Teaching and Learning History - 040416

Lesson Ideas

The Night of Broken Glass
by Jessica Davis

The idea of a flipped classroom can go in many different directions for a teacher. My first flipped classroom lesson was a video lecture on Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass in Germany. I have found World War Two to be a very exciting time period, historically speaking, but the use of a personal video lecture is a great way to bring life to something students may not be as motivated to learn about. Prezi (www.prezi.com) gives the opportunity for teachers to voice over slides so I simply typed a script, put a few words up on the slide and let my students immerse themselves in history. In the first slide I set the tone early, letting students know what was to be expected during this lecture, just as I would in class. I think it is important to make flipped classrooms as comfortable and familiar to students as their in-class experiences. The photos in Prezi are also clickable, so students are able to have an up close and personal experience with the shattered storefronts and people involved in this event. The best way I have found to address this in class the following day is to conclude the video lecture with reflection questions. These can serve as the warm-up the following day, or even set the objectives for the class activity.

Germans pass by the broken shop window of a Jewish-owned business that was destroyed during Kristallnacht.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD


To create your own flipped classroom lecture with Prezi I would suggest the following steps:

    1) Map out what you want to discuss: pick the big topics of your lecture just like when making a PowerPoint for use in class.
     2) Add a title and brief talking points on each slide. You don't want to bog students down with words on each slide; instead you want them to listen to your voice, so keep each slide short and sweet.

    3) After you add the text, look for photos. I always wait and save this for the end, although you may prefer to do this at the end of each slide. It is easier for me to flip through and make sure there are a variety of photos for the topic if I save this for the end.

    4) Next write out a script for your lecture. I wrote about a paragraph for each slide. Don't feel like you need to be formal with this step; write just how you would speak to your students. If you want to throw a joke in because that's your thing, I would encourage it! Help your students feel like they’re listening to something familiar rather than a recorded robot.

    5) Finally, and most tedious, listen back through your lecture. If your slide show does not automatically move on when you are finished speaking, make sure you let your students know when they can move on. If anything sounds awkward or you forget to say something important, this is your chance to comb through your lecture!

About NCHE

The National Council for History Education promotes historical literacy by creating opportunities for teachers and students to benefit from more history, better taught.