DBL – Straight to the Source

Lynchings 1900-1931

Throughout the entire process of creating my document based lesson I was incredibly engaged. The idea of setting up students to serve as historical detectives was fascinating and doing the research to “uncover” primary sources/information proved incredibly fruitful and fulfilling. I even felt like a historical detective at certain points, especially when the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture emailed me the court transcripts from Jesse Washington’s “trial” in Waco, Texas!

Focusing on the lynching of Jesse Washington was certainly a emotionally/spiritually challenging task for me, however, and I initially struggled with the idea of what I wanted students to actually do with this information and what my intention for the lesson was. “Do I want students to get angry over Jesse Washington’s lynching and just sit in that anger? Do I want students to see how groups like the NAACP rose to prominence because of the work they did to quell lynchings? What am I trying to get at?” Ultimately, I ended up deciding that my intention was multifaceted… I am totally fine with students getting upset over historic injustices (after all, who learns about events like the Holocaust or Jim Crow and DOESN’T get upset?)  because I believe that will ignite an inner fire/passion to fight against present day injustices and, of course, I want students to feel empowered in their ability to contribute to society for the better so I felt the need to highlight the NAACP’s article in “The Crisis” and Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” as examples of resistance.

I truly appreciated this process and wish I had more opportunities to engage in document based learning during my secondary education career. I fully intend on utilizing this type of lesson in my future classroom in sha Allah.

If anybody who reads my chapter on Jesse Washington and the dark legacy of American lynchings has any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn. Much obliged.

Photo Credit:


Digital History

Nanking Uni

Prompt: Write a blog post in response to our class on digital history.

Our Digital History class was definitely a fun experiment. Taking a site like Twitter, which is often one of the social networking sites that get blocked in school, and making it an actual tool to be used for learning was impressive. Thinking about how that would translate into a Middle/High School class is a bit challenging for me though because it was hard to keep a room full of graduate students focused on the single task at hand without getting distracted by Miley Cyrus or The Walking Dead or whatever other nonsense Twitter has the tendency to throw at users. One thing that might have reigned it in a bit is if the class as a whole had a larger, classroom conversation on the #engsschat questions and then, as a class, contributed some of the highlights of what we discussed.

The second highlight of the Digital History class for me was being able to get my hands on really cool data machines… my favorite was the NYT Chronicle website (check out my search here).  Giving us resources to explore our own curiosities led to some serious engagement… obviously there’d be some issues with students looking up problematic/inappropriate information but I think that could be cleared up with clear and concrete guidelines set ahead of time. Ultimately, resources like NYT Chronicle and GapMinder was incredibly engaging and letting kids explore and play discover/historian in a Social Studies class could be a breath of fresh air for students.

In regards to how “historians” can leverage these digital tools for research/instruction/professional growth, I’ll focus primarily on instruction. Going all the way back to our first day of class, when we were asked to work in groups to create an image of what was needed to be a good Social Studies teacher, I think these digital tools could be a really cool opportunity to see what students can create/find/produce. I could see a teacher showing students how to use GapMinder and then telling them, “In a group of three, use GapMinder to find different social/economic/health data that has a strong positive or negative correlation. After your group feels that your data is strongly connected, think of a way to creatively explain how they connect to each other.” Products may be all over the place but students would have to tap into multiple skill sets to complete the task: team work, research, reasoning, etc. I love the idea of using these tools in a classroom!

Image Credit:

Digital Idggbain 22350 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.22350

Control Numberggb2005022348

Flipped Lessons: TedEd



As part of our Digital History class, we were asked to design a Flipped Lesson. I decided to use TedEd as my platform (which can be seen here.)



Science Says There Is No Such Thing As Race

I’ll admit that it was a really fun project that really got me thinking about all of the extra time that front loading content would give me in class. What kind of conversations would we have, what kind of work stations could I set up to get students to dig into this topic more, what projects could they work on, etc. However, there’s one big issue for me for Flipped Lessons – ACCESS.

There are so many variables that are outside of the teacher’s control when work gets put back onto the students at home: does the student have electricity, does the student have access to internet, does the student have access to reliable technology, does the student have a place to sleep tonight, etc. I have no doubt that flipped lessons are wonderful in communities where many of those issues aren’t present but for many students who are struggling, this might place just another obstacle in front of them for accessing critical information for class.

That being said though, I think that if I as a teacher do my due diligence to ensure that all of my bases are covered and know my students’ home situations well enough, I think I would use this as a resource.

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/p-71232/?no_redirect

1 to 1 and Done?


Prompt:  Assume you have your first full time teaching job and the principal tells you that you’ve been selected to pilot the  “1 to 1 Project.”  What are your thoughts about the opportunities and challenges that presents?

Technology has always been a double edged sword to me – it wields the power to serve as a tool for immense learning or act as a weapon of mass distraction. So when presented with the hypothetical task of piloting my school’s “1 to 1 Project”, I proceed with a bit of trepidation. However, I believe that with adequate preparation and a solid intention/plan for how the technology would be used, I could alleviate some of my worries.

The intention I could see myself setting for the technology is to see them used as tools for creation/production. By handing out iPads/Chrome books/etc. it’d be hard to manage what students are using them for at all times but by requiring students to produce something with the equipment, it’s easy to hold kids accountable. Also, as a teacher, I’d want to ensure that my students have reliable access to quality information – to do this, I’d need to be responsible for getting that information to my students (or giving them specific locations to retrieve it themselves). I see this point as an issue of equity/access and would take advantage of this step to down play a student’s prior access (or lack thereof) to technology/research. 

Ultimately, anything worth trying usually doesn’t come without risk and the 1 to 1 Project is no exception. If implemented haphazardly it’ll backfire but with strong intentionality, it should provide immense opportunity for learning and growth – after all, technology is embedded in pretty much every aspect of our lives so why should the classroom be any different?

Image Credit

Site: http://www.loc.gov/item/89712629/

Call NumberPC 3 – 1803 – An Experiment with a burning (A size) [P&P]

Library of Congress Catalog Number: 89712629

Reproduction Numbe: rLC-USZ62-97643 (b&w film copy neg.)