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The three mistakes I won't make next year in my flipped, blended classroom

Community Contributor
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1. Have absolutely no plan ready when the internet fails, the motherboard on the classroom computer dies (yes, that happened right at the start of a lesson), or there is a power outage. Instead, have at least three back up lesson plans that you can use at any stage in the year regardless of where you are in the syllabus. Have the materials prepared, enough handouts, etc. and just move straight into it seamlessly - don't let them (the students) see your fear - they will feed off it!

Here are my go-to options for Economics (most are useful for Business Studies, Social Studies, Geography, etc):

  • The international trading game - fills the lesson, they learn valuable skills and concepts, they love it = WIN
  • Take a stack of newspapers and A3 paper - ask students to find news articles on a particular concept/topic, rank them in order of impact/importance, prepare to justify their decision and debate with classmates. They can make A3 posters afterwards for wall displays.
  • Use A3 paper scattered on various tables in the room and write a key topic/concept recently covered in the centre. Organise students in teams/pairs and give them pens of a certain colour per team. Invite students to go to an A3 sheet in teams/pairs and write as many linked concepts/facts/terminology/diagrams/evaluation points about each topic as possible in three minutes - they can use their folders/textbooks as you see fit. At the end of the time, they must swap to another station until all have visited each A3 sheet. At the end you can judge which team knows most about a subject to see which colour pen is most used.

2. Spend ages trying to find a particular app or tool to use in/with Canvas but only using 'classroom' or 'T&L' search parameters. One of the best tools I used this year was designed for use in conference to get audience participation - tools may be out there under different guises - look wider afield.

3. Try to fill lessons with impromptu timed essays - there is far too much marking involved, especially if they don't learn to peer- or self-assess. Get them trained from the start to judge their work and that of others: don't accept that they only want your opinion as the expert - get them ready to recognise good work from bad.