Rubrics: We Can Do It! (Version 2014)

TNKCAPWe’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.

RUBRICS: We Can Do it (Link)

 

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Fantasy Geopolitics

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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: 

 

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.

Collaborative Tools online

Padlet

This is my new favourite collaborative software.

Richard Byrne did a great little video about how to start using Padlet and why you might use it in class. He talks about using this as an assessment for and assessment as learning.

The program allows people to log on anonymously or through an account. The Wall-owner can include images on the wall – perhaps an opportunity to annotate? You can also print out the contents of the wall for sharing in hard copy.

You can also add images from your computer or using a laptop camera.

Ways you could use this in your classroom

1) Collect information during student inquiry

2) use “layout modification” to force entries to be ranked in order of posting, and use as a debate

3) use as a Graffiti wall or as part of a jigsaw activity

4) Share links and ideas on a topic

5) Ask students to contribute personal connections to a historical theme – example: How is your life at home different in 2013 than when you were 5 years old?

Here are some other ideas by Cynthia Treichler. She even includes a tutorial on her website.

padlet integration

Let’s Play!

hey, PED3183, Let’s share some cool resources we’ve found and play with this resource.

http://padlet.com/wall/historytips – Groups 1 – 4

http://padlet.com/wall/historytips2 – Groups  5 – 8

Today’s Meet

A colleague introduced me to a neat tool called Today’s Meet. It allows students to ask questions, make comments and get clarification from a presentation. The beauty of the site? It doesn’t require someone to log into the site and  the shared  link is memorable. The wall owner can set the duration of time the link is “live” to prevent access to the wall after an activity.

Students can debate with each other using this venue and thus becomes an alternative to Twitter.

The transcript option allows the presenter to save the Room after a discussion. It saves in chronological order and there’s an easy copy & paste function.

The Today’s Meet Blog has some interesting ideas as well.

The website sells itself as a backchannel opportunity.

todays meet

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.

Field Trips

Making The Case for Fieldtrip

Some great Field Trip Locations for History:

– cemeteries – Beechwood Cemetery 

– high streets (architecture)

– museums – The Bytowne Museum, The Diefenbunker

– local cenotaph

– statues

– cities (view development of City from downtown to rural)

– virtual field trips – Quebec City

– antique shops

– town/city archivesPicMonkey Collage

Guidelines for Fieldtrips – Board Policy Examples

Niagara Catholic District School Board

London Catholic District School Board

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!