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Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Collaborative, On-going Writing Project

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In my last post I briefly mentioned a collaborative project that my Global Studies students are working on. As promised, here's the follow-up to that post.

Last week marked the start of a new semester at my school. For me that meant the start of a new Global Studies course that I'm really excited about guiding my students through. (I refrained from saying "teaching" because as this course focuses on current events around the globe, we're learning together). Just as the new semester began, almost as if on que, the demonstrations began in Egypt. So I developed the first project of the semester around studying what is happening in Egypt.

The Project
The first project of the new semester is to work in groups of four to create an interactive booklet about Egypt. My students are using Google Docs Presentation to create their booklets. We're using Google Docs Presentation because it offers the option to embed videos which isn't an option if you're just making a standard document in Google Docs. All of the students in each group are collaborators on the project. I'm also a collaborator on each project so that I can see what they're doing and suggest edits as needed. Students are using text, images, and videos to tell the story of what is happening in Egypt right now.

Each group is responsible for including in their projects; background information about Egypt's history from the 20th Century through today, cultural information, details on the causes of the current demonstrations, and global responses to the current events. The students also have to form predictions as to what will happen over the next few weeks. The great thing about this project is that predictions will continue to change as more events unfold and more information becomes available. When we're done, I'll be sure to link the projects to this post.


Spelling - vocabulary challenge and extension for able students
Word clouds

A Lesson in Propaganda Through Protests in Egypt

I have to credit one of the students (Brandon) in my Global Studies class for finding this video today. We had our fourth class meeting today and as I do at the beginning of most courses I teach, we've been talking about identifying bias and propaganda in the media. We've been doing this through the context of the current events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. Today, during a part of class when the students were working on a collaborative assignment (more on that in my

Applications for Education
If you're planning to teach a lesson on propaganda, through this video students can see and hear of real-life uses of propaganda being used to influence a population's perception of events.

You might also like:

The Art of Storytelling - Hear a Story, Tell a Story

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The Art of Storytelling is a website hosted by the Delaware Museum of Art. On The Art of Storytelling visitors can listen to stories and read stories based on works of art. Visitors can also create their own stories. To create a story visitors select a work of art then type a story or record an audio through their computers' microphones. Visitors can also build stories after creating their own simple works of art using drag-and-drop menus. Either way that they're made, stories can be shared on the Art of Storytelling website.

Thanks to Kristen Swanson for sharing this excellent resource.

Applications for Education
The Art of Storytelling could be a good resource for art teachers and writing teachers. Students can record critiques of art works on the site. Students can also use the site as inspiration for creating short stories.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Documenting the American South
Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Source Research
Picturing America - Teaching History With Art


Videos and Mobile Apps from the National Archives

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The US National Archives is an all around good resource for history teachers to have bookmarked. I've written about some of their services in the past (here and here) and today I'd like to point out a couple of their other offerings. The National Archives's YouTube channel offers twenty playlists of archival footage covering everything from the Great Depression to WWII to NASA's space exploration to the Olympics and much more. I've included a video of short film from 1935 documenting the work of the TVA.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to work in schools that are encouraging students to use their iPhones, iPads, and Android devices for learning, the National Archives has free apps you might want to consider using. The Today's Document mobile app from the US National Archives is an interactive gallery of 365 documents and images from the National Archives. These are the same documents and images that are included in the Today's Document RSS feed. With the mobile app you can select any day of the year to find out what significant things happened in US History on that day. You can also select "random" to have a random document or image appear. The mobile app provides the same background information that you can find online.