While the idea of flipping the classroom sounds promising, teachers in the humanities may have felt a bit left out of the equation. After all, in the humanities, particularly language arts, there are few lessons that can make the sort of bite-sized lectures seen in many STEM flipped classrooms.
The fact is, there are many ways to flip the language arts classroom, as long as we think of it a different way. In the language arts classroom, the part we flip is not necessarily a video lecture, but web resources that add context and aid understanding. Consider the following generalization:
To me the biggest difference is in how flipping adds context. For instance, working with a particular piece of literature, say, Romeo & Juliet, offers many ways to use the flipped format to add learning experiences beyond what one might have time to share within the restraints of the class hour. Some examples of what could be flipped for students reading Romeo & Juliet:
- Google maps of the area of Italy where the play is set
- Historical info on Queen Elizabeth I, London, or William Shakespeare
- 3D rendering of the Globe Theater
- Google Lit Trip, which uses Google Earth to move through the play’s locales
- Video clips from West Side Story, Shakespeare in Love, or any available version of the play
- Renaissance food recipes and photos
- Video and image parodies, such as this one.
- Your own screen casts explaining texts, like this one, using Jing.com.
- Online texts, including side-by-side modern translations, e.g. No Fear
- Blogging as Romeo or Juliet
- Discussion boards regarding choices the characters make
- Vocabulary practice via Spelling and Vocabulary City, for instance.
- Suggesting students create a quick rap using uJam.com
Of course, the possibilities are nearly endless. While no teacher wants to replace the core discussions and interactions of the language arts class (nor should they), adding a flipped element creates opportunity to craft meaning and connection to the world in ways simply not possible by sending home worksheets or packets with information.
The management of this material requires a strong interactive platform for teachers to easily share these resources. There are several free or inexpensive options for this. Moodle, Edmodo, Schoology, Google Sites, Wikispaces and several others could form that connective tissue to allow for these flipped resources. I prefer Schoology, even though I used Edmodo for years, because the design is very clean, and students always know where to find resources, even if they were from many weeks ago. I think it is a matter of preference.
The next post will chronicle the past year’s experience another teacher in my building and I had flipping our classes this past year.