Planning a Unit

This can be daunting task. Don’t panic.

Sometimes you have to pick and choose what your students will learn. We don’t have time to do everything. As History teachers, we have a little lee way in what we can focus on as the skill sets are not askeep-calm-and-pretend-it-s-on-the-lesson-plan-44 prescribed as they would be in English or Math. Historical Inquiry can be built into any lesson on any topic.

My school board recently switched to a focus on “assessing by expectation” rather than by Achievement Chart categories. This change means it becomes a lot less complicated to plan and create tasks and tools which allow the student to show their mastery of the expectation.

The “Planning sheets” below allow teachers to list their tasks, the direct curricular links and then (for their own professional information) the achievement category. This can then provide a framework in which to develop lessons to fit the tasks and assessments. Piece of cake!

CGC1P Planning Sheet (2)

CHV2O Planning Sheet (2)

CHC2D Planning Sheet

Once I have the framework for my assessments, I plan the themes of my lessons. This is a typical month for my Canadian History (applied) course. You can see I am constantly making revisions (pencil, people) and the theme is enough for me to remember what we did when a student asks.

There isn’t much in the boxes as I have a pretty clear idea of what activities will go with which themes. I’ve also been at this game long enough that sometimes I just go in and “wing it [not recommended for new teachers].”

You can also see evidence of the problem I face every year: getting to Strand E before the final culminating tasks and the exam.  This year I think I’m on the track to teach about 1982-present. Maybe. CHC2P Lessons

Teaching History through Changing Landscapes

One of the best ways to teach students “Change and Continuity” is to have them walk the streets of their own neighbourhoods. Some may have knowledge of more recent changes, but most would have no idea of what their communities looked like 30, 50 or 100 years ago. Access your local archives and find photos, maps or other primary sources which can trigger student understanding of what has changed around their space and what has stayed the same.

A great Resource for Ottawa’s changing landscape:  http://www.pastottawa.com

I love their “Slide” feature for comparing one location over two moments in history. Students can then discuss continuity (this building is still here, the door is still glass, there are pedestrians), and make inferences about why things have changed (the post office isn’t here because it isn’t as important a service or there are no buggies with horses so the streets needed stop lights etc).

The Ottawa Citizen also created a neat interactive about the memorials and statues in downtown core.

PastOttawa

Matt Henderson (winner of the Governor General Award for Excellence in Education) challenges his students to examine “Main Street” Winnipeg in this post. He focuses on the element of the historical concept of Significance. Their task:

 “to create [their] own historical walking tour of Winnipeg. As we walk down Main Street, decide what buildings and location are significant. Using Evernote, jot down notes, capture audio, take photos, shoot some video. Gather us much information as possible about these places and ask yourself what sort of evidence do you need in order to prove that they are significant. As well, try to explain the evolution of this area from 6000 years ago until today.”

Can’t get out into your environment? Try these resources:

The Guardian put together a fantastic series about Dday locations from 1944 and 2014.

Here’s the Guardian’s online gallery comparing images from The Great War and today.

Transmediation

Transmediation is the process by which information is gained in one form and changed to another. I love the following activity. Students get the opportunity to work as a group (and they get loud!), work with their strengths (readers, illustrators, humour, oral presenters, colour-ers!) and discuss the value of information they have received.

Generally, I’ll give the students 45 minutes to do the reading, discussion, planning and illustrations. Then, each group presents their work to the rest of the class. The final products are then hung in the classroom for the duration of the unit. These provide a valuable visual reminder to the students about what they covered in previous lessons.

This is the most ideal lesson for a Friday afternoon!

Here is the assignment as I would give to my students. 

Below is a student example about 16th Century Italy. It makes reference to the “New Pope;” the vibrant art scene; Italy’s production of wine, textiles and (military) arms; the absence of the plague; the exhaustion of natural resources; and of course, France’s ‘sacking’ of Rome. Effective and humourous!

Transmediation Example(reposted from Sept 2012, 2013)

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking allows an individual (or group) to keep favourite websites in a place stored on the web/cloud. This allows for several advantages:

1) Access your favourites/bookmarks from any device, not just one computer or browser

2) ‘Tags’ (or keywords) allow you to associate your favourite sites to the way you might use them and/or identify the type of resource they are. I organize mine by the courses, units and topics.

3) They are searchable by Tag.

4) You can set some social bookmarking sites to ‘automatically Tweet’ your favourite sites, or, when signed into your Twitter account, ‘favourites’ are automatically indexed in your social bookmarking site.

5) Access  or join other ‘groups’ to allow you to benefit from the knowledge of like-minded folk!

Diigo Education Ideas

Delicious.com or Diigo are great places to start.

Check out my Diigo Links on the side bar of this blog.

Diigo has some new pricing options. I paid the $2/$5 ‘social fee’ to allow a for a few more options. I have also applied for a free Educator’s account.

A former PED3183 student created a group for us. Check it out and join. I post there regularly.

What is Social Bookmarking?

REDDIT

But wait! There’s More!

You can always find interesting things on Reddit. The Amazing Internet Hero, CGPGrey explains it below.

Print Ontario Curriculum

Service Ontario wants to send you PRINT curriculum documents. You just have to tell them.

Click here:  https://www.publications.serviceontario.ca/pubont/servlet/ecom/MainServlet?selectedLocale=en

My source about this little nugget said,

Using the search bar on the page, use general terms to search, eg. science curriculum. I tried searching using the specific title of the curriculum and no matches were found so I found the more general the search term, the better.
 
Some of them are no longer available in hard copy as they are out of print but I think the majority of them are there.
They are free to order and free to ship.

Make sure you get 2013 versions!

 

Teaching History at the Intermediate Level: PED 3183

Welcome!

I look forward to my third opportunity to share best practices and historical thinking concepts with my students this year. I am especially excited to learn my teacher candidates – your new eyes and ears and creative strategies are a continued inspiration!

BwXuuZmIQAA0uvSFor class:

Pearson Syllabus 2014 PED3183A

Assignment 1: Resource Review 2014 and for guidance –  Example, Due September 30

Day 1 Keynote Presentation

Canadian-History-Crossroads: History Symposium. Register by September 10th by emailing: educom@uottawa.ca

Poll Everywhere

Tops and Tails

Other Ways to use this activity (as generated by my PED3183A Class):

Tops & tails:

  • consider what part of the quote has “more weight” or significance
  • connect significant event with a famous participant
  • one event, two perspectives
  • connect century to quote or event
  • antagonist to his/her protagonist
  • two quotes that lay in opposition to one another on a single issue
  • a variety of matching pairs:  two Prime Ministers, two famous Metis, two union leaders, two battles on Canadian soil etc

Quotes:

  • place and rank on a timeline with both chronology and y-axis for ranking
  • have students find the context in which the quote was said
  • End of Unit – give examples of where the quote might have been right/wrong
  • Start of Unit – students predict important issues in coming unit from the quotes
For Fun or Interest

What Teachers Make

Farewell to Carrot Cake (The Great War’s less known Contributions to society) [podcast]

500 Years of History in 2 Minutes (Wab Kinew), CBC’s 8th Fire

Poll Everywhere

I was recently introduced to the joys of Poll Everywhere.  It was used in a presentation by Matt Brash, a technology consultant from the Ottawa Catholic Schools as a tool to engage learners in any setting. Naturally, as I started to investigate, I got more excited about the possibilities.poll every

Essentially, it enables the user to solicit information from a crowd without specialized tools or counting hands for “yays”/”nays.” Audience members can text their ideas to a free number or use the online platform to fill out forms online.

Once you set up your polls (and you can do this anonymously & without signing up) you can present them on a projected screen (or not!). If you’re using Powerpoint for your presentation, PollEverywhere will even provide downloadable slides of each question or “Poll.”

How it Works:

http://www.polleverywhere.com/how-it-works

How I might use it in the Classroom:

  1. personal survey
  2. feedback on an investigation
  3. icebreakers (include some silly questions to keep out the inevitable goofy answers)
  4. Image click option can be used to have students point out details in a photo
  5. review for a test using open ended and multiple choice answers
  6. gage interest in a topic

Watch this space for more ideas generated by my 2014 faculty of Ed students!

I might just use this platform more just because I like this video so much. He does have a great vest.

 

Fantasy Geopolitics

Bns9yLwCMAEXEzQ.jpg-large

Students use their PEDs during Draft Day to maximize their picks.

My Grade 12 students tend to zone out in early May with their case of “Senior-itis.” Once conversations of Prom and post-secondary acceptances begin, it becomes more challenging to motivate. Earlier in the spring, I came across a link to Eric Nelson’s Fantasy Geopolitics (Kickstarter campaign). This would be my solution to May disengagement.

Fantasy Geopolitics is essentially mimics a sports fantasy draft. Instead of players, students draft countries which then earn them points depending on how many times the country is mentioned in the New York Times.  Nelson’s online app for Fantasy Geopolitics automates the draft, scoring and links to the NYT. It’s a management tool to make this sort of activity very easy. His newest verison also makes links to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Nelson says,

We’re not just trying to gamify learning. We’re going after the “learnification” of gaming. We encourage students and teachers to get curious about the world in which they live and then become fans of global competence, all the while playing, reading, and learning!

Three days before our Draft Day, I introduced my HSB4U Challenge and Change students to the program. In teams of two, they went off to research what countries might provide them the greatest end score. We would be playing for 3 weeks and students could swap their picks later if they wanted using the FG App.

Draft day was intense. Students were forced to make last minute decisions when their top picks were selected by others. We ate potato chips. We chirped each other’s choices. It was a hoot. It also only took about 40 minutes.

BnsWUjbIYAAQMUW.jpg-large

The “Scores” tab in the Fantasy Geopolitics App

As the game progressed, students got down to business and used the “Scores” tab to help predict “up and coming” countries.

I planned to award prizes for 1st, 2nd, 5th and second last. That way, even the students who ended up with the countries least interesting to Western eyes, could still be engaged. (I also found this helpful to lead a discussion about why countries like Malawi or Laos rarely make North American news).

BouLEVGCEAE_SnL.jpg-large

screen shot of game play.

Each subsequent class, we’d analyze who was winning, which countries had gained points over the last 24 hours and why. Students realized France was more than its Cannes Film Festival (while we played, the country was making headlines for a shift away from its a role in the European Union and for problems between citizens and refugees).

Students came to class with stories about the countries they had selected. Others were excited about a potential point coup because they had traded Vietnam for Thailand – “Ms! They just issued Martial Law! It’s gonna get crazy!” Each new idea was a great win for global awareness and global connections.

Bp2O_C9IEAAL4jM.jpg-large

2014 ChaCha Fantasy Geopolitics Winners

Other lessons started with “Africa is not a Country” themes. We would conclude with Countries of Africa (or other continents) on the smartboard.

We discussed what limitations the New York Times had in teaching us about world issues. We sought out alternative news sources like Al Jazeera and New Internationalist, and discussed the differences between coverage of events in the BBC and CBC.

After 3 weeks and Post-Prom, we had our winners. Nelson had been following our game on Twitter and sent us t-shirts for our winners.

Short surveys indicated my students really enjoyed the game. Eighty percent said they spent more time reading about international issues. Sixty percent said thought more about global issues and media coverage. All students said it helped them stay interested in the course over an otherwise challenging period.

I would use this program with grade 7 – 12. It’s got clear links to the 2013 Geography- History- Civics curriculum. Strand A2 focuses on Transferable Skills developed through investigations. The  grade 9 Geography program asks studetns to analyse selected national and global population issues and their implications for Canada as part of Strand D. I would also use it in Civics to “assess ways in which people express their perspectives on issues of civic importance (C2).”

One of the suggestions I got from a student was that each person choose the rank he/she would want to meet. For Example, Nic and Matt want to end up 6th. Jill & Carrie want to end up in 4th position rather than all students aiming for 1st. That way, they would have to be more strategic to select more media-heavey countries or those less in the spotlight. This helps to reduce disengagement when one country seems to have a lot more points than anyone else.

What might you do or try with this program? Let me know in the comments or drop Eric Nelson a line!

Nelson and his team are seeking small donations to keep the site up and running. This allows you to commission as many leagues as you want for a year. It’s worth it. Pay the guy.

You can follow Eric Nelson here: 

 

The Internet is Awesome

I love the internet.

It’s true. Sure, just like everything else touched by humanity, the internet has awesome places and very, very dark places. Here are my picks for the best places for personal or educational growth.

Life and Education Inspirations

Planet Money podcast

I can’t get enough of this fantastic podcast. When I first started listening, my knowledge of economics was shakey at best. After listening for 4 years, I can understand conversations about quantitative easing, discuss the global impact of cotton subsidies and can identify the “new” ways to hit the top of the pop music charts. The bite-size 20 minute segments twice a week make listening manageable.

This year I asked my grade 12 Challenge and Change students to use analyze an episode and apply a socio-/psycho-/anthro- logical lens. They ate it up like candy. Many have become obsessive listeners. (assignment here: Plant Money podcast analysis.)

This American Life podcast

This show from NPR is representative of all that is good in public radio. Clever reporting, heartbreaking and heartwarming storytelling and the delightful charm of Ira Glass makes this the best hour on radio ever week. Don’t let the name of this show turn you off, Canadians. These stories are stories of humanity, not just Americans.

bonus: sometimes they have David Sedaris read his stories. *squee!*

The Story Globe is an awesome resource for a geographer like myself. I use it for my Challenge and Change class.

Here are two of my favourite episodes.

TAL500_illustration_by_steve_dressler2_lg_0

#1: Nummi (Episode 403) – if someone had said, “Here’s a really great podcast about a car manufacturing plant, it’s awesome!” I would have laughed in their face. I believe I did (sorry, @gduncanclark). This episode is a testament to the outstanding journalism and storytelling I’ve come to know and love with This American Life. It is a fascinating (and awesome) episode.

#2: I now hesitate to eat calamari at restaurants. Episode 484: Doppelgangers

Sociological Images

I can’t say enough about my favourite website, Sociological Images. This site is curated by Lisa Wade, a professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Numerous other academics contribute to the ever-growing bank of social scientific reflections on the world around us.

#1: Course Guide to Sociology of Gender

#2: Pointlessly Gendered Products (with a contribution from yours truly!)

perceptions

#3: Rebranding the Prune (because nothing escapes the sociological lens)

#4: Heightism Most of us know about racism, ageism and sexism. @SocImages does a fantastic series of posts about Heightism – when people are judged as a result of their height.

Youtube for Learning

My favourite channels:

1) Crash Course: The Brothers Green have outdone themselves with this fantastic series of videos covering World History, world religions, American History, Science, Psychology and Literature.

2) PBS Idea Channel Check out “Bronies Redefining masculinity” and “There’s no Such thing as offline”

#3 Vihart – A beautiful union of math and art.

Great Places on Twitter

Personal Interests

spaceballs

I didn’t know I like astronomy. I have @Failedprotostar to remind me daily that space is cool.

Love Ottawa? Love Local History? Love Art? Love local Ottawa artist and amateur historian, Andrew King.

Education:

Russell Tarr @russelltarr – This British Ex-Pat in Toulouse, France exemplifies the marriage of History and Technology in the classroom. He loves “sharing creative ideas on Twitter & offending Mr. Gove [British British Conservative Party politician, the Secretary of State for Education].” He can also be found on Tweets as @activehistory and @classtools.

Megan Valois, @msvalois, is a local Ottawa teacher extraordinaire. She considers herself a “21st century teacher/learner.” Check out her Twitter feed or her website at meganvalois.com for great ideas for History and English as well as differentiated instruction, assessment for learning & #edtech!

The Good Doctors:

I’m pretty lucky to know some very intelligent people who have the degrees (and peer reviewed journals) to prove it! Beyond their talents in their respective fields, these Drs are also fascinating and humourous folk. Check out @thejennye (Canadian History, Women and Sport), @postWarHist (Canadian Cold War Military History) and @mittenstrings (Canadian Literature) for musings and links to amazing places and discussion about historical and contemporary issues.