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  • Lesson Six

    There are so many choices students have at this site. Key word: CREATE! Though we didn’t have as much time to incorporate its use, I certainly hope to do so next year. Our students are mostly made up of seniors who are using their time for credit recovery.  They work independently, and although I hold small group workshops, I was not able to get this one worked into the agenda. With their deadlines and the state testing, it may have toppled some houses…

    I did get a few to dance a bit. Biggest complaint was the password. It was nothing remotely easy to remember. One student liked the mnemonic challenge, but most became frustrated. It will be something to play with to help them next year. This will be wonderful to combine with performance-based assessments.

  • The Digital Vault is sweet. My kids had so much fun and looked up extra information on so many topics. It was an easy opening to many parts of history. I wish it spread back further and covered World History. I let them play for a half an hour, checking out the different sections and how they connect. We talked about JFK's assassination, Charles Sims' Medal of Honor, and Abraham Lincoln. Then we played with the movie and poster settings. I didn't make it into an assignment because I hadn't prepped enough for it or made a rubric. I will later in the year. It opened their eyes to lots of history that would have otherwise been dry. I'm going to use this resource in the future and I shared it with other teachers. 

  • We are at the end of a quarter and just about to start our spring break, so I did not have time to try this with kids, but I will definitely do this next year.  I had a great time playing with the documents and creating all sorts of projects.  The first thing that struck me about the site was how friendly it would be for students who are overwhelmed by a lot of written language.  I work with lots of students with significant learning disabilities (often related to language processing) and students who are English language learners and are often put off by the necessary reading in a Social Studies class.  This site allows them to engage with history with minimal language processing and strong visual cues to guide them.  The first way I thought of using the site was as an activity for Veterans Day.  Our school tries to do everything we can to engage students in reflections about the service and sacrifice of veterans and creating a poster/movie on this site is a great way to do it.  This is the example I made to show the kids next year…



    I also made a movie based on one of the themes of geography, “movement.”  It would also be fun to have my students create movies based on the different themes of geography and using primary sources to illustrate the ideas of place, region, location, and human-environment interaction.  I agree with Lisa, that iMovie is a better option for movies in general, but sometimes when I limit their choices I can get through a project faster if I am pressed for time.



  • I found the digital vaults to be extremely easy to use and fun to play around with.  Unfortunately, I am not with students at this time, but I do have the opportunity to work with new teachers and pre-service teachers.  I think this is great idea to share on new and innovative approaches to curriculum instruction. I had a no experience with Digital Vaults previously, but I have worked with Garageband Podcasts which are very similar.  I can see having the students create their own, because I had them create immigration group podcasts and these digital vaults have all the resources in a single location making it much less of the management fiasco.  My students have always loved making movies (Imovie) or podcasts for presentations.  This just adds one more venue for presentation possibilities.


    I chose to focus on Space exploration for my poster.  I chose the space race because it ties the astronomy unit with the social studies curriculum and I thought it would be great demonstration for student teachers.



    I switched to WWII for the movie.  I thought it would be a great introduction to when the United States declares war on Japan and its allies.



  • My students start Spring Break in about an hour, and since they had a test and an essay this week, I chose not to do a Digital Vaults activity with them this week, but may have them work with it following Spring Break, so I may add an update to this post.

    I had a little experience with Digital Vaults from a prior class, but it's been awhile so I enjoyed playing around with it again.  I chose to focus on the Vietnam War because one of the photos that came up was the iconic photo of a young soldier ("A young Marine waiting" 1965) that I used to use in my U.S. Government class when I talked about the 26th Amendment.  Because of that photo, I focused the poster I created on that photo and the 26th Amendment.  As a teacher, Digital Vaults posters can be helpful to introduce a topic - I could send it out to students or post it on my Moodle site (the Anchorage School District's online course container) to prepare them for a topic discussion or related assignment in class.  Because of the simplicity of the poster-maker, I probably would not have my students create a Digital Vaults poster as an assignment.

    The 26th Amendment Digital Vaults Poster

    Because I love themes, I decided to stick with that soldier's photo and create a video on soldiers of the Vietnam War.  I don't think that I would have my students use the Digital Vaults movie creator to create a video, because I am much happier with the choices they are able to make with iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or VideoPad.  I thought that the Digital Vaults program was pretty simple to use, but did not have enough choices on text and including images from outside of the Digital Vaults container.

    Soldiers of the Vietnam War Digital Vaults Movie

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