Showing posts from September, 2016

Student Blackout Poems

These three poems are a sampling of the creative thinking produced after reading a portion of an article illustrating the importance of learning History:

Student Video Reflections

I'm grading the blackout poem video reflections and definitely feel these should be incorporated into more classrooms' grading procedures! Some insights:
Students are (for the most part) quite comfortable taking video of themselves. I thought they might be self-conscious but that's not the case (I must be thinking about my generation, not theirs!). Young people have little to no trouble formulating their thoughts in front of a camera and should be asked to do this more often.Video reflections are an excellent way to quickly get to know students and match names to faces. Most secondary teachers have well over 100 students--the sooner we get to know them, the better for our classroom community.The insights they have on camera  just may be more powerful than if they were asked to write. I sense a maturity and ownership of their thoughts while I'm viewing these reflections, as well.The answers to the questions I have requested are short, typically under 30 seconds, which m…

The Benefits of Blackout Poetry

Students completed blackout poems this week on portion of an article about the importance of studying History. I learned as much as the students did! This is an excellent, challenging activity for all students and wanted to pass along some tips I learned in case it can help you. (I posted this article for my students on Schoology--the steps are really useful.) I've learned: listing the words on a scrap sheet of paper (step 3) really is critical--we skipped this step and ended up going back to do it (I'm requiring it to be turned in from now on as part of the completed poem.) It was eye-opening for students to see their words out of the text and they could much more easily pick different words/thoughts.if students are struggling I suggested having them start with a main word (like History) and then count every 7th word to see if that string of words could make a complete thought/statement…

Trying Something New...Blackout Poems

Student Historians will think about why we study History today and complete a blackout poem. Students read a portion of an article on studying History yesterday and I explained the concept of a blackout poem. Some students have experience with writing them, many (including myself!) have never written one before. I am very excited to see the creations these students will produce! 
There is nothing better than to experience the processing, learning, and thinking that unfolds in our classroom when students are challenged to be creative. Watch this space for finished masterpieces!

September 1st Reflections

My first week back to school each year centers on two days of district-wide professional development. I truly enjoy learning and growing and it's crucial for me to take the time to process what I've learned. I'm writing this year's reflection here so that I can make my learning visible to others. (I am, of course, assuming someone reads these posts!)
My biggest takeaway centers on deepening learning, the central theme of the sessions (and our school year). I am always humbled listening to my colleagues--as much as I pride myself on cultivating deep learning in my classroom I realize I still have more to accomplish. I will add Socrative Seminars to my list of activities and I will delve deeper into Advanced Placement History concepts (not to mimic AP classes but rather use more strategies so that my students will be familiar with it should they decide to take them in High School). My students complete many reflections on their work throughout the year but I've neve…