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Showing posts from February, 2016

The Work of Historians: Biographical Line Graph

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Biographical line graphs put students in the role of historical biographers. The critical thinking and reasoning needed to justify and debate decisions make these graphs one of the most powerful activities we do in US History.
The topic for this line graph is Andrew Jackson. I selected 7 life events and gave students the task of combing through previously analyzed documents and readings to write highlights and low lights of the events.

Students created line graphs based on their notes. The graph's range was from -6 to +6 and reflects both positive and negative life events. When line graphs were complete each student needed to prepare for a graph justification discussion.


This discussion is powerful both academically and social-emotionally. Students are doing the work of historians when they present and discuss their findings. One needs only to search major historical people and events to discover complimentary and disparaging works on the same subject--the difference may be due s…

Preparing Students for the Real World?

I am not the only educator in my extended family and get-togethers invariably turn into opportunities to talk about education. One of my cousins is an Assistant Professor in a health field at a university about one hour away from me and I greatly enjoy discussing our profession with him.
K-12 educators like myself often justify what we do in the classroom because we hope it will “help our students in college and in the real world”—talking to my cousin lets me know if I’m on the right track, even though I would theoretically teach students years before he would. Our conversations lately have centered on the need for student-led and student-generated assignments. I began Genius Hour in Effective Teens last year (I will be giving students the opportunity to complete a modified US History student-led project this year, as well) and shared with him the tremendous benefits I’ve seen when my 8th Graders are in charge of their learning. Genius Hour is the antithesis of telling students “the …