Games

Here are a few games you can use in your classroom. I believe all can be adapted and modified to fit many elements of the history, civics or social science curriculums.

10 Out

Object: be the last person in the game.

  1. Sit on the desk. – on desk = in the game, in chair = out of the game.
  2. Count numerically from 1 – 10.
  3. Each player says up to 3 numbers sequentially.  (ex, 1 or 1-2, or 1-2-3…)
  4. move around the group in the same order.
  5. you are trying to force others to say 10.  If they do, they sit back in their chair and lose.
  6. Start again at 1
  7. repeat until you only have one person on their desk. They are the winner

The Tower

Have students work together to build a tower from paper.

PDF Instructions (I’m sorry – it’s a terrible copy).

Nuclear Simulation

Students make judgements about who can survive after a nuclear war destroys the planet.

instructions

Possible extensions:

  1. Create a set of cards with “communist” vs. “non-communist” McCarthy-like assumptions. Students have to categorize who is arrest and who is not.
  2. Create a set of cards with qualities possessed by different immigrant families or individuals. Students then determine who can come to Canada and who cannot. This may be done for immigration policies for 1900 as well as current practice. Perhaps students can determine the best criteria.

Here’s a similar game where students have to determine what items should be taken from a crash site.

Scategories

Instructions for this game can be found on one of my older posts.

The Ball Toss

Object: Say 5 topics within a given category before the other players pass an object around the room

  1. Students sit in a circle.
  2. One student is “it.”
  3. The Game Master selects a category in which “it” must list 5 terms. He/she must do this before the rest of the class passes the ball around the circle.
  4. “It” wins if she/he lists their words quickly and correctly. The class wins if they pass the ball effectively.

Rock Scissors Paper – Marxism

this is an awesome game used by Greg Kulowiec at The History 2.0 Classroom.

Purpose: The game is played to demonstrate Karl Marx’s view of capitalism, exploitation of the working class, the control of the means of production & the difference between the bourgeoisie & proletariat.

Rules:

  1. Each player is given two paper clips (units of money).

  2. One paper clip is the minimum necessary for your survival.  Any more than one paper clip allows you to do with what you will.

  3. Everyone has the same opportunity to earn more money by challenging others to a game of rock, paper, and scissors.

  4. You may accept or refuse a challenge to play, except from a player with more units of money, in that case you must accept the challenge.

  5. You may go at it alone, pool resources, divide winnings or create alliances.

  6. The winner of each challenge takes one unit from the loser.

  7. Once a player has not units and loses a match, they become the employee of the winner of said match.

    1. As an employee, the individual must challenge others on behalf of their boss.  Once two units are earned for the boss, the employee keeps one unit, gives one to the boss and gains their independence.

  8. If an employee with nothing loses to another, he becomes the employee of the new winner, unless the new winner is also an employee.  Then both work for the original employer.  (The employee plays with his labor, not the units of the employer.  If your employee loses, you lose your employee to the person who won, and he works for the new employer.)

  9. Employees may not challenge their boss.

Discussion

  1. What was it like to be an employee?
  2. Why did you become an employee?
  3. Was it easy to gain your independence?
  4. Was it easy to become a boss?
  5. Was it easy to stay a boss?

Got any more ideas or links to new strategies? Please tell me in the comments!

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions The Lab.

In this post by Ewan McIntosh at @NoTosh, teachers and students are challenged to determine low and high order questions. The latter than becomes the focus for the duration of the lesson.

Why?  McIntosh states:

Every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled, and we don’t want teachers wasting precious enquiry time lecturing that content. We want students, instead, to be using class time to collaborate and debate around the questions that are Not Googleable, the rich higher order thinking to which neither the textbook nor the teacher know the answers.

Update:

I tried this with my gr 11 Anthropology Class.

Document Camera

I just found out our school ordered a document camera. I was unnaturally excited. Why? Because now I could use children’s books in my classes AND share the images with my students.

Document cameras are better than the camera on your laptop (bottom right image) because they do not reverse the image being projected. Words appear the same on the screen as they do “in real life.”

PicMonkey Collage

Some ways I might use this tool:

  1. Share fragile primary sources with the whole class
  2. Share small group work ideas generated on paper with the class.
  3. Get instant huge versions of maps, figures or images from the textbook. This allows for the option to annotate on the Smartboard.
  4. Show information from Smartphone.
  5. Bring in “mystery” object, students guess its use
  6. Score classroom games
  7. Model proper note taking techniques

Here’s a PDF document with some more ideas. useyourdoccamera

IPEVO, one brand of document camera, suggests a host of activities one can do with the benefit of LIVE camera. 50 Ideas for the Educator

More ideas for the Document Camera

Got one you can use? Download the software.

RAFT -Differentiated Instruction

RAFT (Role, Audience, Format and Topic) is a tool for demonstrated the mastery of content. Students are given one or two elements of the RAFT and are encouraged to choose the(ir) best way  in showing their skill and knowledge development.

Students take on a particular Role (teacher, historical figure, leader of community group, inanimate object etc) and use a particular format (report card, song, mixed CD, letter, speach, powerpoint presentation) to convey information to a specific audience (student, newspaper readers, school principal, historical antagonist etc). The topic can be selected by the teacher or the student but the four elements will culminate with the student’s ability to show development.

It is differentiated as it allows students to show mastery in non-conventional forms as well as in the standard ways.

Recently, I had students complete assignments with these RAFTs:

THE GREAT WAR (CHY 4U)

ROLE (option) AUDIENCE (option) FORMAT (option) TOPIC- YOU MUST CHOOSE ONE OF THESE
Woodrow Wilson Members of League of Nations (or non-members) Reddit Forum – Impact of Peace Treaties (be specific)
Georges Clemeanceau Parties at the Versailles Conference Powerpoint urging for the punishment of Germany – Development of the League of Nations
WW1 Nurse Her children Scrapbook about the problems facing the Veterans in her care – Great War Art re: Veterans (poetry, visual art, music)
Czar Nicholas Russian Population Apology letter about the failing to address population’s needs  – Short term consequences of the Russian Revolution
Lenin Russian population Mixed CD/iPod Playlist + letter explaining song selections – treatment of Veterans by home country
Teacher Student test
Veteran 1920s Canadians Painting re: suffering of Veterans

Here’s what one of my students produced.

Quick Literacy Strategies

Handout: Cross Curricular Literacy Strategies

Oct 9  Keynote Presentation Literacy and Differentiation Oct 9 Lesson

Alphabet Organizer

I can’t say enough about the beauty of the Alphabet Graphic Organizer. I always keep a spare pile in my room as a back up for any lesson. Here are just a few ways you can use this template.485094_abc_blocks-resized

Here’s a neat online version of the organizer which could be used with a Smartboard or in a 1:1 computer environment.

1) Preview or Review

– have students list words from each letter of words they *think* relate to a topic

– use each letter to review key terms or associated ideas in a unit

2) Summary or Narrative

– each letter, in the correct order, starts the next word or next sentence. Here’s an example I wrote using the story of the  3 Little Pigs.

3) Poem

– use the organizer as a template for an alphabet poem

55 Word Stories

Writing a summary, story, review, answer, definition etc in EXACTLY 55 words is a literary and literacy-related challenge. Students have to select the best words as well as eliminate extraneous words or ideas from their work. This type of activity forces students to organize their ideas before writing.

Stronger students will rise to the challenge and weaker writers will be relived they only need to come up with 55 words. Sentence structure still matters, and students must recognize what constitutes a word and what is a character (.;!,? etc).

Some Examples:

“How many times do I have to tell you not to leave your backpack in the front hallway!” Wendy bellowed from the kitchen table. “Honestly,” she said. “Do they expect me to pick up after them all day?” She sighed and took a sip from her mug. “So where was I?”

All she could hear was the sharp inhale and exhale of her breath and the rhythmic slap of her running shoes against the damp, dark pavement. The sun burst through a pack of clouds, illuminating the rusts, golds, and reds of the leaves and their muddy trunks. A curve in the road. Blue sky ahead.

She sipped her wine. “My professor proposes,” she said, “that we’ve evolved to find beautiful those things that resemble resources essential to survival.”

“Preposterous,” he said, and ran a hand through hair as golden as a field of wheat ready for harvest. She shrugged, and met his eyes, two blue pools of fresh clean water.

6 Sentences

This is a great activity I learned from the brilliant Anne Gripton. I’ll be honest, students hate the idea of this activity. However, once they start working, they are invigorated by the challenge.

1) Ask students to summarize or review an event in history or a chapter in a story.

2) In writing about this summary, they may only use 6 sentences of ‘reasonable length.’

3) They may not repeat a single word – not ‘a, they, the, him, her, in, of’ or anything.

4) Write a draft and review.

5) Finish!

An example:

Sometimes students struggle with writing.

They want to do well but are afraid of an empty page.

Give them a graphic organizer.

This can help provide structure for thinking and organizing.

Once assisted, many create beautiful works.

Challenges result in major successes.

“Ziploc” Theme Bags and Four Corners Photographs

ZIPLOC BAG OF PROPS

photo

How many ways could you use the stuff in the bag? 

  • Assign a role to each of the objects to identify minority groups/social classes in Canada.
  • Fill the bag with objects and then ask them how to solve the problem with the objects in the bag (innovation)
  • Fill bag with historical objects (iron, wood, etc.) –>  group the objects to represent different groups of people/employment during a particular age
  • One object –> students give their perspective
  • Antique objects –> guess their use, or  tell a story where they object has been, perhaps students write a riddle about an object?
  • Props to represent objects in particular lesson –> Russian WW2 — No Ammo
  • 1st day ice breaker –> what represents them from the bag?
  • Build a diorama/sculpture with the objects

FOUR CORNERS

Block off ¾ of the photo, have the students describe what they see (This allows students to make predictions about the photo )

How else could you use this activity?

  • Show a piece have them draw the rest
  • What is NOT in the photo –> make predictions, inferring
  • use like a Puzzle (maps, propaganda posters etc)
  • Propaganda, etc. –> Tops and Tails (students get half a photo, have to find its match)
  • Video clip – show only the top or bottom of the clip (block of the tv with construction paper)
  • Timelines –> chunking it up
  • Chunking up a speech/conversation/interview
  • Poems ->  chunking it up
  • Use their textbook, block out all the text around the photos (forces students to make predictions, use of  non-textual cues)
  • Use this as a means to test students – what is going on in the photo? Why is it relevant to what we’ve learned in class?

Assessment and Evaluation

presentation: Assessment and Evaluation Oct 2

Assessment in education is essential. Most parents (and yes, some teachers) focus on the end goal: the report mark or the levels the students get on individual assignment. Unfortunately, this only part of the picture.

The Ontario Ministry of Education, in its latest document, Growing Success, outlines the policy for which assessment and evaluation can “improve student learning.”

There are tons of online Professional Development resources and web modules available on the Edugains website. 

I found THIS ONE on assessment for and as learning cheesy, but helpful.

Formative Assessment Ideas

(image created with wordle.net)

Ass for as of

There are some interesting ways to integrate these types of assessments into your classroom.

Four More!   Assessment FOR/AS

Four More is an example of a formative assessment. It “integrates collaboration, movement, and individual accountability.”

fourmore – template

Students are able to “check in” with their peers about the lesson topic.  The activity allows students to get up and walk around and gather additional information about what is being learned.

The Frayer Model: Assessment FOR

The Frayer Model is a graphic organizer to help students grasp a concept or term more fully.

The Ontario Ministry of Education released a great strategy with their “Think Literacy” Documents. Here is their interpretation of the Frayer Model.  Another great .pdf version of the graphic organizer can be found here.

This example is from a geography unit.

frayer example

Assessment OF Learning

Many teachers assume tests are the only way to assess student curricular mastery. Many students find these stakes too high, suffer from anxiety and are unsuccessful. A quick “search” of the 9/10 Canada and World Studies Curriculum document quickly reveals there are two mentions of the word “test.” (note: of the 33 results for ‘exam,’ NONE address the major final assessment!) Therefore, the Ministry of Education has no specific requirement to set formal tests in our courses (ironically, they love testing in Math and English.)  Other options include research assignments, inquiry questions and varied formats for demonstration of learning.

testing_cartoon

The Rubric

Every assignment or activity you assign your students should have a DIRECT AND CLEAR link to an expectation listed in the course curriculum. You may be assessing a student’s ability to meet an overall or specific expectation under each strand. This is the basic requirement for all planning we do.

curriculm 1

This will bring us the to next point in our assessment: assessment by expectation. Our mark-books should have clear connections between a student’s success in individual expectations. A parent should be able to see that a student has difficulty with the skills strand History A1 but can meet the criteria to master expectations associated to B1, B2, C2, D2, etc. Many teachers aren’t doing this yet, but it’s coming.

Ideally, according to the Ministry of Education, students do not receive a letter or numerical grade for their work. Their achievement is based on their ability to meet a series of normative steps representing the ‘typical’ student. Growing Success identifies the following criteria in each level of achievement. These are then tied (in practice) to percentage equivalents (I have added these).

Levels of Achievement
The achievement chart also identifies four levels of achievement, defined as follows:

Level 1 (50 – 59 %) represents achievement that falls much below the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with limited effectiveness. Students must work at significantly improving learning in specific areas, as necessary, if they are to be successful in the next grade/course

Level 2(60 – 69 %)represents achievement that approaches the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with some effectiveness. Students performing at this level need to work on identified learning gaps to ensure future success.

Level 3(70 – 79 %) represents the provincial standard for achievement [emphasis added]. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with considerable effectiveness. Parents of students achieving at level 3 can be confident that their children will be prepared for work in subsequent grades/courses.

Level 4(80 – 100 %) identifies achievement that surpasses the provincial standard. The student demonstrates  the specified knowledge and skills with a high degree of effectiveness. However, achievement at level 4 does not mean that the student has achieved expectations beyond those specified for the grade/course.

Specific “qualifiers” are used with the descriptors in the achievement chart to describe student performance at each of the four levels of achievement – the qualifier limited is used for level 1; some for level 2; considerable for level 3; and a high degree of or thorough for level 4. Hence, achievement at level 3 in the Thinking category for the criterion “use of planning skills” would be described in the achievement chart as “[The student] uses planning skills with considerable effectiveness”. (p 18)

These levels then form the basis of the ALMIGHTY RUBRIC.

According to Growing Success, students are to be assessed on their mastery of a subject through a series of CATEGORIES OF KNOWLEDGE.

The categories, defined by clear criteria, represent four broad areas of knowledge and skills within which the expectations for any given subject/course can be organized.  (pg 17)

Your job, as the teacher, is to plan units, activities and assessments (over the duration of the course) connecting the curricular expectations to these categories of knowledge.  This can be accomplished through the rubric.

Steps for a good Rubric:

1) Identify your curricular expectations (you would have used these in planning the activity/assessment)

2) Select the most appropriate Category (or Categories) of Knowledge which suit the planned activity. Are your students demonstrating mastery of facts (K/U) or are they applying information to new contexts (Application).

3) Decide on how extensive your rubric must be. I consider the time it will take students to do the assessment and make the rubric a relative size (short = small rubric, massive assignment = giant rubric, etc).

That said, even though there may be mulitple stages to the task, perhaps you’re only going to assess the Thinking/Inquiry elements. Even though they used facts (K/U) and are orally presenting the information (Communication), you may be only interested in determining their mastery of the inquiry process or their creative thinking skills (T/I).

4) Create your table with the criteria for success on the left and the levels of achievement across the top.

The rubric above assesses achievement in both Knowledge/Understanding and Application. The author elected to avoid using written descriptions of the levels of achievement and opted for numbers to simply for the visuals for a grade 10 Applied History student.

The author of the rubric below used words to describe expectations.

Check out the examples in this document. Rubric Examples

Happy Building!

Field Trips

Making The Case for Fieldtrip

Some great Field Trip Locations for History:

– cemeteries – Beechwood Cemetery 

– high streets (architecture)

– museums – The Bytowne Museum, The Diefenbunker

– local cenotaph

– statues

– cities (view development of City from downtown to rural)

– virtual field trips – Quebec City

– antique shops

– town/city archivesPicMonkey Collage

Guidelines for Fieldtrips – Board Policy Examples

Niagara Catholic District School Board

London Catholic District School Board