Class 5: Looking Back – Was Lincoln a Racist?

Featured image: Freedmans Monument in Lincoln Park Lincoln Park (1876)
Sculptor: Thomas Ball Source


We will continue our examination of historical thinking skills based on the work by Stanford History Education Group. (SHEG). In this class our focus will be on Contextualization. See Historical Thinking Chart  (pdf in English and Spanish at SHEG).

For content, in this class session will will consider the roots of American racism seen through the lens of US Civil War era.

Class Session | Zoom Video

We will open class with a check for understanding activity focused on the historical sourcing. Next, Peter will lead a short demonstration of contextualization.

Then the class will break into two groups to explore racism in context in two using the framework of “Structured Academic Controversy”  (SAC). Not all issues can be easily debated as pro / con positions. SAC provides students with a framework for addressing complex issues in a productive manner that builds their skills in reading, analyzing, listening, and discussion. It shifts the goal from “winning” the argument to active listening to opposing viewpoints and distilling areas of agreement.

SAC questions

Question A:  Was Abraham Lincoln a racist? 250kb PDF. 
Breakout 1 argues that Lincoln was a racist.
Breakout 2 argues that Lincoln was not a racist.

Question B: Were African Americans free during Reconstruction? 750kb PDF. 
Breakout 3 argues African Americans were free during Reconstruction.
Breakout 4 argues African Americans were not free during Reconstruction.


Position Presentation
1. Side A presents their position using supporting evidence from the texts.
2. Side B restates to Side A’s satisfaction.
3. Side B presents their position using supporting evidence from the texts.
4. Side A restates to Side B’s satisfaction.
5. Abandon roles.
6. Build consensus regarding the question (or at least clarify where your differences lie), using supporting evidence.
7. Consider the question: How should we judge people from the past?

Assignment 5 | Graded Forms 20-A5

ASSIGNED reading:

In our next class we will be exploring the impact of industrialization in the late 1800s. Please download and review Progress and Poverty in Industrial America available free at iTunes. We will be using the 11 sources to create a graphic organizer that responds to the essential question: “How do we evaluate the social costs and benefits of technological innovations?”


We will build on our new Google Forms skills by designing two separate forms – a self graded quiz and differentiated form. The self-graded quiz is scored tests, so you should find some historical source material that lends itself to objective questions. The differentiated form could also be an objective test or a “choose your own path” presentation. (See Resources below)

Each Google form  should include:

  1. Title
  2. Historical document(s) as prompt for questions.
  3. Where you got the document(s). Include working URL. (Be sure it’s in public domain)
  4. About 3 – 5 questions for user to answer. 
  5. Answer key that gives feedback for correct / incorrect answers. (In your self-graded quiz)
  6. Alternative paths to different sections based on answers (In your differentiated form)

Embed the two Google forms in post (more instructions below). 

Be sure your blog post has

  1. Featured image and clever title
  2. Target student group. Grade, course.
  3. Quiz context – for example – introduction, pre-assessment, etc
  4. Direct link to Google Forms
  5. Embedded Google Forms using HTML Snippets (same process as last class)


Self grading form – students will see how they did on each question. And you can provide feedback and “reteaching” for questions they missed.

Sample Self Graded Quiz Link
How to make Self Graded Quiz Link

Differentiated form – it is self graded, except if as they get correct or wrong answers they follow different paths. For example if they miss question 1, they go to instructional info and then retake the question. If they get question 1 correct, they go directly to question 2.

Sample differentiated quiz Link
Here’s one that adds images Link
Can use the same technique to make it a “choose your own path” Link
Here’s a good planning tool for “choose your own path” Link

Here’s a good how to on created a differentiated form

Class 4: Evaluating Historical Sources – Japanese-American Incarceration WWII

Evaluating Historical Sources - Japanese-American Incarceration WWII

Featured image source


This class will begin a multi-class examination of historical thinking skills based on the work by Stanford History Education Group. (SHEG). We will focus on four key historical thinking skills – Sourcing, Contextualization, Corroboration and Close Reading. See Historical Thinking Chart  (pdf in English and Spanish at SHEG).

For content, in this class session we will examine the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans.

Class Session | Zoom Video

Class will open with some introductory activities both evaluating the work from last week’s class and the assigned flipped lesson Who is the historian in your classroom? Created at TEDed.

We will have an initial review of the topic using the multitouch iBook,  Portland’s Japantown Revealed (free at iTunes). Students will then use a modification of this evaluation guide to compare the two videos below.

How does the video say it?

  • Who made these videos and what was their purpose in making the videos?
  • What was the essential message of each video? What makes you think that?
  • What audio and visual elements are used to support the message of the video? Cite specifics.
  • How effective are these videos in communicating their message?

How does the video connect to me?

  • How is each video a product of its time? Do the videos rely on fact or opinion? Do they appeal to the viewer’s reason or emotion? Cite specifics
  • How do these videos communicate in ways that would differ from a textbook?
  • What is my reaction to the videos and the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II?
  • How might others see these videos in different ways than me?

From the Uprooted Project

Essential question: How does a nation balance national security and the rights of the individual?

In class discussion using a Fishbowl model

Assignment 4 | G Form lessons 20-A4

Design a Sourcing lesson using a Google Form and embed into your next post. 
Start a Google Form here

Google form sourcing lesson should include:

  1. Title
  2. At least two documents to be considered – could include images, videos, or short text passages)
  3. Archival sources of documents (be sure it’s in public domain)
  4. At least 3 questions for user to answer. Could be separate questions for each documents or collective questions for both.
  5. Instructional goal that highlights the expected answers and / or student insights.

Embed the Google form in post (more instructions below). 

Be sure your blog post has: 

  1. Featured image and clever title
  2. Target student group. Grade, course.
  3. Lesson context – for example – introduction, pre-assessment, part of bigger unit, etc
  4. Lesson delivery in virtual classroom – for exampleflipped instruction, in class station, etc.
  5. How the Google Form will be used to help achieve instructional intent.
  6. Embedded Google Form using HTML Snippets (instructions below)
  7. Direct link to Google Form


Student work from fall 2019

Support for using Google Forms

Sample Google form lesson

Here’s a sample lesson using a Google Form and one document (you’ll need two)

Direct link: Zulu Chief Photograph

tech resources for this lesson

How to get an embed code for your Google form

How to HTML Snippets to embed your Google form into WordPress post. Note in this example I begin by getting the embed code from a Padlet. Once you have the any embed code on your “clipboard” you can use HTML Snippets in WordPress

Class 3: Three Keys to Student Engagement

Three keys to student engagement


Today’s class will focus on the subject of student engagement. We’ll use a presentation and a few activities to demonstrate how higher order thinking tasks, opportunities for student choice and fostering student reflection can both enhance student engagement and create deeper learning.  

Class Session | Zoom Video

We will open with breakout group discussion of our last posts. Then Peter will do a presentation and demonstration of some thinking skills in action.

Assignment 3 | Image Icebreakers 20-A3

assigned viewing
  1. View this flipped lesson Who is the historian in your classroom? Created at TEDed using a video from Stanford History Education Group. (SHEG)
  2. Download Portland’s Japantown Revealed (free at iTunes). Published by your prof in 2014. You don’t have to read book in detail. Just get some background on Portland’s Japantown and subsequent incarceration of Japanese-Americans in WWII.
  3. Use this STUDENT GUIDE (1mb pdf) to focus your viewing of Uprooted and Japanese Relocation. Focus on looking for the key questions from the student guide:
    – (3) How does the video say it?
    – (4) How does the video connect to me?
  4. View the 10 min video: “Uprooted.” made in 2014 by documentary filmmakers to accompany museum exhibit. It features historic video from World War II as well as oral history interviews with Japanese Americans that the filmmakers shot in 2013 and 2014.
  5. View the 9 min video: “Japanese Relocation (1942).” made in 1942 by the US government as an informational service to the US public. It features video shot in 1941 and 1942 and narration by Milton Eisenhower, director of the War Relocation Authority and (future) President Dwight Eisenhower’s younger brother.
Assigned Activity

Decide on a broad theme, era or topic and find 3 historical images. For each image use one of the following “Primary Source Icebreakers” as an “inspiration” for a prompt. The post should include:

  1. Interesting title
  2. Featured image
  3. Three images with prompts and responses

For each of the three images include:

  1. Icebreaker used
  2. Image
  3. Source of image as active hyperlink
  4. Any important context for image
  5. Pose specific icebreaker prompt(s) being used
  6. Include an expected student response to prompt that would indicate understanding of source image and prompt
Primary Source Icebreakers
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Primary-Source-Icebreaker-1024x722.png
Source TPS Connect

Resources – Sample post

Note: this models using one image with one icebreaker. Your post should include three of these.

Thought Bubbles
"School Begins" from Puck Magazine January 25, 1899
Source (click to view larger version)

Title: “School Begins” from Puck Magazine January 25, 1899

Context: This cartoon is titled “School Begins.” Caption at bottom states: Uncle Sam (to his new class in Civilization): Now, children, you’ve got to learn these lessons whether you want to or not! But just take a look at the class ahead of you, and remember that, in a little while, you will feel as glad to be here as they are!”

Icebreaker prompt: Create a thought bubble for three characters in the cartoon

Uncle Sam: “I hope I don’t regret letting these kids into my school!”
Kids in front row: “I don’t like our new teacher.”
Kids reading (note states they are from): “Remember when we were the new kids”

Additional FYI (not part of sample): Puck was the first successful humor magazine in the United States. It was published from 1871 until 1918. In 1881 some of Puck’s artists formed a rival satirical magazine: Judge. It was published until 1947. Both are great sources for political cartoons to use with your students.

Class 2: Take a Closer Look

Take a Closer Look


Today’s class will focus on finding and curating historical content – in this case images. Our focus will be on sourcing material that is in public domain using our historical archive resources.

Most materials are in the public domain if they were produced before 1923. I see this as roughly equivalent to everything that happened in the world up to and including World War I! If you’re looking for newspaper articles in Chronicling America, for example, you will note that coverage ends in 1922. 

Primary sources produced by the federal government are normally in the public domain both before and after the magic copyright date of 1923. That explains why we as teachers can use the fabulous oral history interviews of former slaves collected between 1936 and 1938 by workers from the Federal Writers’ Project.

Class Session

Class will open with a discussion on strategies for supporting remote learning – both in our course and our student placements.

Next, Peter will share some information on public domain and Creative Commons. He will also share strategies for searching using a selection of historical archives.

Students will then practice:

  1. find a historical image
  2. download it
  3. get citation information and source URL
  4. adding image to practice post
  5. include citation with active hyperlink back to source in image caption

Lastly, Peter will introduce this week’s assignment and some strategies for working with WordPress to create learning activities base on close readings of historical images.

Assignment 2 | Looks 20-A2

Image Detective Choice 1: (inspired by Crop It lesson)

Being able to find and curate historical source material is a foundation of historical thinking. This activity merges three Instuctional goals: finding / curating historical sources, looking closely at historical sources and using WordPress tools to add images and hyperlinks. It will help students learn how to find material for future lesson design activities. 

Here’s some sample student work from Fall 2019.

  1. find 3 historical images
  2. for each image: provide full image with citation in hyperlink back to source
  3. then add a of crop area of each image to show one of the following clues (add clue in the image caption) Tips on how to crop an image
  4. Put all content into a post. Give it a clever title. Include a featured image.
Possible questions:
  1. who or what this image is about.
  2. where this takes place.
  3. when this happened or was created.
  4. what is the creator’s point of view or purpose.
  5. something I have a question about

Example: Image with two crops

African American Soldiers in an Automobile Source
When? It’s an upside down 1919 NYS license plate. I think they are returning Black WWI soldiers in a parade.
These Black soldiers are being honored in a parade. Knowing 1919 is in the Jim Crow / KKK era, I wonder what else faced them back in America?

Image Detective Choice 2: Create an image compare

WordPress now has a built in “Image Compare” block. Find a two suitable images to compare and use the compare to explore continuity and change.

Do the image compare for two sets of images.
So you will have two separate “image compares” with guiding questions for each

Possible questions exploring continuity and change:
  1. what is the same?
  2. what is different? 
  3. what do the similarities and differences tell us?
  4. how are they explained by historical events / trends?
1897 topographic map of Portland, ORContemporary Map Portland Oregon - Google Maps
1897 topographic map of Portland, OR compared to Google Maps
Possible questions raised by comparison:
  1. How has geography shaped the development of Portland?
  2. Why is PDX airport likely in its current location? How is that location both and asset and a liability?
  3. What’s the history of Vanport? How did geography intersect with race and history to cause its demise?


Note that this post uses JuxtaposeJS to create the same image compare (it was before it came to WordPress). So ignore that aspect and focus on examples of comparative images and my technique for getting best image alignment. I used Google slides in video. But same technique would work in Apple Keynote.

Here’s how to get Keynote into a portrait shaped size for comparing portrait images. Set custom size to 768 width by 1024 height
In Keynote change document format to a vertical portrait shape
In Keynote change document format to a vertical portrait shape
Here’s how to align images.

Click on image. Then open Format window. Click on Style. Then adjust the opacity slider to where you want it. Once you have images aligned, remove all opacity. Duplicate the slide with one image on each.

Click on image. Format:style: opacity
Click on image. Format:style: adjust opacity
Then export the two slides as images to use in your image compare
Export slides as images
Export slides as images
Here’s a video where I demonstrate how to align the images and export as image files using Google slides. Ignore the fact I was using JuxtaposeJS. I start it about a minute in.

Feature image uses photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash