Monday, March 26, 2012

The Civil War Twitter Challenge

After a student pitched this amazingly awesome twitter idea to me, I decided we needed to roll with it and try it out for an assignment.  I have absolutely NO idea how this is going to turn out: it could be a total dud, or something really cool...only time will tell!

Until then, here's the task one of my classes has been given: (or check out the Google Doc HERE)

Your Goal: create and maintain a historically accurate twitter feed for the Civil War figure you’ve been assigned.

Your Task:

  • start here...find your person:
  • immerse yourself in the historical figure you’ve been assigned: everything you “tweet” should be from their perspective
  • make sure your tweets are appropriate to the time (Civil War era) and person; unless they would have said it, don’t tweet it!
  • your tweets can be about anything as long as they are “from” that person...ideas to tweet about:
    • their life
    • their role in the Civil War
    • things they like, hobbies
    • their friends and family
    • their job
  • follow the other Civil War twitter accounts...reply and comment back on things they say...remember, YOU ARE YOUR PERSON!! DON’T COME OUT OF YOUR CHARACTER!
  • send AT LEAST ONE tweet a day from your person--remember, you are pretending you are this person, so what you tweet should be from their perspective (like you are really them!)

Like I said, this could be a total wash, or a really cool we'll see how it goes! Hopefully the students will learn about their Civil War figure and really take into account their perspective and how that person saw the world--creating almost a synthesis between modern "twitter" technology and what their person was like during the Civil War.

Curious as to what these historical figures (or students!) are going to actually "say"? Check out each of their historical figures' twitter links below to see what they're talking about, or check out the twitter hashtag for this assignment. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Clementine Hunter Paintings

This past week we spent time integrating our current Civil War social studies unit with art, specifically the artistic style of Clementine Hunter.  Haven't heard of her?  Check out some info about her here.  She really is a fantastic artist, with a very childlike style.

The students, after reading and analyzing eight primary source documents written by slaves, selected one document that spoke to them.  They then used that document, as well as Clementine Hunter's style to create slave paintings.  Once again, I was so impressed with what these students came up with!  Not only did they do a phenomenal job of recreating Clementine' style, but they did a great job of making the primary source documents come alive in their artwork.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dauphin Island Expedition Reflection Videos

Well, spring break is upon us at MRH, however, that didn't stop me from spending a good chunk of my weekend watching--and MARVELING!--over these 8th graders Dauphin reflection videos.  Countless of them I had to watch over and over again, because they were so moving and their message was so true to their hearts.  I honestly don't think words can express how proud I am of each and every one of these students and the excellent work they continue to produce and amaze me with time and time again.

I started their reflection videos off with showing them the one I made myself, and after giving a few guidelines/requirements, I let them be their own guide as to where their reflection video was going to navigate them.  Below are just some of the amazing videos each of the 8th graders made.  Once again, I'm speechless with what these kids can not only produce using technology, but the words and phrases they use from their hearts to get their message across.  Absolutely amazing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dauphin Island Expedition

Whew!  What an amazing, incredible, and awesome week at Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama.  These 8th graders are an extraordinary bunch of students, and I'm so proud to not only be able to teach them every day, but also to have shared this incredible experience with them.

For many of the students this was definitely a life-impacting trip: many experienced the ocean for the first time, others got to know classmates better than they ever had before, and some grew in areas that had nothing to do with the beach or ocean--they've come back with new attitudes, goals, and outlooks on life.  I cannot begin to express enough how much I enjoyed being a part of this expedition and how much each of the students have grown as individuals and as a group over the past two years.  Geez, I'm tearing up as I type this!

This week in social studies we are taking a "break" from the Civil War and reflecting on our experiences at Dauphin Island.  Each student will be writing a narrative reflection, making a BOTG (behavior over time graph) for something that "changed" with them during the trip, and creating a video using their graph, narrative, and immense amount of pictures that were taken throughout the week.

Until these videos--nay, MASTERPIECE reflections!--are completed, I'll leave you with this teaser expedition video and some pictures.  As soon as the students finish their reflection narrative and videos later this week I'll be sure to post them here for you to see.  Enjoy!

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