Flipping learning at KS3

Over the last few years my timetable has been entirely KS4 and Post 16, which has been great for developing Flippedlearning techniques with the older students, but less good for my teaching skills.

Therefore I had a mix of excitement and apprehension when I was timetabled a mixed ability Year 7 group for next year. Would my skills at dealing with the older kids work with tiny Year 7’s? Do I remember anything about the Norman Conquest and the Tudors? Probably most importantly had I become too cynical for their incessant questionning and enthusiasm?

Initially I thought I would just have to put to one side my experiments with flipped learning with this group as they would be too young and not ready for a high level of content. However the more I have thought about it the more I realised three things. 

Firstly the lack of content we were able to cover in KS3 lessons was always a limiting factor to developing historical analysis and accessing really interesting historical enquiries.

Secondly that I had always struggled with consistently setting meaningful and engaging high quality homework at KS3.

Lastly that the acquisition and retention of historical content was becoming more important in all areas and so training students in methods like flippedlearning from Year 7 to aid this would be a good idea.

By happy coincidence (honestly!) I was asked to pick up a KS3 History class at the end of last term as one of our teachers went on maternity leave so I decided to try out my flippedlearning resources with them.

I decided firstly to try out some of my resources in lesson time and so used my Home Front In WW1 videos and worksheets with the class. Interestingly a relatively lively group of Year 9’s were completely engaged by watching the videos – you could hear a pin drop! More importantly the discussion as they shared what they had found out was engaged, interesting and supported by evidence. It was great to hear the students asking very interesting questions about the content.

My next stage was to try it out for homework. For this I set a pretty high level documentary on Lightning War before they studied it in lesson. Again I was pleasantly surprised that the class mostly completed the work and came to the next lesson with a very comprehensive understanding of Blitzkrieg. The students who had not completed it were able to get a reasonable understanding from the initial discussion and the lesson was able to focus on the impact and successes of Lightning War.

So, my conclusion is that there is every reason to use these techniques with the younger students and I am already enjoying trawling YouTube for videos about the Normans and the Tudors and brushing up on my subject knowledge ready for my enthusiastic and soon to be very knowledgable Year 7’s!

Watch this space for updates about flipping my Year 7 classroom.

For regular updates about my journey and new resources follow me on @flipyourhistory

Home Front in WW1 resources are available here

Lightning War Blitzkrieg resource is available here

Germany resources suitable for KS3 are available here

My new Norman Conquest resources are available here

My new Tudors resources are available here

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