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

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)

Remembrance Day: Cultivate Peace

A friend got me thinking about the poppy campaign. He said,

As long as you’re working towards LESS war, i don’t care what colour your poppy is.

— Simon (@stillwellgray) November 10, 2013

I agree.

We’re all familiar with the red flower which adorns the breast of Canadians, Americans and Brits as they pay tribute to veterans of these countries’ wars. The movement emerged in the 1920s as part of Armistice Day as people gathered to commemorate those lives lost during The Great War.

The White Poppy Campaign also emerged around the same time. In 1926, Pacificts created these white flowers as part of the No More War Movement.

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino thinks the White Poppy needlessly politicizes Remembrance Day.  He said, “Remembrance Day is about paying tribute to the valour and courage of those who set the very foundation of the freedoms that makes our country great (White Poppy Under Fire).” Isn’t remembering their sacrifices for the FREEDOM without WAR part of that?

Australians wear sprigs of rosemary as part of ANZAC Day. This plant leaves a potent scent on the fingers and was believed to improve memory. Rosemary also grows wild in Gallipoli, the site of ANZAC’s heart-wrenching defeat by the Turkish forces in April of 1915. Like the Red and White Poppies, this adornment suggests “remember” as opposed to “be political.”

Teaching a Culture of Peace

I try to use Remembrance Day as a day to “Cultivate Peace.” I remind students that The Great War was also called the “War to End all Wars.”

Here are some fantastic resources to do this in your own classroom.

1) Read Sadako and the Paper Cranes and fold peace cranes from origami. Hang them in the classroom as a reminder of Peace.

paper cranes

2) There is an entire month’s worth of lessons at the website, Cultivating Peace. 

here is a downloadable  cultivating Peace #1 (.PDF lesson plans)

peace matches tops and tails peaces quotes (talking about peace)

3) Discuss the following short films.

Neighbours by Norman McLaren, National Film Board of Canada

And Balablok:

Twitter for Teachers

Twitter is a great tool for finding new and interesting resources, a cool way to debate within your classroom and to tell people mundane details about your life.

A wee tidbit:  Perhaps we were programmed anthropologically to Tweet. CBC’s Spark did an episode/podcast about this very thing.

So, Why Do I want to have a twitter account?

I’ve managed to find of variety of educators and technology specialists who tweet resources and ideas on a constant basis. I occasionally go on twitter and see what has been shared. Then, I can assess my need for the site or skip it.

You can start with ‘@appledaughters’ iLearn list.

Become a follower to see the variety of specialist I follow. Then, check out what individuals tweet. You may like some more than others. Twitter also offers a ‘Who to Follow’ option once you have a few people you follow. This will give you another variety of people to choose from.

All things Twitter: twitter-guide.pdf View Download

here’s a great “GLOG” about Twitter for Teachers.

 

#EDCHATS:  This CALENDAR gives you dates/times for twitter chats by teaching professionals around the globe!

Twitter Speak

hashtag: example: #educhat All tweets relating to the topic or ‘hashtag’ are available on a separate list when you click the hashtag link.

following/followers: the people who’s tweets show up on your home screen and your ‘followers’ see yours.

Think Literacy

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.

Here is the resource for Gr 10 History (WW2) and Civics. 

There’s also a resource for 7/8 History.

Tops and Tails

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.

Variations:

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

Example:

History Tops and Tails – quote scramble

How to:

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.

War of 1812

I love anniversaries. We can relive moments of the past and celebrate (or mourn) the events shaping our present and future.300x133x2013_war_of_1812-300x133.jpg.pagespeed.ic.dpidUbu9Zf

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:

  1. Establish historical significance

  2. Use primary source evidence

  3. Identify continuity and change

  4. Analyze cause and consequence

  5. Take historical perspectives, and

  6. Understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations.

Bridging the Gap – Student Success as Student Servant (technology) Leadership

Replace-Fear-with-Curiosity

Bridge the Gap between teacher knowledge and student knowledge through a technology they’re interested in playing with.

Why Are you (sometimes) hesitant to use technology in the classroom?

(this will take you to a Google doc and you’ll be able to anonymously contribute).

Student success is consistently tied to their connectedness to the school and classroom. They

Easy Ways to Include Technology in your classroom:

Fakebook Discussion Threads

Fake Twitter Threads

Want to try real twitter? See this post.

Online Comics:

Bitstripsforschools.com –> I have set us up with a class and an activity comic so you can have some fun playing with this amazing program.

http://www.kerpoof.com — Better for a younger audience and creates .jpegs or can save if signed in
žhttp://www.xtranormal.com – Requires log in
Mind Mapping
text2mindmap.com – takes text broken down through tabs and creates a mind map with associated sister and child branches
bubbl.us — Tool allows students to determine the space and orientation of their map, colours, etc

JUST PLAY.

Here’s a great fun activity to help your students engage with the interactive white board. –> www.drawastickman.com

Newspaper Clip Generator (and other things)

Other Neat Stuff:

http://waterlife.nfb.ca/#/ — An interactive  multimedia presentation about Canada’s Waterways

http://flawed.nfb.ca/#/flawed — Body Image, Love and a beautiful multimedia story

PicMonkey.com

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Want further Inspiration? This is a great “catch all” site.

Google has created an interesting resource to help teach students how to “google” better. It’s American-centric, but you can adjust the concepts to make it more accessible in your classroom.