Author Archives | waberry

Edgar Allan Poe Archivist Activity – 7810

Summary

The students will complete a Performance Task about Edgar Allan Poe’s life using primary sources. A Performance Task requires the students to use critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving, and written communication skills to answer open-ended questions about a hypothetical yet realistic situation. This Performance Task also has an accompanying document library that includes a range of information sources (such as articles, photographs, letters, and an obituary). The students are instructed to use these materials in preparing their answers to the Performance Task’s questions within the allotted two 90 minute class periods. The students will also use critical thinking and problem solving skills to construct a timeline of the events in Poe’s life based on the historical documents.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal/Target (6)

The assignment prompted the analysis of primary sources located in the document library, as well as secondary sources they found while conducting online research. Information fluency was applied by the students as they conducted their additional research by referring to their Online Resource Evaluation and Digital Research Tip Sheet. These research materials encouraged the students to recognize objectivity, authority, and reliability when analyzing information on the internet. The students then synthesized the information from the document library (as well as their additional sources) in order to address the authentic task (described in the Scenario) of assessing the historical items in the box. The students then made several accurate claims about the historical evidence by assembling the information in a formal letter to the Virginia Historical Society and in the creation of a timeline.

Developing (3)

The students communicated and collaborated with their partners to reach a common goal. They interacted with the digital tools as
they completed the letter to the Virginia Historical Society and the timeline. Finally, the students communicated in a reflection through the use of a Google Doc Survey to discuss the following:

  • their experience completing the Performance Task
  • their role as a communicator and collaborator
  • using critical thinking skills to evaluate the relevancy of the primary sources in the document library, as well as internet sources
  • problems they faced and solved during the Performance Task
  • their role as critical thinkers and how it connects with their goals in the future

Ideal/Target (7)

The students engaged in critical thinking and problem solving through the following authentic tasks:

  • generating questions to guide their analysis of the primary sources and their additional research
  • collaborating with a partner to reach a common goal
  • incorporating strategies to gain insights about the events and influences in Poe’s life
  • arranging the events of Poe’s life and creating a timeline through the use of a digital tool
  • justifying their decision making in regards to which sources are most relevant

Analyzing the documents allowed the students to think critically about the documents’ relevancy to the specific questions. The students exhibited problem solving skills while explaining the reasons for their conclusions, and the justification of those conclusions by explicitly referring to the specific documents. Critical thinking is not only evident in the accuracy of the information they provided, but also in how clearly their ideas were presented, how effectively the ideas were organized, and how thoroughly the information was covered. Finally, the students applied problem solving skills through Dipity by creating interactive timelines.

Approaching (5)

In this Performance Task, the students utilized the digital tools to generate a letter on Google Doc based on their analysis and insight. The students also created a digital timeline using Dipity in which they collaborated on visually engaging timelines by integrating images, texts, and links. The students made connections between the historical content and the ideas presented in the Performance Task questions.

Student Artifact

Poe Dipity

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Poe Archivist Activity (7810) – H21 Lesson Resources
Contents:

Posted in Middle School, English, Info Fluency - Target, Comm/Collab - Dev, Critical Thinking - Target, Creativity - App, Winner '13-'14, Featured, Grade Level, Lesson, TIP Chart0 Comments

Secession Investigation – 7812

Summary

In this lesson, students use Voyant, a digital textual analysis tool, to analyze the Declaration of Secession for one of four Confederate States (South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, or Texas). The students use various features of Voyant, including a word cloud display, word frequency counter, and word context tool to discuss what they notice about the document they have chosen. In pairs, the students use the information displayed by these tools to complete a graphic organizer in which they make predictions about why their chosen state seceded from the Union. After analyzing the document, the students synthesize this information and answer the question, “Why did the Confederate States secede from the Union? Rank these reasons in order of importance and justify your rankings based on evidence from the document.” Students answer this question in a Schoolspace Discussion Forum, using specific textual evidence from the primary documents in order to support their answers. After writing their answer and viewing their classmates’ responses, the students compare their analyses with an “expert” who has done something similar.

Editor’s Note – For best results, this activity should be completed as a “discovery” activity before students are provided with any direct instruction on the causes of the Civil War. This lesson provides a solid starting point for a discussion on differences between the North and South, the reasons for secession, and the causes of the Civil War.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal

Research and information fluency are a focus of this lesson. Students practice several important research skills while analyzing one of the Declarations of Secession. Students construct research questions on multiple occasions throughout the lesson, as they choose the words and phrases to search for within the documents. Voyant displays the frequency, location, and context of these words, which the students interact with in order to develop new words and phrases to research that will strengthen their understanding of document and their responses to the final essay questions. The students assemble, organize, and synthesize their understanding of the frequency, location, and context of the words and phrases they have researched in order to explain why the Southern States seceded from the Union and rank these reasons in order of importance.

Developing

Communication is a secondary focus of this lesson. The students use a Schoolspace discussion board to communicate their analysis on the Declarations of Secession. A Schoolspace discussion board serves as a medium for the final written product so that students can quickly share their findings with the rest of the class and see the findings of their classmates as well. Group work is essential to this particular activity. As the students are problem solving and examining the two documents, it is important that they articulate their ideas verbally and share them with another person so that they can receive feedback, adapt their thought process, and consider outside opinions.

Ideal

Critical thinking and problem solving are another primary focus of this lesson. The problem embedded in this lesson, explaining why the Confederate States seceded, is an authentic task. This question is still a hot topic in today’s world, as it is frequently discussed and debated by historians. Additionally, there is no single correct answer to this task. In order to successfully complete the task, the students must select their own problem solving strategies by choosing words and phrases that they believe hold meaning or relevance, and then use the various Voyant tools (frequency, location, context, etc.) to justify their opinions. This task could be completed without the use of digital tools, but Voyant makes the task much more efficient. The tools at the students’ disposal allow them to examine entire documents, test hypotheses, and come to conclusions in a 45 minute time frame, which would not be possible if they had to read a single-spaced, multiple page document word for word.  Students reflect on their roles as critical thinkers and problem solvers as they compare and contrast their analyses with the “expert opinion” and use examples from the activity to discuss why they believe there are varying historical interpretations of the same event.

Not Observed

Creativity and Innovation are not a focus of this lesson.

Student Artifact

Secession Wordle Picture

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Secession Investigation (7812) – H21 Lesson Resources
Contents:

  • H21 Lesson Plan
  • Voyant Graphic Organizer
  • Sample Student Graphic Organizer
  • Sample Student Essay

Posted in Middle School, Social Studies, Info Fluency - Target, Comm/Collab - App, Critical Thinking - Target, Grade Level, Lesson, Subject, TIP Chart, US History0 Comments

Westward Expansion Jigsaw – 7811

Summary

This lesson will allow students to deeply explore the territories in Westward Expansion in 1-2 class periods, while encouraging them to research and communicate effectively with their peers.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal:

Students create questions to guide their research of Westward Expansion. Then, the students assemble and organize this information in in a Google Doc. Students synthesize this information in order to assess the “validity” of Westward Expansion. The students also use the information from their research to “teach” their classmates about the various aspects of Westward Expansion, which is an authentic task.

Ideal

In order to teach their classmates about Westward Expansion and assess the “validity” of Westward Expansion, the students establish group norms, form teams, and organize roles. The students  use Google Docs to facilitate this communication and collaboration and reflect on their roles as communicators and collaborators at the end of the lesson.

This lesson is focused on other criteria.

This lesson is focused on other criteria.

Student Artifact

PUT EMBED CODE HERE

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Westward Expansion Jigsaw (7811) – H21 Resources
Contents:

  • H21 Lesson Plan
  • Student Work Sample and Graphic Organizer

Posted in Middle School, Social Studies, Info Fluency - Target, Comm/Collab - Target, Grade Level, Lesson, TIP Chart, US History0 Comments

Contemporary Art Sculptures – 7809

Summary

Students work together in groups of 4-5. As a product of the lesson, students create a sculpture that represents the style of a contemporary sculptor that is assigned to them. In order to create this piece of artwork, each group researches a contemporary sculptor they have researched. All group members decide what information to assemble, and then they collect and record that information in their sketchbooks, and use this research is used to create thumbnail sketches that are inspired by their sculptor. The students compare their thumbnail sketches as a group and decide what their final sculpture will look like. After creating their sculpture, each group member participates in presenting information about the sculpture that they created and the artist that they researched. The lesson is divided into timed sections according to the task. This fast pace energizes the students, forces them to work efficiently, and creates a dynamic learning environment.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal

Students uses Scholastic Magazine articles to review information and continue their research online using a variety of search engines, including Google Images. The students develop questions about their sculptor and his/her art to guide their research. The students assemble and organize this information in order to create individual thumbnail sketches that are then shared with the rest of the group. The students synthesize all of the group research and ideas in order to create their final product. The use of digital tools allows the students to complete this lesson in the intended (short) time frame. Search engines allow the students to compile a large amount of information on their artist from a variety of sources, including pictures of his/her work in 20 minutes or less, leaving plenty of time for the creative process.

Not Observed

The teacher selects groups and the subject that each group will research. Students decide as a group how to present their information and sculpture to the rest of the class. Students collaborate throughout the entire lesson on various parts of the sculpture; however, they do not use digital tools to collaborate.

Not Observed

The students figure out how to use a limited amount of classroom materials to create their desired sculpture in the style of their artist. This process requires quite a bit of critical thought, but students do not use digital tools to leverage this skill.

Not Observed

Students combine their ideas to create a sculpture based on the style of the sculptor they have researched . Creativity is a focus of the lesson; however, students do not use digital tools for the creation portion of the lesson.

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Contents:

Posted in Middle School, Electives, Info Fluency - Target, Art, Grade Level, Lesson, TIP Chart0 Comments

Presidential Hunger Games – 7807

Summary

In this lesson, students create “tribute commercials” for one of the first five Presidents as if that individual was competing in a version of the “Hunger Games” in order to become the President of the modern-day world. These persuasive commercials discuss the legacy and accomplishments of one President and compare and contrast that President with one of the other first five Presidents. In order to create these commercials, students research the legacy, accomplishments, and “dirt” of their chosen President, as well as one of his Hunger Games competitors. Students also analyze current events and evaluate how the various Presidents would respond to these events. In groups of three, students use GoogleDocs to collaboratively compile this information, and then use GoogleDocs or Google Presentation to storyboard their ideas before creating the final product. Ultimately, the students view each other’s commercials and reflect on how media can influence public perception of various events and individuals.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal – 7

Initial student research topics (accomplishments, current events, and “dirt”) are provided by the teacher, but the students create their own research questions within these topics to find relevant information that can be used to support their President and “bash” a chosen competitor. The students use Google Docs to assemble their research and then decide upon the major point(s) of focus for their movie, which requires synthesis of their findings. The students discuss as a group which information should be included in the movie based on what they believe would be the most persuasive argument for their President and against their competitor. After deciding upon a message, students complete more research to “fill in the gaps” of their chosen topic. Students use Google Presentation and/or GoogleDocs to organize their research in an effective manner and then use Moviemaker, Photoshop, and other movie and image editing tools in order to display their research and final message. This movie is an authentic task for several reasons. First, the movie creation requires students to think critically about media in society and media’s role in shaping public perception. The students reflect on the connection between these videos and current day media at the end of the assignment. Additionally, the task requires students to research current events and become more aware of what is occurring in the world.

Ideal – 7

Over the two week period of this project, the students use a variety of digital tools (Google APPs products, email accounts) to communicate and collaborate with each other inside and outside of class. The students assign each other various tasks throughout the course of the assignment. First, the students decide who is responsible for each section of the research. Then, during the creation phase, the students decide which group member is in charge of making/publishing the final movie, while the other two students create and locate images, video, audio, and other media to be used in the final product. The students use email throughout the course of the assignment to send each other the necessary media and resources for their roles. At the end of the assignment, students reflect on the collaborative process and discuss how they could improve their collaborative skills for the future.

Ideal – 7

The problem embedded within this assignment is to create a persuasive piece of media that influences public perception of two of the first five US Presidents. The students justify the theme(s) of their commercials based on the research that they complete, and explain how that theme will help to create a compelling argument that is based in truth. Students then select and apply the most appropriate strategies and tools to complete this task, using various movie, audio, and image editing techniques for this purpose. At the end of the assignment, students use a Google Form to evaluate each other’s products and use each other’s comments and the numerical averages for overall “truthiness” and “persuasiveness” to reflect on their commercial’s success.

Ideal – 7

Students synthesize their research and analyze the trends they see within this research to create an effective theme or message for their commercial. The students use Moviemaker, Photoshop, and other movie and image editing software to create these commercials. The students take risks within this assignment, as they have not completed any specific lessons on persuasive techniques, other than discussing the campaign commercials discussed at the start of the assignment. Students choose their own persuasive strategies based on what they see that worked within these commercials. Additionally, the students are not required to complete any image or audio editing for their commercial, however, many students went out of their way to learn these programs in order to make their commercial more effective. Students use the data from the Google Reflection form in order to reflect on their creative process and discuss what they could do differently in the future.

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Presidential Hunger Games (7807) – H21 Lesson Resources
Contents:

  • H21 Lesson Plan
  • Presidential Hunger Games Directions and Rubric
  • Sample Student Research and Storyboard Organizer (Google Doc)
  • Sample Student Commercials – 1, 2, 3, 4 (Vimeo)
  • Sample Student Reflection

Posted in Middle School, Social Studies, Grade Level, Project, Subject, US History0 Comments

Go Grammar Campaign – 7808

Summary

Students will work in teams to promote the GO GRAMMAR Campaign, a venture to increase grammar skills in a manner that is innovative, engaging, and fun. After the teams are formed, team members will discuss insights, strategies, implementation, and goals. The teams will choose and research 8 grammar rules using a variety of search engines. Students will create questions based on target audience, marketing, design, and creativity. Students will then synthesize the information they researched through the use of the Design Cycle to create games, posters, programs, events, apparel, presentations, music, movies, etc. to promote their 8 grammar rules within their school and their community.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal/Target (7)

Not only are students utilizing a variety of search engines to research specific grammar rules, they are conducting their own research and data analysis through their team roles as a Marketing Analyst. Through this authentic task, students were researching target demographics so they were able to provide information and insights regarding effective campaign strategies. Students applied information fluency by referring to their Online Resource Evaluation which encourages them to recognize objectivity, authority, and reliability when analyzing information on the internet. Creating questions to guide their research, as well as guide their focus for the grammar campaign, was extremely beneficial in their ability to evaluate the data they collected and then make connections. Using GO: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design as an additional source, the students synthesized the information while creating products to promote grammar. The students also employed a variety of internet tools to interact with the information they researched and gathered, such as Excel Spreadsheets and Google Forms.

Ideal/Target (7)

Working together as a team was a major factor in how the students communicated and collaborated with each other. They formed teams based on the descriptions of the team roles, and then collaborated efficiently to reach a common goal. The opportunity to communicate with the The Martin Agency about design and marketing was an amazing experience and heavily influenced the collaborative grammar products they created. Because they only worked on the GO Grammar Campaign on Mondays, the students communicated and collaborated with their team members beyond the walls of the classroom through Google Docs, discussion forums, email, messaging, as well as other online tools. The GO Grammar Teams also communicated with teachers in our building and with teachers in elementary schools throughout the county. Not only did they collaborate within their teams, but they also collaborated with elementary students in their effort to promote grammar rules. The students also communicated throughout the community by posting flyers and posters they created for this campaign, as well as utilizing social media as a communication tool; Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram were prevalent in their marketing campaign. Finally, the students communicated in a reflection through the use of a Google Doc Survey to
discuss the following:

  • their experience researching grammar rules
  • their role as a communicator and collaborator
  • solving problems in their role, as well as the problems faced by their team members
  • the process of being creative and innovative
  • Emerson’s principles and their connection to the students’ goals for the future

Ideal/Target (7)

The students engaged in critical thinking and problem solving through the following authentic tasks:

  • generating questions to guide their research and the grammar campaign
  • working in teams (in specific roles) to reach a common goal
  • deciding on the most creative and innovative ways to market grammar to their school and community
  • justifying their choice of digital tools with which to promote grammar

Choosing which team member role that best suited them, and then working together as a team, allowed the students to think critically about achieving their goals for this authentic task. The students engaged in problem solving through the tasks of communicating with other teachers and schools, scheduling times to visit other classrooms and schools, and providing an innovative approach to teaching grammar to others. Critical thinking also lent itself to the task of brainstorming and then executing their team’s ideas. Effective decision making was necessary when choosing digital tools to utilize to market their grammar rules. Through their discussions, a lot of informal reflecting was occurring as they navigated their way through this process. This, in turn, allowed them to gain insights on how to better work within their team, as well as steer their campaign in a direction that would lead them to success.

Ideal/Target (7)

This experience allowed the the students to use their creativity to its full extent. There were no assignment parameters on what they could create to promote their grammar rules; they were able to select any number of digital tools to create their grammar products. The students created a variety of innovative products: team logos, digital posters, Prezis, websites, videos, flyers, online games, scavenger hunts, and comic strips (to name a few). This creative freedom encouraged the students to be risktakers and to produce original, innovative products. Together, they synthesized their research about the grammar rules, as well as the information they gathered about their target audience, to assist them in their critical thinking process. Applying the excerpts from Emerson to their grammar campaign (in their Evernote Journal), led to new perspectives and insights about marketing, design, and collaboration that will aid them in their future endeavors. Ultimately, the GO Grammar Campaign encompassed all of the TIP Chart categories an experience that allowed students to create innovative products by applying critical thinking, different types of research, communication tools, and the process of collaboration.

Student Artifact

Grammar Meme

(Image links to student samples from this project)

 

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Go Grammar H21 Resources – 7808
Contents:

Posted in Middle School, English, Grade Level, Project, Subject0 Comments

Human Rights PSAs – 7806

Summary

After reading the novel, “Uprising,” and the short story, “A Christmas Carol,” which discussed the plight of the working class during the Industrial Revolution, we wanted our students to continue to explore the concept of “human rights.” The students chose a human rights issue that exists in the modern world, researched that topic, and prepared a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on that particular issue. The students had three main goals in creating this presentation: to inform the audience about the topic of their choice, explain the relevance of the topic in today’s world, and provide the audience with a “call to action.”

TIPC Ratings

Target

Using the “Issues and Controversies” database as a starting point, the students chose their human rights issue and then further refined their research questions to learn more about that particular topic. The students used Popplet to assemble and organize their research in preparation for the creation of their PSA. The students used Popplet to organize quotes, Youtube videos, images, and other media that would help them make their PSA. Students combined this research and synthesized their understanding of their chosen topic and of propaganda techniques in order to make their PSAs. The students displayed their research by creating movies (in Moviemaker and iMove) and then posting these videos to Vimeo. The task in this particular project was authentic because the students’ videos address real issues that are pertinent in the modern world. Many of the student’s videos had “call to actions” that referenced real organization’s webpages or upcoming community service events.

Target

Students used two main digital tools to facilitate communication and collaboration. The student groups used Popplet to organize their research and storyboard their PSAs. Many students chose to use GoogleDocs for this purpose as well. Time for collaboration was provided at school, but the tools allowed the students to collaborate outside of school hours as well. Each pair assigned each other jobs and tasks in order to complete the project effectively. The students completed an in-class reflection (that was a journal entry) on this project, in which they reflected on their research, groupwork, and the creative process. 

Target

When creating their Popplets, the students chose videos, images, and media that made their topic compelling and convincing. Then, the students selected the most appropriate digital tools and techniques to “sell” their human rights using various propaganda techniques. Students used specific movie editing effects (black and white, fade, brightness levels), audio techniques (sound effects, tone of voice, style of music), and visual images in order to convey the importance of their human right and create a compelling “call to action.”

Target

The students used Moviemaker and other movie editing software to create meaningful, original work that allowed them to analyze current trends regarding the human rights issue of their choice. Along with providing information on the human rights issue of their choice, the students presented solutions to their problems in the “call to action” portion of the assignment by mentioning a real group, website, or community service event that could be explored for further information. Many students also took risks in creating their PSAs. Some students chose movie editing techniques that were new to them (for example – green screening), while other groups chose “hot topics” in American society that lead to informative class discussions (Ex. Gay Marriage, Muslim garb, etc.).

Student Artifact

.

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H21 Lesson Resources – Human Rights PSAs
Contents:

Posted in Middle School, English, Info Fluency - Target, Comm/Collab - Target, Critical Thinking - Target, Creativity - Target, Grade Level, Project, Subject, TIP Chart0 Comments

Constitutional Analysis – 7805

Summary

In this lesson, students use Voyant, a digital textual analysis tool, to analyze the Constitution of the United States and compare and contrast the US Constitution to the North Korean constitution. The students use various features of Voyant, including a word cloud display, word frequency counter, and word context tool to discuss what they notice about each of the documents. In pairs, the students use the information displayed by these tools to complete a graphic organizer in which they make predictions about each country’s government, culture, and political system based on specific textual evidence. After analyzing both documents, the students synthesize this information and answer the question, “What role does a country’s governing document play in establishing the culture and political system of a country?” Students answer this question in written form, using specific textual evidence from the two documents to support their opinions.

Lesson Reflection:

Teacher:

“The inspiration for this activity actually came from a student. After we completed several initial activities on the Constitution, the class was engaged in a discussion about other countries’ governments and constitutions. One student asked if we could compare our Constitution to another country’s,  and this activity was born.

I did a similar activity last year with the Constitution, but I did not use Voyant. Instead, I had the students view at a copy of the Constitution in Word and highlight the key phrases that they saw. The lesson did not go over very well and I do not feel like much learning came from the activity. The students did not enjoy the assignment, I think in part because the entire document was overwhelming for them. The addition of Voyant changes this activity completely. Students are not only able to skim the document easier using the various tools, but they can use the features of Voyant to problem solve in a way that Word’s functions do not necessarily offer.

Next year, I plan to complete a similar activity in which the students use Voyant to compare the Articles of Confederation to the US Constitution and discuss the similarities and differences between the two documents. Then, the students will choose another country’s constitution and compare it to the US Constitution.”

ITRT:

“Similar to a previous lesson the teacher and I created together, at its core this lesson is a historical writing assignment. As with the other lesson, I have never seen kids so engaged in the writing process. In this particular assignment, I believe they were so engaged because the task was so wide-open. Students could choose the words and phrases that they searched for and create their own opinions, which gave them ownership of the task.

This activity was completed prior to other activities on the Constitution, but I believe this type of activity would be a great “discovery” lesson to introduce the Constitution as well. Instead of providing students with notes on the key concepts of the Constitution, the teacher can complete this type of activity and then have his/her students generate the notes themselves.”

More in depth reflection on student work can be found at this link.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal

Research and information fluency are a focus of this lesson. Students practice several important research skills while analyzing the two documents. Students construct research questions on multiple occasions throughout the lesson, as they choose the words and phrases to search for within the two documents. Voyant displays the frequency, location, and context of these words, which the students interact with in order to develop new words and phrases to research that will strengthen their understanding of the two documents. The students assemble, organize, and synthesize their understanding of the frequency, location, and context of the words and phrases they have researched in order to compare the two governing documents and discuss to how a country’s governing document helps to establish the culture and climate of that country.

Developing

Communication is a secondary focus of this lesson. The students use a Schoolspace discussion board to communicate their comparison of the US and North Korean constitutions and their explanation of how each document shapes the culture and political system of its reflective country. A Schoolspace discussion board serves as a medium for the final written product so that students can quickly share their findings with the rest of the class and see the findings of their classmates as well. Although the discussion board is the only digital tool used to enhanced communication, group work is essential to this particular activity. As the students are problem solving and examining the two documents, it is important that they articulate their ideas verbally and share them with another person so that they can receive feedback, adapt their thought process, and consider outside opinions.

Ideal

Critical thinking and problem solving are another primary focus of this lesson. The problem embedded in this lesson, determining how a country’s governing document shapes that country’s culture and political system, is an authentic task. The task contains connections to current events in today’s world, as numerous countries are currently creating or revising their constitutions and there have been frequent discussions within the United States about the constitutionality of proposed laws and political actions. Additionally, there is no one correct answer to this task. In order to successfully complete the task, the students must create their own problem solving strategies by choosing words and phrases that they believe hold meaning or relevance, and then use the various Voyant tools (frequency, location, context, etc.) to justify their opinions. This task could be completed without the use of digital tools, but Voyant makes the task much more efficient. The tools at the students’ disposal allow them to examine entire documents, test hypotheses, and come to conclusions in a 45 minute time frame, which would not be possible if they had to read a single-spaced, 10-page document word for word.

Not Observed

Creativity and Innovation are not a focus of this lesson.

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Constitutional Analysis (7805) – H21 Lesson Resources
Contents:

  • H21 Lesson Plan
  • Constitutional Analysis Graphic Organizer
  • Classroom Action Video (Vimeo)
  • Sample Student Work – Graphic Organizer
  • Sample Student Work – Essay

Posted in Middle School, Social Studies, Info Fluency - Target, Comm/Collab - Dev, Critical Thinking - Target, Winner '13-'14, Featured, Grade Level, Lesson, Subject, TIP Chart, US History0 Comments

Haves and Have Nots Seminar – 7803

Summary

In this lesson, students use Diigo to collect, annotate, and share news articles with their classmates. At the end of their unit on Rome, World History students examine four seminar questions dealing with the essential question from their unit: “To what extent do the ‘haves’ have a responsibility to help the ‘have-nots’?” Before answering these questions, students complete research and select two news articles that relate to one or more of the prompts.  Students annotate, summarize, and tag these articles via Diigo. Students synthesize the various viewpoints that are represented in the collaborative research and write short responses to each of the seminar questions, justifying their answers using information from the news articles. The students’ ideas and opinions are also shared during an in class seminar style discussion.

Lesson Reflection

Teachers:

“We liked that the students were able to choose their own readings. We believe that giving the students some initial documents was helpful and got them started, but then the students could make a decision about what they wanted to read, which gave them opportunities for choice and for intellectual growth. We believe that choosing their own readings and sharing these readings with the class helped to strengthen the students’ arguments in the seminar. It also gave the students a lot more exposure to opposing opinions, which we noticed during the seminar. We’ve done this type of seminar activity many times before, minus the Diigo portion, however this seminar easily had the best prepared and most well informed students we’ve had yet.”

ITRT:

“This would be a great activity to do for every unit or even for one question or theme over the course of an entire year. At the start of the unit, the teacher could provide the students with the unit question and allow them until the end of the unit to find an article or news event that somehow relates to that question. Not only would you get some great students responses to your unit question, but ideally, the students would begin paying more attention the news and current events, and begin to see the connections between your curriculum and the world in which they live.”

TIPC Ratings

Ideal

Research and information fluency are the primary focus of this particular assignment. This assignment is designed so that students become more effective “news consumers.” The seminar questions are set in advance by the teacher, but the students construct their own research questions in order to locate and select articles that are most relevant to the seminar topics. These articles are shared via Diigo because this tool allows the students to assemble and display these articles in one central location and organize the articles in a format that is easy to interact with and search through. In writing their answers to the seminar questions, the students use the article tags, descriptions, and annotations to search through the articles and decide which to investigate further. In answering the final seminar questions, the students synthesize their understanding of the articles they have read, justifying their statements using specific examples from the articles and referencing various points of view. The task for this lesson is authentic because it connects a historical topic (Rome) to current events. The articles that the students research relate not only to current events at a national level but also to events at a local level (their state and county).

Approaching

The students use Diigo to communicate and collaborate within this assignment. Diigo allows the students to share articles with one another and learn from each others’ points of view.

Approaching

The use of Diigo enhances the students’ opportunities to think critically and answer the initial similar questions. Students apply the various features of Diigo (searching by tags, annotating, etc.) in order to save and locate information that is relevant to the seminar questions. Students then use this information to justify their written answers.

Not Observed

Creativity and Innovation are not a goal of this particular assignment.

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Have and Have Nots Seminar (7803) – H21 Lesson Resources
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Posted in Middle School, Social Studies, Info Fluency - Target, Comm/Collab - App, Critical Thinking - App, Winner '13-'14, Grade Level, Lesson, Subject, TIP Chart, World History0 Comments

Historical Perspectives – 7804

Summary

In this culminating lesson to a World War I unit, the students view and analyze three different types of sources from which one can learn history – primary documents, secondary documents, and pop culture or entertainment media. Students discuss and analyze one of each of these types of documents (Related to the same general theme – World War I) and then discuss how each type of source can impact how one learns and understands historical events.

As an assessment of understanding, the students choose a historical event or individual and locate a pop culture or entertainment source that discusses that topic. Students research the historical topic referenced in their pop culture media piece and select a primary or secondary source dealing with the same topic.  The students write a blog post in which they compare and contrast these sources and discuss the pros and cons of learning history through each one. Based on their analysis of these sources and their classmates’ research and posts, the students explain how (or if) they believe pop culture should be used to teach and learn history.

Lesson Reflection:

Teacher:

“This is my favorite lesson that I have completed this year with any class. I liked how we did not discuss the ActivEngage results as a class and instead had the students discuss the answers in small groups instead. I’m often at fault for “giving away” my own opinion and influencing the end student product, so I liked how the lack of a discussion did not influence the directions that the students took in their final blog posts. I also thought that the research aspect of this lesson was rigorous and relevant. Once the students found their pop culture (which they had no trouble finding), they had to find a source that actually linked to the same idea. Some students initially struggled with this and had to continue and refine their research. For example, many students chose the movie “Lincoln” as their pop culture piece. Some of these students found documents relating to the assassination of Lincoln or just the Civil War in general and thought they were done. But after we talked about how the sources had to “link” together and be about the same topic, the students were able to locate and analyze a more relevant document. The students also learned quite a bit about various historical topics by reading each others’ posts, as evidenced by a large number of the student’s comments.”

ITRT:

“I have never seen so much student enthusiasm for writing and research as I did during this assignment. I believe a lot of this was due to the fact that the students were writing on a blog, which I’ve documented further at this link. I believe another important factor that led to the student engagement for this assignment was that the students were allowed to choose their own topic. I did not see a single student experience any hesitation before beginning their research and writing. Each student naturally knew where to start, as they were looking for media and historical content that was interesting to them personally.

When I do this assignment in the future, there is one major aspect that I will change. In the students’ culminating blog posts, they answered three questions, one of which asked them to discuss how “pop culture” media should be used to teach and learn history. I think the order of this question on their instruction sheet (1st) led to a lot of repetitive writing. I think the more appropriate thing to do would be to have the students only discuss the pros and cons of each type of media in their culminating blog post. After writing, the students could view each other’s’ work, and then return to their original post and answer the “pop culture” question. I believe this could be the “reflection” portion of the lesson and would be a more natural place for the question, as the students could answer the question based on their own research and media, and also the research gathered by the rest of their classmates.”

TIPC Ratings

Ideal

Research and information fluency are the focus of this lesson. The students’ blog posts must address the same basic questions, but in order to answer these questions, each student completes research on a topic of his or her choice. After choosing their pop culture media piece, the students construct research questions to guide their search for a primary or secondary source that is relevant to their topic and appropriate for answering the blog post questions. During the initial implementation of this lesson, many students had to refine their research before answering the blog post questions, as the first document they selected was not the most appropriate for the task (as it did not appropriately correspond to the historical topic in their pop culture piece).

In order to answer the final blog post questions, the students analyze the sources that they have selected by discussing their pros, cons, authority, and accuracy. Then, the students synthesize their understanding of the documents and explain how pop culture should be used to teach and learn history. A blog is used to display this research so that other students may read their classmates’ posts and interact with the documents and media that are linked and embedded on the blog. The most important outcome of this lesson is that the students use their research in order to practice, refine, and reflect on their information fluency skills. In their everyday lives, students are constantly bombarded with “history” lessons through entertainment and pop culture media, so in order to be good citizens and knowledgeable information consumers, students must understand the pros and cons of this approach to learning.

Approaching

The research portion of the assignment is completed individually. However, there are aspects of communication and collaboration embedded in the lesson, as the final student products are posted on a class blog. The use of this digital tool allows the students to communicate by sharing their research and analyses. Students then comment on each other’s posts, providing all students with feedback and an opportunity for reflection.

Ideal

In the ActivEngage portion of the lesson, the students apply the results of the questions to respond to higher order questions and elaborate on their thinking. In their individual blog posts, students select the most appropriate media in order to justify their responses to purposeful questions regarding various source types. Students then reflect on these questions in order to think about how they view and consume media in their daily lives.

Approaching

The final “product” of this assignment is a blog post, which the students create and share via a WordPress blog. The students choose which media to include in their post and analyze their media in order to discuss how pop culture should be used to teach and learn history, which is an authentic task.

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Historical Perspectives (7804) – H21 Lesson Resources
Contents:

Posted in Middle School, Social Studies, Info Fluency - Target, Comm/Collab - App, Critical Thinking - Target, Creativity - App, Grade Level, Lesson, Subject, TIP Chart, US History0 Comments

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