SED 741 Discussion Guides
Raising the bar - how do we design good hooks, help our students become historical detectives, use other intellectually challenging teaching strategies, and help students learn strong note taking skills?
Below, please find the guides for today's discussion.
Two examples of how teachers have raised the bar in their own classrooms:
Goals for today's discussion:
Goals for when we meet together on Elluminate. (See below "Things to do before meeting in class on Elluminate")
Goal #1: To understand what it means to "raise the bar" in our classrooms
Raising the bar in our classrooms means that we as teachers must have high and achievable academic expectations of our students.
Our remaining goals for today address various ways we can raise the bar in our classrooms.
Goal #2: To learn the importance of good hooks and how to design them
A Case Study of the GI Bill
Hook: Show a 3-4 minute clip from the movie
Discussion after the clip:
Transition from Hook to Lecture/Discussion: In The Best Years of Our Lives, the three veterans all shared a fairly simple goal – getting a steady job and buying a small house for their family. Today, we are going to look at the history of how the federal government has helped – or failed to help – Veterans returning from war reassimilate into American society.
The Teacher as Historical Scholar. As historical scholars, we must:
The Teacher as Historical Scholar: Modeling a Scholarly Investigation of John Brown. Before we can teach our students to do their own historical research - to become historical scholars - we have to mentor historical scholarship. Below is an example of how you would conduct such an investigation and then present it to your students.
Step 1: Selecting a thesis.
- You have two choices: John Brown was a failure, or John Brown was a great man. Pick one thesis statement and write no more than one page explaining your choice.
- In your explanation, you must include a definition of failure or greatness.
What you do on your own: Make a choice, write why you selected it, and define failure or greatness
What you model for your students: Explain that you have a choice of a thesis, define failure or greatness, and share your written work with the class.
Step 2: Using primary sources to defend your thesis.
- You must examine several primary source documents and then pick one that you feel is THE MOST IMPORTANT in defending your thesis.
- Write no more than one page explaining why you chose this source as your key primary document. You must include the following: specific quotes in the document that persuaded you to adopt your thesis and a bibliographic reference for your document.
What you do on your own: Select a document (in this case it is John Brown’s “Declaration of Liberty” written in 1858 to contrast directly with the “Declaration of Independence”); write your explanation; select your quotes; and make your bibliography.
What you model for your students: Show the primary source you selected to support your thesis and share your written explanation of why you selected this source.
Sept 3: Using secondary sources to support your thesis.
- You must ind one secondary resource – a book or article - that supports your thesis.
- Write no more than one page explaining how and why this secondary document further supports your thesis. You must include the following: specific quotes and images from the book/article that persuaded you to adopt your thesis and a bibliographic reference for your book or article.
What you do on your own: Select your secondary source; write your explanation; select your quotes; make your bibliography.
What you model for your students: Show the secondary source you selected to support your thesis and share your written explanation of why you selected this source.
Step 4: Using other primary and secondary sources to test your thesis.
- You must find at least two other primary sources that support or refute your thesis.
- You must f nd another book or article that supports or refutes your thesis.
- Write no more one page explaining how and why these primary and secondary documents support or refute your thesis. You must include the following:
- specific quotes from the documents and books that support or refute your thesis;
- how and why these documents either reinforced your own thesis or encouraged you to reconsider your thesis; and
- a bibliographic reference for each of your primary documents and the selected book or article.
What you do on your own: Select your primary and secondary sources, write your explanation about how they support or refute your thesis, select your quotes, and make your bibliography.
What you model for your students: Show the primary and secondary sources you selected to support or refute your thesis and share your written explanation of why you selected these sources.
Step 5: Reflecting upon your work as an Historian.
- You must write no more than 1-2 page essay in which you reflect upon the thesis you selected. This paper must include the following:
- a discussion of any doubts that arose in the course of your research about your thesis choice;
- an explanation of why you continued to support your thesis – or if you changed your mind, what resources were most influential in changing your mind; and
- a statement describing the 2-3 most important points that you found in all of your resources to either support or reject your thesis.
What you do on your ownWrite about why you finally continued to support your thesis or why you changed your mind and describe the most important points that led to your decision.
What you model for your students: Share your written explanation of why you either continued to support your thesis or why you changed your mind about your original thesis.
- To access NARA document analysis forms shown above, go to http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/worksheets
The Student as Historical Scholar. Click here for an example of an assignment on how you would have your students become historical scholars through their interpretations of slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Goal #4: To talk about other intellectually-challenging learning strategies for classroom use
- What do you know? What historical knowledge do you have about the topic? If you know the answer, you don't need to go to the next step. If you know something about the topic, keep that information in mind as you go to the next step.
- What are the clues? What vocabulary or other indicators give you clues about the correct answer?
- What can you eliminate? If you can’t find the answer through your knowledge of the topic or other indicators, then what answers can you dismiss through the process of elimination
Goal #5: To explore how to teach good note taking skills.
Example #1: Cornell Note Taking Template
There are several variations to the Cornell note taking idea. Below is one that divide a 8.5" x 11" page into three sections: Cue Column (1), Note taking Column (2) and Summary (3). In the second column, students write down the main ideas from the lecture - main ideas given them by the teacher. In the first column, students write down key words and cues that will help them better understand the notes. In the third column, students summarize in their own words no more than 3-4 sentences what they learned from the notes.
Another Cornell model divides the paper into two columns, exactly as above, but eliminates the bottom 3rd column. In the second column, students write down the main ideas from the lecture - main ideas given them by the teacher. In the second column, students summarize in their own words the main ideas they learned from the notes.
An evaluation strategy for Cornell Note taking: Create a check list such as the following:
- ___ Good job. Concise but thorough, in your own words, key ideas and vocabulary included.
- ___ Good first effort. Keep practicing this skill and keep working on neatness and thoroughness.
- ___ Your notes show improvement. Keep working on this skill.
- ___ Your notes are still too wordy. Cut out more unnecessary words.
- ___ Keep the big ideas in your summary.
- ___ You have missed some important key ideas. If you are doing notes based on reading, read more carefully and do not depend on the chapter headings to pick out all the most important points.
- ___ You have missed some important key ideas. If you are doing notes based on listening to a lecture/discussion, in the future you will need to listen more carefully and make sure that you pick details that help you put the entire situation in its historial context
Example #2: Mind Maps - a 'whole brain' note taking method.
There is a creative (right) side and a logical (left) side to the brain. Mind Map Notes cater to both sides. Traditional linear notes cater mainly for the logical side. A Mind Map consists of a Central Topic with a Central Picture. This is very important, as it forms a 'hook' to which all the information it contains will be attached.
Attached to the Central Topic are thick Main branches. These branches are often the headings in a text book. Attached to the Main Branches are thinner Sub Branches followed by Detail Branches.
Why do Mind Map Notes work?
Example #3: The Squeeze Approach
The Squeeze concept of note taking is catching on in schools across the nation. So, what is it? The idea is that students will learn to squeeze the information that they verbally learn in class into a small amount of information written in their own words. This is a learning tool that will take a least a couple of weeks to master, will require you to be patient as students learn, and must be carefully taught at the beginning of the school year through several steps:
First step - Teaching the concept. Students work in groups of three and will read a primary document selected by the teacher. Each group gets the same document. Then, they do the following:
- Each student in the group reads the primary document (can be done individually or aloud).
- After reading the document, each student writes, in their own words, a 1-2 paragraph summary of the main points in the document.
- Then, each student shares their summary with the other group members while the group verifies each summary – explaining where they agree or disagree with each summary.
- Each student squeezes their summary into 1-2 sentences, then shares their 1-2 sentences squeeze with the group members, and discuss how they compare and contrast.
- Each group picks one of the squeeze summaries to share with the entire class.
- The teacher leads a discussion about the squeeze summaries.
Second step: Refining the concept. Students work individually and will read a primary document selected by the teacher. Then, each student does the following:
- Writes a 1-2 paragraph summary of the document in their own words.
- Squeezes the content of their summary into 1-2 sentences.
- Shares their 1-2 sentences squeeze with their classmates and discuss how they compare and contrast.
Third step: Broadening the squeeze concept. The teacher will give a 10-minute lecture and students will not take notes. Each student writes a 1-2 paragraph summary in their own words of what they learned in the lecture. Then, the students then move into groups of three and do the following:
- As a group, students verify each of the summaries by asking if they agree or disagree with the summaries.
- Each student squeezes the summary into 1-2 sentences.
- Students then share the squeeze with their classmates and discuss how they compare and contrast.
Fourth step: Applying the concept. Students work individually. Using the Cornell note taking format, have them draw a line down their note taking paper. Then, each student does the following as the teacher delivers a 10-15 minute lecture/discussion:
- On the right-hand side of the line, write no more than 1-2 paragraphs of notes in their own words while the teacher is talking.
- At the end of the lecture/discussion, give the students 5-10 minutes to squeeze the information they learned into 1-2 sentences that they write on the left-hand side of the line.
- Have the students add to the left-hand side of the line any questions they had after writing their summaries and squeeze.
- Have the students share their squeeze and any remaining questions aloud.
Fifth step: Finalizing the concept. Students work individually, using the same Cornell note taking format is described above in Step 4. Then, each student does the following as the teacher delivers a lecture/discussion of the teacher’s desired length:
- On the right-hand side of the line, write no more than whatever number of paragraphs (determined by the teacher and based on the length of the class lecture/discussion) in their own words while the teacher is talking.
- At the end of the lecture/discussion, give the students 5-10 minutes to squeeze the information they learned into 1-2 sentences which they write on the left-hand side of the line.
- Have the students add any questions they had after writing their summaries and squeeze to the left-hand side of the line.
- Have the students turn in their squeeze and any questions they had after writing their summaries and squeeze.
- Read each squeeze and questions, make appropriate comments, and return to students as soon as possible.
To do before meeting in class on Elluminate: