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May 8, 2012

High School Government

by Randy Ziegenfuss

This post contributed by Salisbury High School Social Studies Teacher, Miss Jennifer Brinson.

Earlier this year, students created timelines about the events leading up to the writing of the Constitution using the web 2.0 tool Capzles. The outline of the project and rubric are located online.

Examples of student Capzles projects:

Students also created Blabberize projects, choosing one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Students then engaged in a Socratic Seminar where they assumed the role of their historical figure during the seminar.  The Declaration of Independence project and outline are available online.

Examples of student Blabberize projects:

The increased student access to technology this year has had a significant impact on my classroom. Students are collaborating and communicating more this year than ever.  I am also noticing the following:

  • Students are using tools like Google docs to share notes.
  • Students are using Quizlet to set up flashcards and then share them with the entire class.
  • Students are using Skype to chat, but then using it to share links and files.
  • Students expect me to share a Keynote presentation of lectures so they can take their own notes directly on the slides.
  • Students expect to answer an essential question with every project:  “How do you move your world forward?”
  • Students immediately look up information that is unknown to them when we discuss issues in class – particularly current events.
  • When given a project with choices built in, it is interesting to see how many students opt to use technology tools perceived as more challenging – i.e. iMovie, Prezi, GoogleEarth.
  • Gaming is not just for goofing off. We have built in competitions where students earn badges for good posts, excellent thinking, making me laugh, keeping the peace, demonstrating school spirit, etc.  Students also have found games for various topics being studied. These games include Ayiti: The Cost of Life, which requires students to make economic decisions for a family in Haiti to keep them alive through a growing season, and the Bailout Game which requires students to make decisions about who the government should bail out.
  • We use Edmodo as our class management tool, providing students the opportunity to ask questions through the portal or email. Students are much more apt this year to communicate their questions or confusion, providing me the opportunity to provide assistance more quickly.  Using Edmodo has also allowed the classroom to become almost entirely paperless.  All assignments are provided through and turned in via Edmodo.

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