Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I am working on trying to blog more frequently during the school year. During vacations and in the summer, I blog much more. I often spend a lot of time getting ideas on paper and slowly refining them into a post here and there. This takes me a lot of time. For the next few weeks, I am going to work on setting my timer for twenty minutes and just writing. My goal will be to write, quickly edit, and publish, as opposed to spending hours getting ideas on paper and slowly turning these ideas into a blog post or two.

In Western Civ today, after watching a History Channel documentary called WWI Technology, students examined three sources in their WWI Source Set. The three sources that they examined today were a table illustrating various European countries’ spending on armaments during the late 1800s and two diplomatic correspondences: 1 between Austria and Germany and the other between France and Russia.

We did not give students questions as they worked through these sources. We gave them the following directions:
1. Examine/read the source, highlighting key points/details as they view the source.
2. After they have done that, we told them to record three inferences that they derived from the source. We reviewed what inferences are: an idea that goes beyond the information in front of you. The inference you generate must be able to be supported by the information in front of you. Big idea- Some inferences are better (more logical/better supported) than others.
3. When students completed step 2, they were then to find someone else in the room who also completed step 2. They were then to compare their inferences and together decide whose inferences were best connected to the evidence in front of them.
4. Once they evaluated each other’s inferences, I had students write down three examples- 1 per source- of inferences they selected as being good examples of statements that went beyond what was on the page and that could be logically and reasonably tied back to the sources.

Some thoughts/comments
Throughout the year I have been going back and forth with providing students with questions to accompany the sources that I have given them. Like everything, I suppose, there are pros and cons to each approach. When you do not give students questions, I think they read differently. Some students do better without questions, others struggle. Moving forward, I might give students a choice as to whether or not they’d prefer to work with a source with or without questions. Another option here might be to let students see the questions after they have worked with a source.
(20 mins :) )

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a cool lesson. I would add the option (or requirement) of student created questions to be created at any point in the process. Students would need practice in crafting various question types, but I think it would enhance student engagement and depth of learning.