Growth Through Methodology

When I first entered this class at the end of the summer, I can say that one thing I was fearful of was how much I would have to use technology in this course. I did not consider my self a very technologically literate person, and worried that this deficit in skill would hinder my performance in the class. However, now that I have conquered the mountain and am looking at my work from the other side – excuse the horrible analogy – I am extremely happy with how far my skills with technology have grown. Through my time in this course, I have gained familiarity with multiple online tools, including: Google Tours, Google Sites, Google Forms, NGram Viewer, Padlet, and Adobe Spark to name a few. The incorporation of these tools that were used in this course have already had a positive impact on my teaching. For example, I have already incorporated exit slips through Google Forms that ask students to reflect on what they’ve learned in the day’s lesson as well as ask any burning questions they may have. My students definitely love working through their Chromebooks, and putting my exit slips on Google Forms was a simple way to make this activity more engaging to my class. This is something I may not have incorporated into my lessons before this class due to my slight avoidance of technology, but now I even get a kick out of making surveys for my students to answer through Google Forms. Also, I have learned the value of using sites like Google Forms for collecting data, since Forms records student responses for me to reflect on after the lesson I’ve taught, which is extremely useful for monitoring my students.

I have also used Google Sites and Padlet to make enhance my teaching at my placement school. I have learned that these sites can be great for incorporating historical thinking in a way that connects with students. For example, my eighth grade students took on the role of a key historical figure in President Clinton’s impeachment and composed a blog post from that perspective that they then posted on Padlet. This created a mock social media site for my students, which is something almost all of them are very familiar with. They were also exercising their ability to contextualize the information they had learned in lessons prior about Clinton’s impeachment to accurately depict their role. I believe these aspects of the activity were fun for my students, since I saw them get involved with composing their posts and responding to their classmates thoughtfully. I believe this format for this lesson made the activity much more engaging to my students, rather than if I were to have done this lesson through a handwritten blog post in students’ notebooks. Therefore, the tools incorporated into this class have allowed me to make my material more engaging for my students, as well as greatly improve my level of comfortability with using technology. This is something I believe has made me not only a stronger but a more confident educator, and I will most definitely be continuing to use the tools I’ve encountered in this class – such as the Library of Congress – to enhance the lessons I teach in the classroom this spring and beyond. This class has allowed me to practice using digital tools in an approachable way, and now I genuinely enjoy using technology to enhance my lessons to engage my students.

World War I Through Posters: How did both Allied and Central Powers Utilize Posters to Increase Support for War Efforts?

Essential Question: How did both allied and central powers utilize posters to increase support for war efforts during WWI?

In this lesson, students will be analyzing posters from both sides of WWI to gain a better understanding of the Great War. Students will look at sources individually, utilizing close reading, contextualization, and sourcing skills to gain a better sense of the historical content of each poster and determine how these posters appealed to the public. In addition, students will analyze posters in groups, looking for patterns between the posters in order to gain a sense of the trends utilized by poster makers to increase support for the war efforts.

Background Information: World War I was a conflict from 1914-1918 that involved many nations throughout the entire world. Known as “The Great War” during the time, the conflict introduced new horrors and realities of war due to technological advancements in equipment the Allied Powers (France, Great Britain and the Commonwealth, Russia, and the United States) fought the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, The Ottoman Empire). This war was significantly different than previous conflicts in human history, providing new challenges to nations in their efforts to garner support for the war effort by their entire populations. Below is a short video introducing the primary causes for the start of World War I.

Activity #1: War Bonds

One way in which “The Great War” differed from past wars was the extent to which civilians were involved in the WWI. Analyze the four primary source documents below and answer the guiding questions.

Question 1: In what ways were civilians asked to help in this conflict according to these posters?

Question 2: How would this help aid the war effort according to the posters? How might this aid from civilians changed the tide of the war in reality?

Activity #2: Total War

A term coined by World War I historians to characterize this changing nature of war was the idea of “Total War”. Analyze the four posters below, and answer the follow on questions.

Question 3: What might the term “total war” mean using evidence from these posters?

Question 4: How were roles changing for specific groups in society as a consequence of “The Great War?” Why might that be? Give examples from the posters.

Activity #3: Patriotic Symbols

Many countries used symbols to help rally support for the war. Look at these posters below, and answer the follow on questions.

Question 5: Why might have war supporters used posters to help garner support for their cause?

Question 6: Are symbols like the ones used in WWI still used today to help rally people to a cause? Give an example.

Activity #4: Portrayal of the “Other”

In addition to gaining support for the war, both the allies and the central powers looked to depict the enemies of their nations in negative ways, as displayed below. Analyze these posters, and answer the questions below.

Question 7: How did poster makers utilize imagery to depict other nations?

Question 8: Why might such a tactic have been so effective during wartime?


WWI was a war that changed not only the political landscape of Europe and the entire world, but also the way in which war was perceived and fought. In order to address this changing way in which warfare was conducted, nations had to appeal to their countries in innovative and different ways than in the past. A nation could no longer rely on a section of their population to win their country’s wars; instead, a reliance on the entire populace became necessary for all powers if they hoped to win the “Great War”. With this extreme reliance came a drastic social changes for all parts of world.

Concluding Activity: Utilizing techniques poster makers used during WWI, make your own WWI era poster. Ensure you have an image and text within the poster that display a point of view that would appeal to a certain segment of a population. You may choose to make a poster for any power involved in “The Great War”.

Data Visualization with The Korean War

Chronicling America” is an extremely valuable tool educators can utilize in their classrooms for a variety of lessons. This subsection of the “Library of Congress” allows users to sort through a collection of digitized American newspapers from as early as 1789 to as late as 1963 with many ways to filter results. While the time limitations do restrict the user from exploring aspects of history outside of America during 1789-1963, the website nonetheless provides excellent value in allowing students to analyze primary source documents when utilized correctly.

One idea I have for using this tool is a lesson for a beginning portion in a Korean War unit. Known as the “Forgotten War”, students would utilized primary source documents to determine how the general public interacted with and perceived the conflict. Due to the large number of filters, students could see how public perception towards the conflict changed from early on in the war (using the filter to only view newspapers during the years 1950 and 1951), in the later years of the war (1952 and 1953), and the students could even discover if perception towards the war was different based on the state (using the tool to isolate certain state newspapers). Below is a screenshot of a filer setting that would look at the entirety of the war, including the aftermath with the year after the war included, of the entire nation (did not isolate the search to one state).


While this is a large endevor for any single student, I would likely pair up students into groups of three, where each group would be responsible for the three following activities:

  1. Examine public perception towards the Korean War in the early stages of the conflict (1950 and 1951). Use at least four newspaper articles for your analysis of the nation’s perception of the war as a whole, and individual states’ views of the war (choose at least two different states).
  2. Examine public perception towards the Korean War in the later stages of the conflict (1952 and 1953[before 28JUL1953]). Use at least four newspaper articles for your analysis of the nation’s perception of the war as a whole, and individual states’ views of the war (choose at least two different states).
  3. Examine public perception towards the Korean War following the conflict (28JUL1953 and later). Use at least four newspaper articles for your analysis of the nation’s perception of the war as a whole, and individual states’ views of the war (choose at least two different states).

Such an activity would allow students to have greater interaction with primary sources all in an effort to learn about a topic unfamiliar to the general American public. In addition, this activity would allow the students to become the historians and put the learning in their hands.

Political Cartoons of the American Revolution

Essential Question: To what extent are political cartoons an effective means to promote a political position or ideal?

This lesson is designed to help students understand how to break down the symbolism, deeper meaning, and most importantly perspective of a political cartoon using the American Revolution as the context. The students will be guided through six political cartoons from both Patriot and Loyalist perspectives during the American Revolution, and will attempt to distinguish the importance or meaning of (already identified and pointed out) symbolism along with how that influences their opinion on what the author’s perspective might be. Without structure and guidance from the instructor, however, the images might be too challenging for students to analyze, which is why it is important to point out important symbolism/meaning in the image and have students think critically on how to interpret a deeper meaning from the cartoons.

(I had a plan for verbally walking through the images, but for this post I will transcribe what I planned on explaining verbally into a written paragraph for each image ASAP!)