Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Ideas on Historical Thinking and Technology

I just watched some videos from the Post-Curriculum Day on October 13th that I missed due to my knee surgery and was blown away! My underlying goal to teaching all my social studies curriculum is to get my students to see both sides or perspectives of an event/time in history AND to get them to ask more questions and think more critically about what they think they already know.  I want to tie this into my project lesson plans.  I watched the Historical Thinking Matters video and it was exactly up my alley!  It compared common well known thinking about the Battle of Lexington against primary source documents and showed how a historian might ask questions to compare the differing information.  I teach 5th grade and the content is more high school but I think I would still show it to my 5th graders because it demonstrates the concept so well but tell them not to stress over some of the terms. Here is the link in case you missed this in class:

I also watched some videos on Common Craft style videos and how a 8th grade teacher had his students create their own paper style videos to demonstrate a history term/event and they were amazing!  I could see my 5th grade students loving this too.  I listened to the teacher's podcast of exactly how it did this lesson(s) and started brainstorming of how I could modify it for 5th grade.  This teacher's blog has links to the podcasts, the students' finished videos on youtube and photos of how he set up the shooting.  I am now toying with the idea of merging these two ideas for my project.  Maybe create a Common Craft style video on three/four well known events such as the Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre and the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  In their say 2-3 minute video they would show first what is widely thought/known about the event and then show images/pictures of primary source documents that show something different and end the video with a "You Decide" type message?  The links below show both what Common Craft Videos are and the 8th grade teacher's blog with student examples.  This is so exciting...I am still in the euphoria stage.  I need to step back and start looking at nuts & bolts of can I pull this off?  Will this be effective and rewarding for my students? Can I modify well enough for 5th grade students?

Monday, November 8, 2010

How to use FlipVideo and Photos of Summer Institute

Still trying to decide if I can use all the FlipVideo footage and photographs I have of all
of our field trips during this summer's institute!  I am having trouble locating lesson plan(s) that fit in with my videos of our military training or Freedom Trail walks or even the battlefields of Concord/Lexington.  A lot of great lesson plans from Heritage Museum and Mass Historical Society are Middle School or High School and can be adapted.   Another planning issue I am running into if that we don't cover the American Revolution until January so how do I document the students doing the lesson now?  We are currently working on PowerPoint presentations of Explorers and in December/January complete our unit on Colonial life and what led us up to the Revolution.

Some lesson plans I am considering are the National Heritage Museum's lesson on:

Taxation and the French and Indian War I think I can incorporate more primary source documents into the lesson and extend the scope to include another day(s) but still thinking how to incorporate technology into this lesson,

Another lesson I am considering is from the Mass Historical Society are

Johnny Tremain and the Members of the Long-Room Club : I like this lesson(s) idea because I can do this with my higher reading level guiding reading group and have them read Johnny Tremain and then research each of the members of the Long Room and have the students create a Video/Movie about their member and teach in their video what is a primary source and how they used them in their research. I could then use their movie as part of the social studies unit when we get to it in January/February.

The other MHS lesson I am considering is

From Tea to Shining Sea: A Primary Document-Based Unit on the Boston Tea Party: This is a high school lesson and would needs lot of modifications to meet the needs of my 5th graders but it does involve many primary source documents and it is one of the events leading up to the Revolution. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Was It Really Like to Be a Revolutionary Soldier?

See this video by clicking on the box at the top right hand side of the Home Page:

Making Freedom 2010 Summer Elementary Institute: featuring Jim Hollister, Park Ranger, Minute Man National Historical Park, August 19, 2010

This is a small portion (@3 minutes) gives details on what the ordinary rank & file soldier life was like when marching or training.