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 as 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!
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.
Using the search bar on the page, use general terms to search, eg. science curriculum. I tried searching using the specific title of the curriculum and no matches were found so I found the more general the search term, the better.
Some of them are no longer available in hard copy as they are out of print but I think the majority of them are there.
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 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.
#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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Every day, we ask our students to come into our classrooms and try new things. We ask them to stand in front of their peers and speak, or answer a question on freshly learned topics or throw them into new methods of instruction which are far from the safety of pencil and paper activities. Our classrooms house intimidation!
I once read about a 30+ year veteran teacher who started a new activity every September. She believed it was a way to remind herself about the challenges of being a student. She reasoned that risk taking is hard and learning something new, although exciting, is really intimidating.
I love the image of a grey-haired woman stepping over the chrome engine of a Harley on her first ride, banging away at a drum lesson or leaping into a jazz dance class. She is risk taking. She giving up control. She is experiencing. She lets her self leave her comfort zone and head “where the magic happens.”
Unfortunately, many teachers forget what it’s like to take risks. We become at ease with the topics we cover (our students always seem so shocked, “how do you know all this?” and the answer is often, “I’ve taught it a lot”). We make excuses for why we won’t or can’t learn something new.
Teachers can be intimidated by technology. There are so many variables in selecting iPad, interactive whiteboard, web activity, collaboration, Google Apps etc. Then, we have to worry about managing those activities once we’ve created them.
My challenge to you: pick something. If it fails? Try again. Do something differently. You’ll get another crack at it in the future. What is there to lose?
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Let your students guide you. Let the students who know their way around reddit or tumblr show you how to find .gifs or embed videos. Enjoy being a student. Use the classtime to develop a skill or learn a new web too.
I originally wrote this letter in October of 2008.
Today, Dr. Osborne wrote me, for the second time, to say thank you for this letter. Apparently it keeps popping up when he searches his emails for “Stephanie.” The whole thing is still true, and it speaks to the importance of gratitude. To me, it needed it to be said, but I forget that even someone as accomplished and as wise as Dr. Osborne also loves to get warm fuzzies.
My message to you: thank someone who has helped your life. And thank you, again, Dr. Osborne.
Salutations, Dr. Osborne!
I read your spring convocation address in the Geography newsletter and was instantly reminded of my own convocation in 2001. You were sitting among the other dignitaries. Although all the other professors looked bored to tears, you smiled as you removed a book from the folds of your academic hat and began to pass time in a much more entertaining way. I am sad to hear the same hat is not available to you for the same purposes this year!
I’d like to hope you are teaching your fourth years the cultural and geographic varieties of French Wine and sports matches. I certainly can’t open a bottle of wine without thinking of your classes (that’s where I learned to drink the stuff!). I became quite the soccer (eep! Football) fan living in Scotland, although the sport was always second string to the stories and songs of the fans, who would fall over themselves to tell me of the history of one rivalry or another.
It is with this knowledge and exploratory spirit I embark on my next experience in Australia in 2009. I have a teaching exchange in Sydney and will, once again, justify my drinking and hooliganism as acedemic research.
I try to inspire my own high school students with the same excitement you demonstrate. Thank you a million times over for igniting my passion for people, spaces and places.You remain one of the most influential people to have touched my life.
best to you and yours, Stephanie Pearson, BAH 2001