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.

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Piktochart

I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to display things in my classroom. I was inspired by the following image (from @adambellow). This lead me to think about infographics and the online tool, Piktochart.

Piktochart allows creators to visualize data through the use of colour, symbols and graphs.

Classroom Rules

Infographics allow the viewer to “experience” the information on a variety of levels. In our 21st century world, we are accustomed to receiving information in small bytes. Infographics allow us to absorb information in this manner.

There are a lot of applications for our students to use this type of tools. I’m hoping to have students use something similar for a Challenge and Change analysis of demographics. It would make a great option to display results for a stats class or geography.

Once students have researched statistical information on a particular subject, they can then determine an attractive way to display it. This will touch on their ability to understand numbers and data as well as to choose essential information over additional.

The Learning Blog from the New York Times has some cool ideas.

Here are more ideas from Classroom 21.

Secondary Solutions offers some more ideas using Piktochart:

Find the one below here. It only took me about 10 minutes to create.

Class RulesKathy-Schrock-education

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.

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.

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.

Resources: Even Bad Ones can be Great!

This week I challenged my class of Bachelor of Education candidates to think outside of the box. I asked them to evaluate a variety of print and electronic resources and discuss alternative ways to use these resources in class.

Often, teachers are given limited resources but are still required to inspire students to enjoy history. Sometimes an dusty old box or a pile of worksheets can be given new life through a little creativity. Other resources can be used in lessons about “why don’t we use this sort of thing anymore?”

Here’s what my teacher-candidates came up with. I have provided as many links as possible so that you may use these ideas too!

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.

Teachers on Pinterest

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

5. Literacy

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. *