Thirteen Colonies, United as One

My first week in flipped learning was overwhelming, to say the least. I was suddenly blown away by the new reality I had helped to create. I was existing in a land that was far more student-centered than I had ever visited before. What was I to do?

As I struggled and adjusted and re-adjusted, I realized that I would need to do a project for the first unit in social studies. For years, I have done a project with every unit. In recent times, I have handed over more and more authority and direction to the class in projects.

This time, however, I felt like I couldn’t just say, “learn what you like and present it.” I didn’t think the class would be ready for it, and I felt that it would not be productive. I also know that I need to do more activities with maps in social studies, but the last thing I want to do is hand over a paper cutout and have them fill it out.

So as I wracked my brain trying to come up with what to do, an idea suddenly came to me: the class would create one giant map of the thirteen colonies, but there would be individual projects (videos, Google Slides, Prezis, or written documents) embedded onto the map through QR codes. There could also be trigger images for augmented reality interspersed throughout the map.

I presented it to my class today. Instead of calling it an “assignment,” I pitched it as a crazy idea I had. I asked them what they thought of it. Were they interested? Not surprisingly, they were totally on board (If they had said no, I was fully prepared to ditch it.) and some groups even volunteered to do two subtopics in order to have larger groups.

It will definitely require me to do frequent check-in to see how their learning is coming, and I will have to steer them in the right direction, but I am definitely excited about having a whole-class project that involves technology and paper and scissors.



  1. I think this is a fantastic idea. Placing the qr codes on the map will cause the kids to go crazy looking at each others work. There will be so much learning going on because they will all want to see what the other kid did. It will cause other grades to want to come in and check things out. You will get parents coming in as well to see the work. You can’t ask for a better learning experience than that. Wow, great idea.

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