The latest news from the John Marshall Foundation

Flipped Out

May 10, 2016 by Joni Albrecht

Secondary school history teacher Greg Ownby has flipped over John Marshall. 

Greg Ownby at WhiteboardOwnby, who is Powhatan High School’s History Department Chairperson and now an educational consultant to the John Marshall Foundation (JMF), is also a trainer in an instructional model known as “Flipping the Classroom.” He teaches teachers how to think differently and shift instruction to after school hours. Homework assignments are made and finished during class time. In a flipped classroom, content delivery includes video lessons prepared by the teacher or third parties, online collaborative discussions, digital research, and text readings. Homework ranges from creating a “Mind Map,” a graphic expression synthesizing words and pictures, to a letter written to a historical figure, an essay, or a Q & A session.

Flipping his classroom is just one way Ownby makes John Marshall and other people in history come to life. Ownby brings a love of the U.S. narrative, vast classroom and technological experience, and an eye on creativity and relevancy to the work he is doing on the Justice in the Classroom (JIC) curriculum. Under a grant by the Richard & Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, Ownby is working with the Education Committee and Director of Education Barbara Schneider to revise the curriculum. Ownby believes students digest “chunks of history” best when they are delivered in ways they find most appealing; he and the committee are revising the JIC curriculum into palatable pieces and pairing them with user-friendly lesson plans.

“I meet kids where they are. And kids today are not the same kids as even two years ago. We use our hand held devices and access web-based content that is updatable on a daily basis. It is the best way to teach. Rather than ban cell phones, I embrace BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, and we use them in Google search contests.” Ownby holds on to tried and true methodology as well. “I still have my students writing, working with their hands, moving around the classroom and really thinking about how history relates to them.” Tom Kennedy, JMF Board member and Education Committee representative has worked on Justice in the Classroom since it’s inception in 2005: “Having an educational consultant, the caliber of Greg Ownby, is a real boon. He brings a creative and insider look that will improve an already award-winning program.”

Greg Ownby teachingCurrently a teacher of AP U.S. Government & Politics and U.S. and Virginia History, Ownby holds a B.A. in history from Virginia Commonwealth University and currently serves on the Pamplin Historical Park Teacher Advisory Committee.

“I fell in love with history while I was in college. I volunteered for the Jamestown Sailing Program, and it changed my life,” recalls Ownby.

“I am excited to be working with the JMF and to lend my teaching experiences so that more teachers and students might learn about Marshall and his monumental impact on our government and judicial system. If we can make Marshall come alive for the students, make him real by looking at his life as well as his work, then students will appreciate his accomplishments even more and may be inspired by him to go on to do amazing things for our great nation!”

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