“Survival Kit” MOOC Unit 4 Challenge

The next challenge in the MOOC is to create a “teacher survival kit” in case something were to come up and the students need to continue learning but the regular plan is not possible for whatever reason. I used Padlet to design this survival kit for US Government. I focused on collecting resources that would be applicable to most if not all of the course and are delivered in varied formats (text, games, podcasts, videos). For each of the resources, I designed a different learning activity that could be accomplished during the class period; I also varied the formats of those activities. The thought being, this survival kit is then flexible and practical. The link to it could easily be posted on our classroom LMS or a short link to it could be on the emergency lesson plan and then written on the board for the students to easily access.Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 10.09.13 AM.png

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New interactives from the Library of Congress!

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 1.51.05 PMI love being able to teach with interactives and simulations. They give students a new way to explore material and help it “stick.” Today the Library of Congress announced  three new interactive projects funded by LOC grants and they look really cool! Eagle Eye Citizen is for middle and high school students focusing on US History, civics and government and promotes civic understanding and historical thinking skills. Engaging Congress has several game-based interactives looking at representative government, and KidCitizen allows K-5 learners to explore history. All three interactive programs utilize primary sources from the Library of Congress. Love it!

I miss teaching about the US Supreme Court

Last spring, after 21 years at Totino-Grace High School,  I decided it was time to make a change in primary employment. I now drive across the Twin Cities every day and work with the Upper School faculty at Breck School as an Academic Technology Coordinator. The position is evolving, and I enjoy working with faculty on ways to leverage technology to support teaching and learning and designing quality research-informed learning activities for any classroom. That being said, I do miss teaching about the US Supreme Court. I must miss it a lot as I am waking up my blog after years of dormancy, and offer the following.

 

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If you’re ever in Washington DC, I cannot strongly enough encourage you to check out the US Supreme Court, located just East of the Capitol building. Oral arguments and decisions are open to the public, and even the open self-guided walking tour is impressive. Until the opportunity to visit presents itself, here is a quality short background piece from CNN on the US Supreme Court, this Crash Course walks through the Supreme Court procedures.  As there are only 9 sitting justices, I often found that students would be intrigued when they could hear the justices speak and share their stories. With that in mind, here are two playlists, one from YouTube and one mostly from C-SPAN,  with collections of videos showcasing available interviews with or talks by the sitting justices.

 

Spicing Up Note Taking….With Google Drive!

Yes, a computer can be used as a replacement of paper and pencil for taking notes, but I would love to see a regular piece of paper do what we did in class for the past couple of days (and as quickly)!

Yesterday my Constitutional and Criminal Law class started to delve into the 5th Amendment. As we “unpacked” the amendment (thank you for the help, Teaching Civics/Civically Speaking and the Minnesota Center for Community Legal Education – both have great civics resources), my students took notes on a Google doc. After we discussed “indictment,” they learned about the news search feature on Google and they found two news articles involving indictments, added the links into their notes, wrote a brief summary of each story and then shared their findings with a neighbor. We repeated the process with the term grand jury.

Today I wanted the students to further explore details about a grand jury. Using some of the content from long ago and a source that I can no longer find online, I created this Google Doc with fact sorting and photo identification activities for my students to complete. They added the content from this activity to their notes page from yesterday’s class. The categorizing of bullet points was impressively effective at generating thought and discussion (I will certainly use that strategy again in the future), and the photo exercise went so well I am trying to find other places the concept could be used.

A great day in the classroom. Cheers!