Showing posts from April, 2011

If You Were in My Classroom Yesterday, This is What You Would Have Seen

I had the opportunity to have education professionals from all over the country visit my classroom through the Blueprint for Educational Excellence National Institute yesterday morning.  The conference is sponsored in part and run in part by the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence organization. Conference attendees who arrived from around the country were touring our school, Reading Memorial High School , to check out our teaching practice and technology integration.  I had visitors in an out of my classroom all morning.  The students, teenagers who LOVE to show off, were their animated, out spoken, fun loving selves in front of our guests.  (I'm sure the fact that those morning classes were the last in-school hours they would spend before a nice week long April Vacation was a factor in their restlessness.)  Teachers, administrators, and education leaders from as far away as Houston, Texas were walking in and out of my classroom at about 10 minute intervals. What Did They See?

Turning History Students into Detectives

How can I turn my history students into detectives? One of the most valuable skills we can teach our history students is to use evidence from the past to develop their own opinions about historical events.  One popular program that many high schools use is the DBQ Project .  Students use textual and visual primary and secondary scholarly sources to answer a question.  For example, my sophomores recently had a class debate based in the evidence from the DBQ entitled " North or South: Who Killed Reconstruction? " Essentially, students use evidence from experts and first-hand witnesses to solve problems, just like a detective would.  The program has a fabulous reputation and student essays that result are well-thought-out and evidence-based.  Unfortunately, one small pitfall of the program is that it requires a lot of paper and not much technology. Why not combine technology with historical evidence analysis? I found a great website that enables student to do the same kind o