The Purpose of Civics

Keynote: Civics Day 10
Apathy_thumb-adj-300x199

Ontario Secondary School Diploma graduates must earn a 0.5 credit in Civics. This course is often taught by teachers who see it as a chore and it becomes repetitive lessons in memorizing party leaders, riding statistics and municipal responsibilities.

Does any of this help us to produce more active, engaged global citizens? Probably not. Also,  Social media does not voters make. This study also argues the course has not increased the number of youth voters in Ontario.

The Toronto Sun addressed this in a recent article, concluding the youngest voters are Spectators. According to the author, “They don’t believe in status buying. Or consuming for the sake of consuming. They also don’t believe in many of the touchstones of Canadian society — like democracy. And Parliament.”

Thanks, Tom Conklin, for reminding me this course deserves more study.

Nuclear Shelter Simulation

Building Miniature Houses of Inequality

Here’s Hans Rosling, creator of Gapminder, using statistics to demonstrate some clear changes in regional wealth, health and life expectancy over the last 200 years.

Some great online resources for Civics:

Bite-size, Young Person Friendly ‘Types of Government’ from CBBC

TVO’s Singing and Dancing Approach to Ontario Government (You tube channel)

‘Teacher Support.ca – ‘just add a classroom’ resources for studying citizenship, human rights, government workings etc

Political Cartoons in the classroom – why read when you can interpret?

Antz-English Version – Chart and worksheet to work with film, “Antz”

Think about what we need to do to encourage ‘Active Engagement.”

 

**reposted from December 2013

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The Question Matrix

Question_Matrix

The Question Matrix

Today I’m going to try to use a Question Matrix with my gr 10 applied History classes.

I am seeking a way to help them develop their inquiry process skills. Many students have never been pushed to ask questions beyond closed ended ones and certainly most have never been explicitly taught how to create thoughtful inquiry questions.

My own skills in this endeavour are limited – I know I can formulate valid research questions, but I haven’t thought enough about HOW I do this. This requires some meta-cognition my my part. Besides, the best way to learn something is to teach it to others!

I will start with a interactive lesson about questions using Pear Deck (a new tool I picked up this weekend at the GAFE Summit Ottawa). This will stimulate some discussion about what makes a good question. This will lead us to a conversation about the Matrix.

Using a series of paintings (on loan from the Canadian War Museum Supply Line) students will develop questions about what they are seeing. Students will be required to make up a question (and then find answers) for EACH of the matrix boxes.

(Possible extensions – using 2 x 6 sided dice, the matrix becomes a trip-tic of sorts. If the student rolls “1 &1”, they design a question for “What is…” or  a “3 & 4” they get “Which would…”. His/her peers then try to answer the question.)

This is a bit of an adventure. We’ll see how it goes.

I also found this lesson about reading the news and using a matrix.

How NOT to Ask Questions:

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

The Purpose of Civics

Civics Day 10

Ontario Secondary School Diploma graduates must earn a 0.5 credit in Civics. This course is often taught by teachers who see it as a chore and it becomes repetitive lessons in memorizing party leaders, riding statistics and municipal responsibilities.

Does any of this help us to produce more active, engaged global citizens? Probably not. Also,  Social media does not voters make.

The Toronto Sun addressed this in a recent article, concluding the youngest voters are Spectators. According to the author, “They don’t believe in status buying. Or consuming for the sake of consuming. They also don’t believe in many of the touchstones of Canadian society — like democracy. And Parliament.”

Thanks, Tom Conklin, for reminding me this course deserves more study.

Here’s Hans Rosling, creator of Gapminder, using statistics to demonstrate some clear changes in regional wealth, health and life expectancy over the last 200 years.

Some great online resources for Civics:

Bit-size, Young Person Friendly ‘Types of Government’ from CBBC

TVO’s Singing and Dancing Approach to Ontario Government (You tube channel)

‘Teacher Support.ca – ‘just add a classroom’ resources for studying citizenship, human rights, government workings etc

Political Cartoons in the classroom – why read when you can interpret?

Antz-EnglishVersion – Chart and worksheet to work with film, “Antz”

Think about what we need to do to encourage ‘Active Engagement.”

Final Unit Plan Project – PED 3183

Here is the Assignment and Rubric for the final project in PED 3183.

Each student is expected to complete this task on his/her own. You may submit this project on EITHER December 11 or December 18th. I would prefer print, not digital copies.

Final Unit Project 2013

Unit of Study Rubric 2013

Please note:

This assignment allows you to create an integrated unit of study (a series of at least four successive lessons – approximately 4 hours of instruction) based on the differentiated instruction approach to History.  This will also include some activities using literacy and/or numeracy strategies.

This will demonstrate your understanding of BEST PRACTICES, not “this work well with one group of students.”

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.

Resource Review

Resource Evaluation Assignment

Review of Resources Rubric

Example: Resource Review assignment

I’d rather have an armload of resources than be forced into a Socratic style of questioning pupils whilst hanging out under a tree (okay, I’d dig a tree classroom). Although a teacher can facilitate engaging discussions, helping students chew over historical information is best done with imagesinteractives, interesting texts, films etc. Resources can make or break lessons. Even seemingly ‘bad’ resources, if creatively applied, can be remarkable tools to capture the imagination.

This assignment will help you hone skills in identifying resources and challenge you to identify new ways to use them. We’ll practice a few examples in class.

inspire teachers

Some of my favourite resources:

1. The Faithful Elephants

This is a great children’s story about the unintended consequences of war. Beautiful water colour images capture the haunting history of the Tokyo Zoo during Allied bombing in WW2. http://www.amazon.ca/Faithful-Elephants-Story-Animals-People/dp/0395861373

2. The Big Six by Sexias and Morton

This teacher’s resource is an accessible breakdown of the major elements of the historical inquiry process. Whether an educator had been trained in History or not, this book provides clear examples and activities to study any period of time. The book focuses on “The Big Six:” historical significance, evidence, cause and consequence, continuity and change, historical perspectives, and the ethical dimensions of History. There are more great follow up activities here. 

3. The Enemy: a Book about Peace

This is an amazing children’s book about the futile nature of war. This youtube clip is a fair substitution if you can’t get a copy.

iMovie on the iPad- Trailers

iMovie Trailer Activity instructions

Our school has 20 iPads in the library. I have been trying to figure out ways to use them in my classroom. Unfortunately, the way our current system works, there are few apps directly related to Canadian History. I turned my sights on iMovie.

My Grade 10 Academic History class served as pioneers in developing an activity (and avoiding some of the bugs) revolving around the $5 iMovie app.

Students were asked to select a variety of images around a topic, in this case, an introduction to Canada’s involvement in WW2. Then, using the basic-pre-made trailer option, students’ text and images were animated, set to music and packaged in a really slick format.

PLUSES:
– the students LOVED this creativity.
– they love the iPad and the simple image save functions
– the trailers look professional
– because they couldn’t obsess about music choices of storyboard setup, they were able to start and finish a 1 min trailer in a 75 minute period
– easy upload to Youtube or Vimeo

CONS:
– because the iPads are shared with the whole school, the students couldn’t save work they haven’t finished
– YouTube can take a long time to upload and if students don’t have their own account, you have to provide them with a password.
– Students need to remember (and learn) to sign out the account they use to share the finished product

Here’s an example of what they produced.

World War Two: Raid On Dieppe from HTrinity on Vimeo.