Flipping the Middle School History Classroom- Part Two

In my last post I covered how I use the website EdPuzzle to find, edit and organize the videos my students watch for homework each night. Be sure to check out that post first if you are just joining us!

In this post, I'm going to share with you how I use Schoology in conjunction with EdPuzzle to assign these videos to my students. You can use EdPuzzle alone to assign videos, however I like to use Schoology because I use Schoology to give my tests. This allows me to have all assignments in one place.

First you will need an account for Schoology. It's really easy to sign up- AND FREE!

Next you will need to create a class.

Once inside your course, you can organize the year in any number of ways. 
You can create any folders you want. I like to organize mine by quarters. Within the quarters they are further broken down into units & chapters. I can also hide folders I don't want students to have access to yet. For example, if I am still working on the materials for a unit, or don't want them to have access to a test until test day, I can hide that folder and unhide it the morning of the test. 

You can color code the folders too. This makes my anal retentive heart pitter patter. In my folder red is for year-long/ training materials and black is for regular classroom materials. 

You can also customize your "profile pic" for the course, which you can see I've made using my favorite fonts and to match my classroom theme. 

Within each Quarter I have the units, and within each Unit Folder, I have a folder for each chapter. Within each Chapter, I have the individual assignments. You can see below that I have already written my test and have it waiting in "hidden" mode until test day. I also have already assigned the homework for this chapter and have dates assigned to them. 

Once you are in an assignment there are even MORE features. You can embed those EdPuzzle videos RIGHT into the assignment! They can watch the video, answer the questions and interact with the video and never have to leave the website. They can comment and ask questions right in the assignment and *hopefully* even help each other! You as the instructor can even see who has submitted the assignment on the right side. I will eventually write a post about how to embed these videos, but you can probably figure it out yourself because it is THAT easy. I will also eventually try to write a post about creating a test in Schoology as well.

Schoology also has a ton of resources directly within their website. The community of teachers is amazing. I would recommend joining the "Flipped Classrooms" group if you are interested in flipping your classroom. 
I'm just touching on the surface of the possibilities of this website. You can post to your wall with pictures and events. You can privately message your students. You can take attendance, you can keep your grades in their gradebook. It even offers analytics on your student's usage. 

I can't say enough about this website, so just go check it out on your own. And the best part it is completely FREE. 

One last awesome: You will not have to recreate all this next year. You can simply save everything to "My Resources" and reuse it all next year. I love efficiency! 


Flipping the Middle School History Classroom- Part One

This is going to be my first year teaching middle school history. One of the things that I am most excited about is going to be the ability to make my classroom as paperless as possible. I plan to do this by "flipping" my class, and using a variety of digital tools for assessments and review. I want to share each one in detail because they have been so revolutionary to my ability to make this little paperless dream of mine come true!

I'm going to describe the tools and websites I plan to use in a series of blog posts. Each of these tools I use is a game changer and I feel like deserve their own post! But first....

What is a Flipped Classroom? 
A flipped classroom is classroom in which the activities of a traditional classroom are flipped.  Instead of hearing lectures in class and then responding and practicing at home for homework, you switch those activities. So for homework, my students will watch a video on the topic we are studying (this replaces the function of the lecture in the classroom) and then answer a few questions. When they come to class the next day, we complete an activity related to the the previous night's video to cement their learning, which replaces the function of homework. This obviously requires you to choose/create a video for the topic at hand, and have a way to get it to your students. Thanks to the amazing entity known as the internet, this is easier than ever.

The first step to being able to flip my classroom is choosing a video, and having a way for my students to access it. This website is my jam. It already has a collection of an amazing videos and finding one is as simple as a search to find your topic. You can upload/link any video from youtube, or upload your own videos that you create. I have not created any of my own videos (yet!) because I have always been able to find an appropriate video with a little digging.

For my social studies class my favorite videos are the Crash Course videos with John Green (author of young adult books like the Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns) and some by a AP Euro teacher named Tom Richy. Sometimes I also find videos that go EXACTLY with my text book, section by section, chapter by chapter. For those of you that teach math/science Kahn Academy has great videos that are already loaded into EdPuzzle.

Another feature EdPuzzle offers is that you can add questions in to make sure your students are paying attention, or make them think deeper about the topics. They have to answer the question in order to move on with the video. It also keeps students from skipping ahead and NOT watching the video, and will even record who has watched the video and who hasn't. No more, "but I watched the video!".... uh no you didn't. You can also see their answers to the questions as well.
Lastly, you can edit and trim the videos to just the sections you want them to see. This is great if you want to use a scene from a movie or just a portion of a video if you find something that you don't want them to see.

Also, you can share the video through a link, or my favorite- by embedding the video into a website or a secondary source. This leads me to the next website that I use religiously, Schoology. Part 2 coming soon!

This website has made my life so much easier. I can plan out a long time ahead, and I can do it from anywhere. So many other teachers use this site and it is so easy to find what you need. I've planned half of my year and there is only ONE case where I have not be able to find what I want. I hope this has been helpful to you and maybe made you aware of a tool that can help you too!

Goodbye Kindergarten..

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This fall I'm making a big change. I'm packing up all my kindergarten things, donating/selling my classroom library and heading upstairs. I am going to be teaching 8th & 9th Grade History.

Several people have asked why, and then they follow that question with, but is that what you want? The answer is because I love history, and YES!

Things are definitely going to change for me this year. I've already started writing curriculum, and even buying new decor. I'm looking forward to sharing some of these changes on this blog, and then even start selling some new materials in my TPT store. I hope that with my new schedule I will have a better balance of time and energy and will hopefully blog more regularly too.

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