Overall I really enjoyed and found value in creating a document based lesson. This semester I’ve been reading, Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewen and a quote that really stood out to me was, “What would we think of a course in poetry in which students never read a poem? (pg. 7).” I kept thinking about this quote throughout this lesson because that’s how high school social studies have been teaching history to students, and I feel document based lessons is an alternative that fixes that problem. It gives students a chance to work with primary resources and challenges them to be the historians in the process. The challenge for me was what primary resources to use, and what questions did I want my students to answer. I am glad I got to use a topic that I am super passionate about and be able to use it as my document based lesson project. The hard part was finding comic book covers that was available to share. Especially because Marvel and DC comics have heavy copyright laws that protect their work. My plan is to use this next year with my students at OPEN School.
What I gained most from this project was the skills of using google and Apple’s book author program. I am already thinking of creating another document based lesson on a different subject just so I can continue to grow my skills in using this program to be a better teacher. My only feed back I would give about this project that it’s a bit difficult for people that may not have a Apple device on hand.
Strangely, the first thing that popped into my mind when we received the document based lesson assignment was to create a lesson about what historians do when the written records are lost or missing.
I also decided that, as this would eventually lead to writing a chapter in an ebook, to write the chapter that is missing from my students’ textbook–the collapse of literacy and civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age in roughly 1200 B.C.E.
I had a wonderful time with this project and I learned new skills for both apple and google applications. I also took a chance and e-mailed Dr. Eric Cline–an expert on the late Bronze Age. He put me in contact with other people and opportunities related to this topic. It was a good reminder that academics are collaborative and supportive; in future, I will continue to reach out to experts and resources that can enrich my students’ learning.
I very much loved the concept of document based lessons. It aligns with the high school history standards very well as most of them are related to primary and secondary sources. I also liked creating the flow to a unit where the students eyes would be opened progressively throughout the unit. It is generally the way that I like to teach. Creating the PowerPoint and the Google Site were useful ways to get to know the technology. Both Google Sites and Google Slides are very useful in the classroom and if I had not already known how to use both of them I would have thought that it was worth the time to be able to fiddle around with them. I did find it very redundant to be doing it on the same topic over and over again, especially with the time that each took from our work on our unit plans and our thesis. Ibooks on the other hand was a different story. The technology is so cool and does have so many options that are functional, interactive, and engaging. This was weighted however with the fact that it can only be used on Macs and the whole process essentially felt like the struggle we deal with in our classrooms of the students who have access to technology and those who do not. I was very grateful for the flexibility to be given the chance to work more on the books for a second class period as it definitely helped to mediate that have/have-not mentality.
Overall it was a good projects that would be helpful in the future that utilized cool technological assets. It was a lot of work to be doing during everything else but by it’s self was worth it.