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  • We recently used research for Math. Our chapter covered unit rate and population density. Students took their computers and, in pairs, found the population and size of India, China, United States, Japan, Tununak and Greece. The first site to always pop up in a search is Wikipedia. It helped reinforce the importance of the site we draw from for resources. CIA, Worldbook, and a couple reputable destinations were acceptable. The lesson went well because we were able to cross over into other classes with ease. 

  • Teaching seventh graders often challenges me to try to define the research process to its most essential and basic steps.  Most of my students want to engage with the material, but they really don't know how to begin.  I use a variety of cooperative learning structures (my students call them games) to define a skill and then practice it over and over again in a way that does not feel like a drill.  For example, I may ask my students to write a guiding question for their research project.  They may then share with a partner to get some feedback on how they might improve the question.  Next I would give them an opportunity to share their questions in an active way with an activity called "Hand-up, Stand-up, Pair-up." (See attached document for instructions.)  I have attached the instructions.  This allows kids to hear lots of guiding questions from their peers while also moving around the room and talking (two things they love).  After a few minutes they sit down and have a chance to revise their questions again.  Another way to share and get simultaneous feedback is to have them write their questions on a large sheet of paper and then post them in the room (gallery walk).  Students walk around the room silently and offer feedback on post it notes that they affix to the question.  You have to be careful to do modeling of appropriate feedback before the gallery walk to make sure that everyone's work is respected.  I am often amazed at how seriously they take it and how much they are amused by using the post its.   

    Hand up.docx

  • When doing research I always like to emphasize to my students that each event has a cause and an effect. With this i make them do a research outline first in which they look at an overall timeline of their event or individual and see major historical events surrounding their topic. I also have them use technology as much as possible. Our school has recently invested a lot of money into IPads so I use them a lot for kids to do basic research. Recently we have been working on a Cold War webquest/website creation project. Below is the link in which the classes use to follow the procedure and some examples. 

    1. http://hut-alewis2.weebly.com/united-states-history-web-quest-assig...

    2. http://hut-alewis2.weebly.com/alaska-studies-webquest-assignment.html

    United States History Web Quest Assignment
    The 1960's and 1970's were extremely influential to our nation's history. Over the course of 20 years our nation struggled with internal and external…
  • When a student is researching a topic it helps if they understand why they need to know about the subject.  Whenever possible picking their own topic also helps. 

    Teaching kindergarten has me just touching on research.  One of the things I like to do is have students come up with all the ways there are to research a topic.  Another thing we do is send out postcards to different schools in different states to see what we can find out about the state and the school.  When we get a postcard back we put a pushpin in a US map showing where it came from with a string to the postcard.

    With upper grades I would try to make a game out of some research.  Split students into teams and see which team can find the most answers in a half hour.  Then have the teams share their answers and where they found them.  I think it is important to do research both with and without technology.

    When using technology coming up with trusted sites is very important as is teaching students how to search without getting surprise sites.

  • As an English teacher, I feel obligated to correct paragraph three: "there" should be "their." How embarrassing (human). But my OCD wouldn't let it rest;)

  • The attachments



  • Lesson 8

    Educators at the high school level are no longer “a sage on the stage, but a guide at the side.” Based on what students are into, incorporating that smartphone/iTouch/iPad as part of an activity is a great way to springboard into a lesson/project. It gives them immediate buy in. Lesson 8 is what my English department calls an observation lesson. I have recently done this in a Holocaust workshop at UAA. They posted a photo without caption and solicited comments as to what was going on. Fascinating but unexpected results. Students learn from this process!

    Aimee Young, who does fellowship studies at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC (USHMM), shared this similar lesson, and I use it in my Holocaust Lit class (see attachments for teachers and students). Now, with NARA, we have more sites to research.

    When teaching my students how to approach the writing process, I’m always looking for motivating ways to present how to create an essay/research paper. The dreaded words “Have your thesis statement by Friday” haunts many of my 11th & 12th graders. One approach I am using is to work backward. We start with a painting or photograph. Using NARA, and the poster making feature, I’m thinking according to the month, i.e., February: Black History Month, or April: National Poetry Month; students can create there “observation poster.” Then, in column one they list as many details from the poster/picture as possible. From the details in column one, they then make a column two, and make four or five general statements. From the statements, in column three, they make a conclusion. Wah-lah--- with some polishing, they design a thesis statement. From here we work backward. The four or five statements are their supporting evidence, and the details give examples for their statements.

    Also, given the rise of media frenzy (this term takes on a whole new meaning now with social networking) on the Joseph Kony Campaign, and the twisted issues of the Travon Martin-Zimmerman case, the subjects of propaganda and false reporting are the hot topics of student writing and discussion. Racial tensions are bringing us back to the Civil Rights movement and the 60’s…still researching this one, now that state testing is over.


  • Here are some research ideas I have used in class:

    Research must be personal and meaningful, for this reason I attempt to tie research to the student.  We create a book of events that have happened in the student’s life time.  They take personal pictures and events for each year of their life giving them a personal timeline.  They then add significant historical events that have happened in each year of their life with photos or graphics to go with them. The end product is a wonderful keepsake for parents as their children leave elementary school.

    Integrating technology as an option for presentation of research material is a great tool to engage students.  I have use imovie for research material students can follow a rubric for research and present it as a movie.  I have used it for health, social studies and science content-based research projects.  These can be done in small groups as individuals or partners

    My students studied immigration and created group podcasts with the research data gathered. . We studied the waves of immigration to the Ellis Island and students presented information on the different immigrant groups.

    As a fifth grade teacher we studied the 50 states through a geographical lens then Skyped with student from another state and tried to guess what state they were calling fromby asking geographical questions to pinpoint their location.



  • One of my favorite ways to start a year of World History is to have students look in to their own history.  The autobiography assignment my English team teacher and I did this year gave students the opportunity to spend time talking with their family about what their history is, where they came from, and why a particular artifact is special to their family.  We also had a tied-in assignment in which they uploaded a family recipe to tastebook.com, and got extra credit for bringing the recipe in to Back to School Night.  This activity gets students to research, since there is a historiography component, but is relevant to them because it ties in to their lives and their family.  It also gives students the opportunity to play around with making their own movies, which seems to be something students always enjoy.

    Another research project that I've been playing around with the past couple of years is infographics.  This is a great research activity because it can be adapted to many different types of content and students.  My World History students (freshmen) have worked on infographics in groups and partners, while my Honors US History students (sophomores) have primarily worked independently.  I really liked the Civil War Infographic assignment I created this year - even though my students worked on it independently, they really enjoyed it because it gave them so much freedom to create their own project.  Students chose their own photo from the Library of Congress website (but I had them do a similar project with Vietnam photos from NARA), created their own research questions, did research, and created amazing infographics that answered their questions using graphics rather than words!  The attached Revolutions infographic lesson was adapted from http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/revolt-comparing-histo....




  • OK.  I am going to start.  I have been thinking about ways to use just one document for several things.

    Photograph of Gerald R. Ford Fighting for the Tip-Off During a Bask...

    Document Analysis (for any grade, but mostly for teaching younger students the fun of analysis)

    Since part of analysis is the ability to take apart a document and look at its individual elements, it might be fun to take a photocopy of an interesting document reproduction like this one, paste it on heavy paper, cut it into little pieces, then give a group of students the pile of little pieces and let them put them together like a puzzle. I think this would work best with photos, but cartoons and maps might be great as well.

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