Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ditching the Textbook - An Entire Unit Explained

So while I have essentially ditched the textbook in three of my four preps, I am still partially tied to it in AP government.  I did try to kick it to the curb a few years ago when we were doing Congress/interest rates, but three years is a long time ago and the test results were not what I wanted. Well I just tried it again on our courts/Civil Liberties/Civil Rights unit and the test results were the best I have had in years and that is saying something as I had quite an amazing group last year.  So how was it done - nothing magic - just a few risks.
  1. The students watched the background video on the courts.  Notice that it is not just a PowerPoint but it, as with the other flipped videos, used multiple ways to present.
  2. Then we did an "interactive" on the Supreme Court.  Here again, it was not just questions, but looking at the court and looking at several court cases to highlight issues being discussed.   We did it in class so I could help the students as we went along and then go over it.
  3. Afterwards watched this flipped video at home and then did another interactive on the vetting process.  Again I was there to help the students on the work as they did it in class.  Students have to share the video notes and/or take a quiz on the video when they get to class where they can use their notes.
  4. The next assignment at home was watching this video on due process.  This one is harder to understand so I use a Google Form to let the students ask questions virtually and then start the class by answering their questions before their quiz. 
  5. Partially on their own in class and partly as part of our class discussion we use "Court Cases to Know,"which are the key ones to know for the AP exam.
  6. Finally we have a "Civil Liberties/Civil Rights cheat sheet" which is our lecture of sorts. 
  7. Finally I go "traditional" on the kids and have them complete a study guide and look at Barron's.  One can also use Quizlet which lets you use traditional flash cards or games to study the courts, civil rights and civil liberties
  8. Along the way I also gave a quiz on the first ten amendments.  But other than studying for the test, the kids probably never had more than 30 minutes of homework a night and while they did have to read in class, they read from many different sources - not a static textbook. 
Want more - shameless plug here - buy my book which made it to the warehouse today and can be bought here.  It is titled "Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Learning."