Teaching Politics, Controversy, Engagement – #sschat 11/3/14

sschat-promo@EdMethods and @edteck are proud to be guest hosts for Twitter #sschat on Monday November 3, 2014 from 7-8 PM (eastern). That night is election eve ’14 and our topic will be very timely –  “Teaching Politics, Controversy and Civic Engagement.” Here’s our questions:

Q1: What are student attitudes about politics and government – engagement, distain or indifference?
Q2: How do you create a safe classroom climate to address hot-button political and social issues?
Q3: How should teachers deal with their personal opinions when teaching politics and controversial issues – teach, preach, abstain?
Q4: How can we help students be critical consumers of political news and opinion?
Q5: What resources / ideas can you recommend for teaching politics and fostering civic engagement?
Q6: (Channel your inner Nate Silver) Do you have a prediction to make about a hot 2014 election or ballot initiative?

We take social media seriously at EdMethods. It’s an essential element of the course. Be watching for our tweets:

Kari Vankommer  @MissKVK
Christy Thomas  @crthomas478
Emily Strocher  @emilystrocher
Andy Saxton  @MrAndySaxton
Erik Nelson @ENelsonEdu
Michelle Murphy  @michelleqmurphy
Kristi McKenzi  @tiannemckenzie
Sam Kimerling  @kimerlin171
Scott Deal  @SLDeal15
Jenna Bunnell  @jennamarie0927
Ceci Brunning  @csquared93

Class 5: Historical Thinking Part II / Twitter #sschat

Across the continentThis class leads off with a live demo of the #sschat on Twitter (Mondays 4-5 PM Pacific). Chats are archived here.

Will use the event to begin a discussion of using Twitter to build a personal learning network (PLN). Students that have not already done so , will be asked to create Twitter accounts. More on Twitter hashtags here.

Next, we will turn our attention back to our exploration of teaching strategies for developing historical thinking skills. We will deconstruct The Battle of the Little Bighorn Lesson Plan from the Stanford History Education Group’s Reading Like A Historian and how it’s designed to teaching skills in Sourcing, Contextualizing and Corroborating. Keeping with our “western theme” we will take some time to develop lesson ideas for using “Across the Continent” an 1868 Currier & Ives print drawn by Frances Flora Palmer. [Above]

Finally we will turn do some peer editing of our shared Google presentation of collecting student-designed mini-lesson based on the Beyond the Bubble assessment model. Assignment | Product

Assignment for Class 6 – Shared Google presentation should be done by bed time 9/24. Blog post due by next class.

  1. Take the peer feedback and do a final version of your mini-lesson.
  2. Write a brief reflection on the process – it could include your take on historic thinking, the specific lesson model borrowed from SHEG, working with a shared Google presentation, peer review process, etc.
  3. Take all the content of your lesson plus the reflection and post it to our blog as your second authored post.

Reading assignment: Snapshot of a modern learner in SmartBlog on Education

Image credit: “Across the Continent” 1868 Currier & Ives print drawn by Frances Flora Palmer  Newberry Library


Class 4: Historical Thinking

Phrenology-signs of characterOur class begins with a review of the Sam Wineburg reading and TEDEd flipped lesson Who is the historian in your classroom? That will also provide a chance to discuss the efficacy of flipping content. We will also consider the social media case study inspired by this lesson.

Today we begin our study of historical thinking skills based on the work of Sam Wineburg and the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG). We will focus on three key skills – Sourcing, Contextualizing and Corroborating. See historical thinking chart (pdf at SHEG).

You will work with a team to reverse engineer a few of the assessments found in SHEG’s Beyond the Bubble.

  • Spend a few minutes doing a scan of the lessons – and find a few that look interesting to you. (Be sure scan the “Same assessment types” for other ideas)
  • Find 3 questions that focus on any of these skills: Sourcing, Contextualizing and Corroborating
  • With your team diagram how the assessments are designed:
    How many historic sources, what types.
    What additional information are students given?
    How many prompts?
    What are students asked to do?
    How is the assessment designed to support the skills
  • Be prepared to share your finding with the whole class.

We will also look at How to Read Documentary Films  a lesson that I recently developed for the Uprooted Museum Exhibit.

Assignment for Class 5

You will each design a historical thinking mini-lesson based on the Beyond the Bubble assessment model.

We will use this assignment as a chance to create a shared Google presentation. I’ve prepared some brief Google Presentation video tutorials. You can find them at this YouTube playlist / Working with Google Slides.

Note: each of you will be contributing to the same Google Slides presentation. I’ve listed your names in alphabetical order in the presentation. You will turn that name placeholder slide into your mini-lesson title slide. You will insert additional slides in your section of the presentation as needed.

All mini lessons should include

  1. Title slide for your mini-lesson. Make it catchy!
  2. Your name as author of the mini-lesson on your lesson title (your lesson will take multiple slides in the presentation – have your name in small font at bottom of each slide)
  3. Target students – by grade level
  4. Indication of one (or more) of the historic skills to be studied – Sourcing, Contextualization, Corroborating
  5. One or more historic documents. Text, image and videos can be inserted into the slide. Longer documents can be linked to via URL or saved in Google drive with link to it.
  6. Source URLs for all documents used
  7. Guiding questions for students to use with document(s)
  8. Brief description of how the document(s) and question(s) should reinforce the targeted historic skill(s)

My recommended sources for this assignment are the Primary Source Sets found at the US Library of Congress. These sets are organized by theme and include a wide variety of source types. Here’s a few examples of the sets:

Baseball: Across a Divided Society
Song sheets, video clips, images, trading cards, and photographs tell the story of how baseball emerged as the American national pastime. Featured primary source items show Americans from different backgrounds and social experiences embracing the sport.

Maps From The World Digital Library
Explore maps from different cultures and eras to discover diverse perspectives on the world’s geography. All the items in this set are from the World Digital Library, a project that makes available significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

Women’s Suffrage
Sound files, sheet music, photographs, letters and maps help students better understand women’s suffrage

You may also wish to take a look at Teacher’s Guides and Analysis Tool that offer questions for each type of source material.

Image from S. Wells,
New Physiognomy, or Signs of Character…, NY, 1871

Class 2: Designing Lessons / Social Media Audits

Three key elements of student engagement
This week we consider two very different themes – social media and instructional design. The class begins by addressing key elements of lesson design :

  1. Higher-order thinking
  2. Student choice and reflection
  3. Effective classroom strategies

This  portion of the class lesson includes three major elements:

  • Practical examples of Bloom’s taxonomy in the form of sample exercises and questions. They are used to anchor a conversation on Bloom in action.
  • How student choice can impact key lesson elements – content, process, product, evaluation.
  • Demonstrate a student-centered approach to a teacher presentation as a way to foster reflection (instead of listening to a straight lecture on the subject)

The lesson is driven by a Keynote presentation. Handout (42MB pdf)  We will use an audience response system to gather student input. The lesson includes multiple activities that illustrate the content. Student will be led through discussing their reactions to the activities to connect them to the content. This lesson will serve as a kick off to their first assignment to write and share a Lesson Study.

key lesson components

In the second half of the class we’ll meet in small groups to share our personal social media audits. We’ll be focusing on rolling out our new Google+ Community and learning how to use some it’s features. It’s a private group and will serve as an extension of classroom discussion through posts, comments, and Hangouts.

Assigned Readings for Class 3: None

Written assignment for Class 3:

Lesson Study I is due next week.

The goal of this assignment is two-fold. First to offer supportive feedback on your lesson development through a peer review process. Second to offer some “lenses to look through” that help you easily see the essentials of a lesson. It is not a substitute for the School of Education lesson plan format. Think of it as a pre-lesson plan planning guide. This is not some exercise for the benefit of your instructor. This should be a process that works for you. So feel free to modify to meet your particulars. Use a scale that works for you – focus on just a small segment of a larger unit, or look at the entire unit. Don’t like Bloom? Use another schema to discuss the kinds of thinking that your students will need to successfully complete the assignment. Assignment here. (383 KB pdf) Sample lesson study (378 KB pdf)

See results of this assignment in the first student posts