Class 14: Proofing Our DBQs

Exploring history-2
This is the final activity in our DBQ design project. It began with exploring historic thinking skills and ends with students designing their own DBQs for inclusion in a class published iBook.

During the last few classes we have had 45 min sessions in the Mac lab (only a few students have their own Macs with iBooks Author). Students have arrived with their prewritten text, source material, images and YouTube video links. They used a total of about 2 hours of lab time to complete rough drafts their chapters. They shared their chapter files with me and following class, I compiled their chapters into a single iBook. Link to a PDF version 27MB pdf.

I’ve arranged to have the iBooks draft file loaded on to iPads for the students to use. In Class 14 we will proof and peer review our chapters and take one last trip to the Mac lab to use iBooks Author to do a final version. After the final edits, I’ll upload to iTunes. Net result – a student publication in just a few hours of lab time (with all research and writing done in advance)

Update Exploring History: Vol II is now available free at iTunes

Exploring historyii

Class 13: Working with iBooks Author

History of the Bassandyne BibleThis week we will wrap up our first drafts of our DBQs for inclusion into our collaborative iBook. During the first 2/3s of class students will finalize their content and be sure to have their DBQ reflection written. Then in the last 1/3 of class we will transfer content to iBooks.

Technical aspects
The iBooks will be designed using iBooks Author in the Mac lab. Students will bring digital versions of their DBQs to the lab – including all image and sound files, text files, citations and URLs. Here’s a quick guide to managing your files to get ready for iBooks Author: 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

Image credit: Image from page 94 of “History of the Bassandyne Bible, the first printed in Scotland with notices of the early printers of Edinburgh” (1887) William T Dobson,

Class 12: Role Playing Competing Visions of Human Rights

human rights day  Catching.LightStudents introduced to the Choices Program. The program’s curriculum units draw upon multiple primary source documents and culminate in a rigorous student-centered role-playing activity. Students will take part in a Choices lesson entitled Human Rights: Competing Visions of Human Rights – Questions for U.S. Policy. Working cooperatively, students will examine the evolving role that human rights has played in international politics and explore the current debate on U.S. human rights policy.

The goal of this class is to experience the role-play as teaching method. Students will be introduced to (and receive) a hands-on curriculum that uses primary sources, case studies, videos, and role-play simulations to engage students in an exploration of the concept of human rights and the challenges of international enforcement. The curriculum also introduces students to various human rights actors, and examines the current debate on U.S. human rights policy. Emphasis is placed on helping students develop the skills and habits needed for active citizenship.

The lesson was delivered by guest teacher – Tim Graham. Tim is currently a teacher at Cleveland High School in Portland, OR. He has taught social studies for 11 years in the Portland Public Schools district, working at Roosevelt, Benson, and Franklin high schools in addition to his current placement at Cleveland. He has attended teaching seminars with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. He is currently a Choices Teaching Fellow. Tim maintains two class blogs – Modern World History and IB HOTA.

Assignment due Nov 23

Write a reflection on your experience with the DBQ design assignment.

  1. It should be posted on this blog by Sunday 11/23.
  2. Include an image to make it pretty.
  3. Note that you are not posting your DBQ, but what you learned from your work on it.

What did you learn from the experience of trying to design a DBQ?
Here’s some prompts you might consider (but you don’t have to answer them all):

  • what was your goal? was it achieved why or why not?
  • how it might be used in class?
  • value (or lack of value) as a learning experience.
  • challenges, successes, lessons learned.
  • how you’d approach it differently the next time.
  • ways to improve or replace the assignment.

Image credit: Flickr / “human rights day”  by Catching.Light

Class 11: Using Mock Trials in the Classroom

George CoulsonI’m a big fan of using mock trials – they embody critical thinking in the classroom. Over the years I wrote a number of cases which proved to be effective tools for improving student analytic skills and Common Core skills. Here’s a few posts from my blog on using them in the classroom and a link to two mock trials and an appeals case that I developed.

This week we will be visited by Ms. Barbara Rost, program director, Classroom Law Project. She’ll provide resources for law related education. (Be sure to follow that link – loads of lesson plans!)

As a demonstration activity, she will guide us through a mock trial –Vickers v Hearst (443kb PDF) Rules of evidence here.

Barbara graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Portland State University after using the 11-year plan to earn her degree, something she does not advocate for others. Three years later she earned her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School. She enjoys combining her interests in law and education in her work at Classroom Law Project. She is married, has two daughters in college and a really cute dog.

Classroom Law Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing civics, government and law to Oregon classrooms K-12. Teachers and students know CLP through programs such as mock trial, con team, Law Day conference (for students), Civics Conference for Teachers, court tours, weekly current events, professional development and more. CLP makes civic education fun. Its mission statement: Classroom Law Project is a non-profit organization of individuals, educators, lawyers, and civic leaders building strong communities by teaching students to become active citizens.

Image credit: George Coulson / Mug Shot / 1930s
This image is part of the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum’s set “Newcastle upon Tyne criminals of the 1930’s.” Accession no. DX1190

This mug shot comes from a police identification book believed to be from the 1930s. It was originally found in a junk shop by a member of the public and subsequently donated to Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. No information is available to confirm which police force compiled it but evidence suggests it’s from the Newcastle upon Tyne area.

Class 10: Hosting #sschat / Get Started with iBooks Author

page 288 of Baltimore and Ohio employees magazineWe’re very proud that our EdMethods class has been selected to host #sschat on the Twitters – Nov 3, 2014 4-5 PM (Pacific) That night is election eve ’14 and our topic will be very timely – “Teaching Politics, Controversy and Civic Engagement.” For more on our chat questions click here.

After the Twitter chat raps up, we’ll spend some time debriefing on the experience.

Class DBQ iBook
Next up, we’ll get started with our iBooks Author training. Over the next few weeks we will use our DBQ projects to create a collaborative iBook. As a group, the class will review each other’s work before inclusion in the iBook collection of DBQs. Each student (or team) will contribute one DBQ in the form of a book chapter. It will include the project reflection as a way of introducing the DBQ.

Technical aspects
The iBooks will be designed using iBooks Author in the Mac lab. Students will bring digital versions of their DBQs to the lab – including all image and sound files, text files, citations and URLs. Here’s a quick guide to managing your files to get ready for iBooks Author: Get Started with IBA

Note: YouTube videos will be added to the iBooks using ibooksgenerator. All you need to have is the URL of the video.

For more see:


Next week we will have a visitor from the Classroom Law Project who will share law-related educational resources and guide us through a mock trial activity.

  • We will argue the case of Vickers v Hearst (443kb PDF) so be sure to read the case in advance.
  • To “learn the rules” read this guide Mock Trial Rules of Evidence (185kb PDF).
  • If you have never participated in a mock trial you may wish to look at this material that explains the various roles of attorney and witness  The People v Carter (2.4mb PDF)

Image credit: page 288 of “Baltimore and Ohio Railroad employees magazine” (1912)

Identifier: baltimoreohioemp01balt
Title: Baltimore and Ohio employees magazine
Year: 1912 (1910s)

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 9: Work Session

palmer-riveting-team-webThis week we take a break from introducing new content and take an opportunity to give careful consideration to our DBQ design project. Students will have the opportunity to comment on each others blog posts to give suggestions and feedback. I will take time to meet with each student individually to discuss their project. We will also put finishing touches on next week’s class where we will be guest hosts of #sschat on Twitter.

Students will open an account at Learnist in class on 10/27 and use the site to post their working draft DBQ.
Due date: Nov 3rd.

Learnist is a web-based curation site with built in social media tools – it can collect and comment on videos, blogs, books, docs, images or anything on the web. (Think Pinterest for education?)

Your Learnist board should be tightly focused on documents that help students answer the DBQ’s generative question. Each document should include one or two scaffolding questions which help the student to use the documents to answer the DBQ’s generative question.

For a sample of a Learnist board Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII
YouTube Tutorials – Using Learnist

Your peers will be able to make comments after each document on your Learnist board to help you focus the DBQ. Since Learnist is open to the public, you can expect that others outside our class may comment as well. Later we will use your Learnist as part of your guest post on Copy / Paste – example

Image credit:

A man and woman riveting team working on the cockpit shell of a C-47 aircraft at the plant of North American Aviation
Photographer Alfred Palmer
Library of Congress LC-DIG-fsac-1a35284