I love the flip. I do. And I realize by saying this I’m making a controversial statement. I believe if used judiciously, in the right context, the flip can free up valuable class time and provide the background knowledge that is fundamental for students to then go forward and wrestle with higher order thinking. Bottom line: it’s not always the right instructional choice, it’s only one tool in our educational repertoire. But it can be a powerful one.
Most of our current classes structurally discourage cooperation and collaboration. For many hours of the day, our students are expected to sit and learn by themselves. I have to confess that all of the years I’ve taught, my classroom has been teacher-centered. Students facing the front. Me talking. Next year my classroom will be different.
And while school is almost over, my learning is not — because I’m connected. This summer for vacation, I don’t plan to vacate or take a course that in the end would probably leave me tired and weary. Instead, I plan to spend the summer in artful restoration, through passionate, fun, deep learning. I won’t be learning how to be a better teacher. Those days are over. In reality, it’s not what my students need.
For me, this week is one of the most important weeks in the entire semester of English 10B. The reason? We begin to delve into a gamut of complicated, yet crucial human rights issues. To be honest, there is very little that I am more passionate about than social justice. And from what I’ve seen from this generation, for many of my students this is the “stuff” that matters… I teach to show my students that the bystander effect is lethal, often on a scale beyond our imagination.
So what is the vessay? It’s a VoiceThread persuasive essay. It will require a thesis that can be argued, transition words to make their writing fluid, and evidence from the text to support their point. Then they will need to find pictures to represent their argument and, finally, record it as a voicethread. I have no doubt in my mind that for many of my students this will be difficult. Forging into new territory can be hard work for all of us.