Nov 01

It’s All About Me…

If there’s one character trait shared by all Middle School aged students, it’s that they love thinking and talking about themselves. I think that’s why Tom Woodward’s recent tweet has been at the fore-front of my brain for the last 24 hours…

Tom Tweet

This was my initial response to this tweet. Does that make me a bad person?


“Enjoying a night at the theater to celebrate! #Reconciliation #NewBeginning”

There is definitely value to this assignment, and I’m trying to think of a way to incorporate this idea into history classrooms.

This is the most fleshed out idea that I have so far…

“The existence of social media and “viral news” has completely changed society’s relationship with its leaders, celebrities, and other powerful individuals. Thanks to various missteps, misdeeds, and momentary lapses in judgement,  our opinion of these individuals can change overnight. What if social media and this type of intense media scrutiny had always existed? What would we learn about our politicians and historical heroes? How would our opinion of these individuals be affected given this new information?

Assignment – Research the life, events, and relationships of a political or historical figure. Create a selfie for this individual that would change public perception of this individual. The selfie must be based on historically accurate events.


I think the best place for this assignment would be the Spanish American War, as we discuss the media and its role in society quite a bit during this unit, but we already have a fun lesson for that. This lesson could also fit well into the Political Parties unit for Civics, when discussing the role that media plays in the political process.

Here are a few other ideas that are still in planning, but definitely have merit as well…

  • My friend Jen suggested using selfies to teach poetic/literary devices. Students must create a selfie for certain terms, then write a caption with a hashtag. This lead me to think of…
  • Creating selfies for various action verb and adjective vocabulary in English or a foreign language. The students could all be assigned a specific word, create their selfie, share the selfies with their classmates, and then guess the particular word that is being portrayed.
  • When working with “self-portraits” in Art, have the students take selfies and digitally manipulate the picture with various artistic techniques to represent the mood, theme, etc. of the individual in the image.
  • My colleague Lauren suggested something similar. Could we look at famous self-portraits (or “the original selfies” as she called them) and compare and contrast these images with today’s selfies.
  • My colleague Taylor suggested that the students could pretend they were teenagers during a historical event. The students could take a series of selfies with appropriate statements and hashtags to represent their understanding of those events. A short slideshow would be a great end product here.

Any other thoughts? Let me know….


Skip to comment form

    • Guy Gorman on November 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm
    • Reply

    I read that students better retained material in stories in which a character had the same birthday as the reader. Names and hometowns also fit into that category. People remember things better when they can make a personal connection.

    • Gillian on November 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm
    • Reply

    The link is blocked. Try this one.

    • Gillian on November 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm
    • Reply

    I created a Edgar Allan Poe Selfie below.

    Through the picture and the caption/hashtag, I tried to include as much information as I could about Poe’s last days. Another idea would be to create selfie’s of Poe’s enemies, including a background image that would clue the viewer in about their contemptuous relationships.

  1. Here is the Between Bells podcast’s selfie:

    • Tom on November 1, 2013 at 10:48 am
    • Reply

    A few more examples with the focus on historically contextualized hubris and impending disaster.

    Your Lincoln example reminds me of a photobomb and it makes me sad. That in itself might be a challenge- “Create a selfie that inspires melancholy in the viewer.” You get bonus points for the photobomb element.

    I think the door is wide open for literary characters.

    The element that I may incorrectly ascribe to selfies is hubris/arrogance. The Selfies at Funerals made that really concrete for me. Rich Kids of Tumblr is another than brings out the worst of the genre.

    It would be a fun vocabulary challenge. Maybe something like “Given that a selfie is the epitome of self-centered egotism, use it to illustrate “word X”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.