Reflection: DBQ lesson


I have rather enjoyed creating this lesson. The idea was something I became interested in while in college and have not had the space to develop since then. When this project was introduced to me I knew immediately what I would do.

It became more interesting, unfortunately, in the middle of November as Paris was attacked and hateful rhetoric began to come from the Republican presidential candidates. It reminded me of some of the rhetoric after the attacks on the twin towers, which as a 12 year old then I clearly remember. As I started my venture into teaching, I realized that many of my students would be born near or after this day that so scarred my memory. I was reminded of my own age as well as my place in the greater timeline of history. It is this realization that directed me to think of another generations “day of infamy” and the ways we teach it to students who have little context for it.

I also find myself wanting to emphasize on historical empathy, or perspective taking. Often times when looking at history, we may look at it with our modern day perspectives and judge the people of the past without seeing things through their eyes. The purpose of this is not to justify their actions but realize that it could still happen to us; that if we forget the past or believe we are above it, we are bound to repeat it.

Creating this document based lesson allowed me to combine both of these ideas of mine into one, ideally powerful, lesson. I am not a Mac person so learning to use the iBook software was a bit of a learning curve but in the end I found it worth it to create this easy to access lesson. I hope that whoever may find this will have some deep discussions both about our history and the nature of humans themselves.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
User: Victor-ny
Uploaded: 18 July 2010

Class 15: Publish or Perish

Civilian_Conservation_Corps,_Third_Corps_Area,_typing_class_with_W.P.A._instructor_-_NARA_-_197144We’ll be using iBooks Author to finish our iBooks today (Report to Digital lab / Clark Library). Here’s a  pdf copy of our rough draft “Exploring History Vol III” A collection of student-designed document based lessons.

Note: You will be adding your last blog post (reflection) as a final portion of the lesson. That can be your look back at the of the entire document based lesson process.

We will also take some time to complete our UP Smart Evals

Here’s a  few iBooks Author reminders:

  1. We will use the Inspector/ Document to disable “Hyphenate.”
  2. Your chapters will need your names. If you have a website, Twitter or LinkedIn page, etc – you can link to it so readers can find you.
  3. Some chapters need dates (or eras).
  4. Some have used sections, some not. That is your call. Unless the sections help deliver the content, we should consider eliminating them and going to chapter with pages.
  5. You will need to have links back to documents / content. They should not just link to jpg file, but the entire source as listed in whatever archive you used.
  6. Sources can be adjacent to document or at end of the lesson as Work Cited.
  7. All  links should all be checked to see if they work. To save space consider just using the words source and making it a hyperlink.
  8. Looking for icons to spice it up? Check out The Noun Project. They are free and should be cited in your sources
  9. Some of the images you used are bit fuzzy in resolution. We can look for higher resolution versions.
  10. If you have large images, you can use a setting to make the images pop out to full size. (inspector/ widget/ interaction/ goes to full screen)
  11. Some of you still have placeholder text in widgets “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet….” That needs to be removed. iTunes will not accept the iBook.
  12. If you want to embed a video, we will use the Bookry site. Here’s a video how to
  13. I’ve created a YouTube channel with some short tutorials – iBooks Author Tips

Image Credit: Civilian Conservation Corps, Third Corps Area, typing class with W.P.A. instructor ca. 1933
National Archives and Records Administration Identifier: 197144


Class 14: Project Based Learning

Marshmallow ChallengeProject (or problem) Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge.  While this course has an ongoing PBL feel to it, today we approach the methodology head on with an activity and discussion.

Students will take part in the Marshmallow Challenge and use the experience to explore the challenges and opportunities of the project based approach to instruction. Plus we’ll see if my UP students can top these middle school “engineers” I worked with in Dallas TX (above).

Students in a traditional classroom spend the majority of their lessons learning basic knowledge from the teacher. Then maybe if there’s time, they may get a chance to apply the basics in an “activity.” (Note: that’s in quotes since the “activity” is so tightly aligned to lesson that it’s about as challenging as putting a round peg in a round whole.) PBL reverses that model. With a project as the goal, students go into action trying to uncover the foundational knowledge that will enable them to succeed. The project isn’t an add-on at the end of a lesson. It is the lesson.

Essential Elements of PBL include
  1. Significant Content – At its core, the project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills, derived from standards and key concepts at the heart of academic subjects.
  2. 21st century competencies – Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation, which are explicitly taught and assessed.
  3. In-Depth Inquiry – Students are engaged in an extended, rigorous process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers.
  4. Driving Question – Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
  5. Need to Know – Students see the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
  6. Voice and Choice – Students are allowed to make some choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PBL experience.
  7. Critique and Revision – The project includes processes for students to give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.
  8. Public Audience – Students present their work to other people, beyond their classmates and teacher.

For more on the subject see my PBL-tagged posts.

A great source of PBL resources is the Buck Institute for Education –  register to access their resources.

We will also spend some class time proofing our document-based lesson chapters which have been assembled into a draft iBook. We’ll have them all loaded into the iPad cart.

Assignment: Write a reflection on the document-based lesson project.  It should be turned into your final blog post by 12/6. (Add an image from your lesson). Note: It will also be included in the final version of your iBook chapter.

Class 13: Don’t Hand It In, Publish It

William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV and his Queen. 1877
William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV and his Queen. 1877

Digital technologies have put us in charge of the information we access, store, analyze and share.  Creating an iBook harnesses those motivational factors into an engaging learning experience. The ease of distribution across the world (via iTunes) means students can communicate with a broader, and more authentic audience than just their teacher and class peers.

This is the third iBook published by our EdMethods students. Available free at iTunes:

Exploring History Vol I: Fall 2013
Exploring History Vol I: Fall 2014

Note: EdMethods students regularly post to our course blog. See posts here.

This week we will wrap up our first drafts of our DBLs for inclusion into our collaborative iBook. The iBooks will be designed using iBooks Author in the library digital lab. Students will bring digital versions of their DBLs to the lab – including all image and sound files, text files, citations and URLs.

Workflow? See this guide Getting Ready for iBooks Author 57KB pdf

For more see my resource site: Get Started with IBA

I’ve created a YouTube channel with some short tutorials that students may wish to refer to. See iBooks Author Tips

Exploring History IIIAssignment:

Write a reflection on the document-based lesson project.  It should be turned into your final blog post by 12/6. (Add an image from your lesson). Note: It will also be included in the final version of your iBook chapter.

Here’s our first draft Exploring History Vol III 23MB pdf

Image Credit:  Wikipedia The Graphic, June 30, 1877, p617. 

William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV and his Queen. Published in The Graphic in 1877 refering to The Caxton Celebration. The Caxton Celebration, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first printed book in England, took place in London in the summer of 1877.