The Merits of a Flipping Status Quo

–Originally published at FlippingAwesomeTeaching

“What flipping changes are you planning or considering for the new school year?”

(This was the question for the 8/16 #flipblogs chat. The next #flipblogs chat is set for 8/30 and the question is “What problem(s) has flipped learning help you address?”)

For teachers, summer is the season of renewal and rebirth … not spring! The spring months are usually about operating on survival-mode, squishing in the last couple of units, freezing or baking in the classroom, and trying to achieve meaningful closure. June, July, August are prime time to reflect, seek & absorb new skills or ideas, design new systems, and gather enough courage to start all over again.

In the past 5 summers, I have made major changes to my practice:

2012: switching voluntarily from ELA to Social Studies
2013: figuring out how to flip my classroom (while also campaigning unsuccessfully for a position on the School Committee)
2014: starting this blog, renovating my grading system to accommodate the flip, changing the first unit on colonial regions (while also renovating the house we’d just bought)
2015: overhauling the style and content of my video lessons with green-screen and OfficeMix (and also designing/implementing a 3-day workshop to introduce flipped learning)
2016: re-designing our curriculum workflow with better integration of summative assessments (with more home-improvement jobs and a local-history research project)

2017? Meh. Nothing that major. I re-visited some unit objectives, especially to remove some content from the pre-Revolution period. (Buh-bye, most of the French & Indian War!) That will give us some breathing room later in the school year, so we don’t feel so squished in the spring. I’ve had some mini-epiphanies about things like Bloom’s Taxonomy, and got some ideas for introducing the flip to students — thanks to fellow #flipblogs posts and Jon Bergmann’s certification program. That’s about it. The most revolutionary flipping thing about my summer has been expanding connections with other flippers — through the FLN SlackChat, on Twitter, and exchanging emails with some terrific educators like Jon Bergmann and Peter Paccone.

Change can become addictive; it self-perpetuates if you’re not careful; we revise so much and so fast that we don’t know if it worked. I know this is the Summer of “SHIFT THIS!”, and I plan to read that book eventually, but some changes need time to sink in. I didn’t get a chance to fully implement the workflow changes last year, for many reasons that I blogged about in June. (The presidential campaign was one major distraction!)

In many ways, I feel like September 2017 will be the month that I hoped and worked for last summer. Does that make sense??

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