idea. Students could rewind parts of a lecture that they find confusing, which would allow them move at their own pace. Teachers can focus on getting their students to apply what they learned.
Due to the new curriculum, tenth and eleventh graders will be taking US History. With twice as many students, there will obviously be a shortage of textbooks.
“I started thinking how I could teach history without a textbook,” Scioli said. “The kids could hear the story from me at home, then when we came to class we could do more application and skill building activities.”
While Scioli is the only one currently flipping her classroom, other teachers in the social studies department are supporting the move. Mrs. Fishbane, another teacher, will try the flipped classroom for a few units.
“I think it is going to be of huge benefit to students and teachers alike,” Fishbane said. “It gives us time in the classroom to focus on things that you need the teacher there for.”
Of course, we will have to see how it works for the students. They will go home, watch the lecture on Youtube or a Wiki, and come back to the class to apply what they learned. This puts a lot of responsibility on the students, and slackers will see their grade drop quickly.
And the teachers?
“It’s something you have to approach individually based on what technology you have access to, availability, and space,” Scioli said. “So far I’ve gotten good feedback from my students.”