Monday, January 27, 2014

Flipping the humanities classroom: a bleg

So my standard take on the whole flipped classroom was that it was old news.  I mean very old.  Like Socratic Method old.  As far as I could tell, flipped classrooms took a humanities seminar model and applied it to a science lecture hall.  Yawn.  Nothing to see here. 

Then Tim Burke drops this.  I've experimented with group notetaking before I've been dissatisfied with the results.  The problem is that high school students, even really good ones, are only developing the habits of reading and notetaking in general.  Often when they collaborate they get a reverse crowdsourcing phenomenon:  collectively they focus on the wrong elements of a document or secondary source rather than the right ones whereas individually, they wouldn't (or at least many of them wouldn't).  I don't know why this happens (although reverse crowdsourcing is a real phenomenon and Forbes questions whether it even exists in the way we conventionally think of it).  But the Forbes article nails the problem for a high school classroom:  there isn't a wide variety of expertise in the room. Therefore, crowdsourcing  reading won't work. 

So, I'm making a bleg.  What's the best shared notetaking tool and how do you use it?  And how can I use it to help my 10th grade honors students navigate "A History of the Modern Middle East" (Cleveland and Bunton).

Thursday, January 16, 2014

70s music challenge

Over at his place, Withywindle has a list of great music of the 1970s.  Posted without commentary or explanation, I'll assume that the list is highly personal.  So, one is tempted to do the same for the same time period. 

Favorite 1970s songs (in no particular order). 

Neil Young:   After the Gold Rush.  I became obsessed with this song after the girls group sang it at a rare co-ed campfire when I was in summer camp.  Still love it today.  It's hard to pick just one Neil tune. 

Gladys Knight and the Pips:   Midnight Train to Georgia.  Probably doesn't make my top 10 if not for a certain karaoke night before my first ever conference paper.  I was a Pip.  We did the spin move.  It was awesome. 

David Bowie:  Heroes  My Bowie obsession continues since I first heard him in the 1980s.  This is perhaps my favorite Bowie song, if not my first.  Rebel Rebel was my other choice here. 

Bay City Rollers:  Saturday Night  You know it.  I know it.   We all know it.  I get one cheesy one.  This is it.  I watched the Saturday morning cartoon show.  Deal with it.  (And now you have an earworm, you're welcome).

Thelma Houston:  Don't Leave Me This Way  Because disco is awesome. 

Gloria GaynorI Will Survive  Because disco plus female empowerment is awesome.  Plus, never failed to get everybody on the dance floor at the house parties in grad school.  Seriously.  Everyone.

The Knack:  Good Girls Don't   My Sharona was bigger but this was better.

Bruce Springsteen:  Thunder Road  I came to Bruce Springsteen late in life.  I knew little beyond the Born in the USA album.  I was missing a lot.  Especially this.  Possibly the best rock song ever.  I sang it to my daughter as a lullaby every night for four years straight.  She called it "Screen Door Slams".

Corner of the Sky:  Stephen Schwartz/John Rubinstein (and my brother's piano version).  There were better musicals in the 1970s, but this song stuck.  My brother was very tolerant to let me sing along while he played.  You have no idea how tolerant.

The Who:  Won't Get Fooled Again  Intellectually I know the Stones and the Beatles are better and more important.  But my heart beats for The Who.