The Ministry of Education has created a variety of lessons and ideas relating to literacy. The whole series is available online. Their approach looks at reading, writing and oral strategies for developing skills in understanding all types of text.
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|
|Veteran||1920s Canadians||Painting re: suffering of Veterans|
Here’s what one of my students produced.
ZIPLOC BAG OF PROPS
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
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?
We’ll spend some time today practicing writing rubrics. We’ll use a Google Doc I’ve opened for us. I will close it immediately after class and link your finished work back to this page/post. You should be able to click on the link and begin editing immediately.
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 images, interactives, 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.
Some of my favourite resources:
1. The Faithful Elephants
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.
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.
Tops and tails encourages students to get up, interact and think about the text they have and the ones they encounter.
Students are provided a portion of a quote on a sheet of paper or cue card. Their job is find the other half of the card. This can be a great icebreaker as students can be required to introduce themselves to people to whom they talk.
1) A definition and the term
2) A date (or a decade?) and its significant event
3) Sentences from a text (students find other half and then, as a larger group, try to put the text in the right order and PHYSICALLY stand in this order)
4) Literacy – Have students discuss why certain matches didn’t work together
1) create your phrases (Make sure you have enough for all your students!)
2) cut in individual pieces
3) give to students
4) Fun ensues.
I don’t pin*, but some of my closest friends do (Bronwyn or JenGilpin). They guarantee me that this is a brilliant way to share ideas visually. These two ladies also happen to be kindergarten teachers.
I stumbled across this great board for teachers. There doesn’t seem to be a lot for high school aged students, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t adjust some of these fantastic ideas for their lessons. Heck, many of these ideas could be just as effective in a grade 3 room as they would in a grade 10 History room.
Here are some of my favourites and how I might use them.
1. Classroom management
This would be really great for 7 and 8s. They may be able to ‘earn back’ letters before they have to wait x minutes after the bell.
2. Building new groups. I have students line up in different orders and then count them off in smaller groups.
3. Oral Assessments/Questioning
4. Literacy and Communication using evidence
Young historians or applied level students would love using a giant venn diagram on the ground to compare periods of time or experiences of different Canadians.
6. Building Relevance
Students often struggle making connections between History and their own lives. Sometimes, it’s easier for them to connect to non-personal things AND this still demonstrates their ability apply ideas. Consider tweaking this anchor chart for the history classroom.
* I’ll admit I started an account whilst researching this post. I’m pinning. *
Our current government invested heavy dollars into the commemoration of the War of 1812. The Canadian War Museum created a stellar exhibit showing the four major perspectives of the conflict (American, British, ‘Canada-British’ and First Nations) and there have been a plethora of reenactments along the St. Lawrence River for the 200 year ‘celebrations.’
Sexias and Morton’s team have created a plethora of activities and lessons around the War of 1812 using the Historical THinking Concepts of ‘the Big Six.‘ (If you haven’t invested in this fantastic resource, you should. Buy it here.)
These lessons help teachers to give students historical inquiry strategies and skills. Although I’ll come back to these again and again, Sexias and Morton (2013) conclude:
To think historically, students need to be able to:
Establish historical significance
Use primary source evidence
Identify continuity and change
Analyze cause and consequence
Take historical perspectives, and
Understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations.
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.
– 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
– 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.
Most of the teacher candidate students I taught cited ‘classroom management’ as their greatest fear about their Bachelor of Education year.
I was lucky, well, I see myself as lucky. I cut my management teeth while working in some of the toughest neighbourhoods of Glasgow. Street brawls, crack dealers and knife fights were a continuous issue in and around these schools. Although the students were sweet, happy and thankful young people, they came from tough homes and tough streets. So, it wasn’t unusual to be told to F-off or ‘flipped the bird.’ One day, I even had a student attempt to throw a desk in my direction (at me? I doubt it. He wasn’t that angry at his regular teacher). By the time I came back to Ottawa, ‘rough’ classes seemed like a cake-walk. Sure, these students were also challenged, the weren’t Glagswegians, growing up in a city with the highest poverty levels in the country.
A few simple tips:
1) Mean what you say. Empty threats are easily ignored.
2) Stay positive. The student is not the problem, it’s the behaviour.
3) The “lesson” should fit the “crime.” A student throwing garbage around the room? She/he can spend some time cleaning up the classroom. Can’t sit appropriately in a chair? They could stand.
4) ALWAYS STAY CALM. Raising your voice will never help. I love the ‘broken record”… ‘I just need you to sit down. I just need you to sit down. I just need you to sit down. I just need you to sit down.”
5) Address behaviours as quietly as possible. Go directly to the student and lean in. Whisper your directive. If you give the student an opportunity for a show, many will take it.
Tips from Liane Wray: Behaviour Cheatsheet 1 Behaviour Cheatsheet 2
There are ways to improve your classroom strategies. Great resources exist all over the internet for new teachers.
Billed as an ‘online cafe’ to post questions and queries for beginning teachers, http://www.survivethrive.on.ca/ is a great place to access good sources or start a discussion about issues you’re facing.
This website, disciplinehelp.com/ attempts to address the bigger issues at work in identifying 120 acting-out classroom behaviours.
The National Education Association also offers some pretty fantastic resources on many management issues.