Thursday, August 23, 2012

Civil War Day 2012

This year 8th grade students participated in the 6th annual D.C. Everest Civil War Day. Students spend a day learning about the life of a Civil War soldier. Different history classes represent the Union and Confederate soldiers. Each specific history class represents a regiment such as the 8th Wisconsin or the 69th New York. The class chooses a commander, drummer, and flag carriers. Students dress like a Civil War soldier.

In the morning students viewed two large group presentations and then ate a “Civil War lunch” before marching over to Kennedy Park for the afternoon. There was an Opening Ceremony at Kennedy Park complete with cannons being fired. After the Opening Ceremony, students attended stations to learn about life during the Civil War. Some of the stations included the following: John Brown, Civil War Band, Lincoln’s Assassination, Sherman’s March to the Sea, Civil War Marching, Civil War Medicine, Quilts in the Civil War, Lincoln/Douglas Debates, Cannons/Weapons in the Civil War, Daily Soldier Life. The stations were run by high school students, teachers and community members.

Monday, August 20, 2012

DCE Oral History Project Publishes Holocaust Book

Social Studies Teacher Jeff Bergstrom Speaks at INTECH 2012

Jeff Bergstrom was the keynote speaker on Thursday, August 16th at the Intech Conference. His presentation was outstanding; it was informative and motivating. Jeff shared his presentation below.

Several D.C. Everest social studies teachers were fortunate enough to participate in the InTech 2012 workshop in Edgar, Wisconsin.  This conference was meant to give teachers the tools to “flip” their classrooms.  According to John Bergman, author of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student In Every Class Every Day, in the flipped classroom, “that which is traditionally done in class is now done at home, and that which is traditionally done as homework is now completed in class.  But…there is more to a flipped classroom than this.”   
There are a variety of simple tools that can be used to create interactive videos for the flipped classroom.  One simple way to create a screencast video is Screencast-o-MaticScreencast-o-Matic is a free web service that allows teachers to create their own screencasts.  By simply pressing record, the program records everything that the teacher says and does on the computer.  By using this tool teachers can quickly and easily record classroom lectures, powerpoint presentations and demonstrations.  Student then have the ability to watch these screen casts outside of class.  This can be an invaluable tool for the student who needs to see and hear things numerous times before he or she “gets it.”   A second tool to help with the flipped classroom is the website Qwiki.   Qwiki allows teachers to make short (1 minute) videos quickly and easily.  The site even allows one’s voice to be put in the short video.  Although the site only allows one minute videos, one can “link” numerous videos together to actually create one longer video.  A third tool to assist in the flipped classroom is the website Vialouges .  Once a video is uploaded to vialouges, one is able to create multiple choice questions to go along with the video.  Using this site student’s are able to watch a video (either created by the teacher or one that already exists) and answer multiple choice questions as the video plays.  Finally, the Flubaroo website allows flipped videos to be more interactive by creating self-grading quizzes using google forms.   Other sites to help with the flipped classroom can be found at: Web 2.0 Tools for the Blended Classroom.
            At the InTech conference Jon Bergman was quick to point out that the flipped classroom was NOT the answer to all of the educational issues.  The flipped classroom, however, is one way to better meet the needs of all students in the classroom.  By having students watch and learn from teacher created videos outside of the classroom, actually in class time can be better utilized for higher level thinking activities like Socratic discussions, project based learning and classroom debates.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Social Studies Teachers Attend Moodle and Intech Conferences

 Several social studies teachers attended the four day Intech 2012 Conference held at Edgar High School. The Intech Conferences began many years ago and were the brain child of Lois Alt and Sue Kuhnmuench. This year's conference featured Jon Bergman, one of the co-creators of the flipped classroom. He discussed how to get the best use out of classtime by providing some of the instruction outside of class. Teachers also received extensive SMARTBoard training as part of the grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation. As a special treat, our own social studies department member, Jeff Bergstrom presented and did an outstanding job.

Nine social studies staff members attended the MoodleMoot Conference in Sun Praire. The staff included: Glenn Olstad, Travis Greil, Michele Vinje, Christian Ammon, Nancy Gajewski, Jeff Bergstrom, Chad Thompson, Kate Wollersheim and myself. Kate is the newly hired middle school social studies teacher. The staff learned that Moodle had been upgraded and were excited about one of the features for adding assignments into Moodle. Cory Jaeger, the head of technology recently upgraded the D.C. Everest Moodle site to version 2.3 which will be really helpful. Staff learned that Moodle can be used for much more than simply storing assignments. We will be using the journal and forum features as well as the quiz feature.Here are some Moodle sites started last year to check out: (Go in as guest)   American Seminar  APUSH  Early 20th Century  Recent America  Social Studies Alt. 10   Social Studies Alt. 11  U.S. History Class.

Literacy Initiative Brings Non-Fiction History and Historical Novels to the 6-12 Social Studies Classroom

Since 2009 each grade level PLC has selected historical fiction novels and non-fiction history texts to increase students literacy opportunities in the social studies classroom.  Mike Schmoker (Focus: Elevating the Essentials) states that "we don't appreciate deeply enough the outsize value of social studies. If we did, we would do more to preserve its soul: literacy, analysis, and argument." The High School Advanced Placement classrooms are in their third year of summer reading offering 8 titles about the American Revolution including 1776 and Rise to Rebellion.  American History Seminar incorporates a book into its oral history unit and students have read War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust and will read Unbroken this year.  AP World History reads An Edible History of Humanity while AP European History reads A World Lit Only by Fire.  Global Studies students will be exposed to graphic novels Waltzing with Bashir and Shenzhen.  Alternative Social Studies is considering reading a novel about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.   At the Junior High 9th graders in the honors classes read Summer of 1787 and will be reading the economics text The Invisible Heart during second semester.  A graphic novel on the Constitution is also being considered.  8th grade teachers were leaders in promoting the reading of fiction and non-fiction.  In 8th grade U.S. History students in the honors sections have read Eyes on the Prize, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and this year will be reading Unbroken, a non fiction book on WWII.   Regular education students read Woodsrunner, Night John, Copper Sun, The Devil’s Paintbox and do literature circles with a variety of Civil War novels. The Reading Specialist, Ann Hoesly has helped teachers choose books. Middle School student in World Studies read The Enemy Has a Face and The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana & Mali.   More books will be selected this year in 6th grade Ancient Civilization. The IMC Librarian Beth Martin has provide the social studies staff with a variety of topic books which are used for Inquiry projects.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Friday, August 17, 2012

6-12 Social Studies Department Goals 2012-13

1.  Authentic Literacy (Reading , Discussion & Writing)

·         Strategic (Close) Reading strategies
·         Interactive reading strategies
·         Argumentative discussion strategies
·         Different approaches to increase student oral proficiencies in classes through discussion, deliberation, Socratic dialog and others.
·         Writing in social studies classroom
·         A coordinated approach to expository writing
Each PLC grades 6-12 will identify one or more historical fiction or non-fiction book to be read and discussed in class.
Each PLC will identify one common writing piece per quarter. This will include a minimum of two or more DBQ’s per year depending upon the grade level.
Each PLC will experiment with different formats to challenge student thinking through academic conversation (discussion).
Teachers may earn up to 4 hours of in-service through book study using Academic Conversations, by Jeff Zweirs

2.  Authentic Instruction in the Social Studies Classroom

Authentic Instruction is defined by Dr. Fred Neuman (UW- Madison) as contain one or more of the following components:
·         Higher Order Thinking ( activity stimulates critical thinking)
·         Has significant depth of knowledge (encourages comprehensive learning)
·         Has real world connections ( teaches application of concepts)
·         Has Substantive Conversation( engages students in discussion)
·         Includes Social Support ( provides support and inclusion)
Authentic Learning may include:

·         Oral history projects
·         History Day Program
·         Roman/Greek Day Program
·         We the People Mock Congressional Hearings
·         Crime Lab simulations, interactive autopsy, etc.
·         Psychology Case Studies/Experiments
·         Civil War Day
·         Simulated Mock Trials
·         Independent study class (as discussed by James Percocco) which might involve the Marathon County Historical Museum, Marathon County Civil War Round Table, Marathon County Genealogical Society, Portage County Historical Society, Pomeranian German Society, VFWs. Other possibilities include independent study in Sociology or Psychology.
·         Archeological digs
·         Virtual Field Trips via CILC (using distance learning lab)
·         Other PBL (Project Based Learning) Programs
3.  Technology Innovations in the Social Studies Classroom
·         Advanced level use of the smartboard technology. E.g.  Creation of smartboard lessons, use of clicker response systems and the document camera.
·         Use of web-based interactive simulations
·         Using MOODLE as both a repository for videos, handouts, quizlets, podcasts, powerpoints, etc., but also as an interactive tool for forums, chats, journaling, blogging, etc.
·         Using Web 2.0 tools for student creation of products to exhibit learning.  E.g. socrative, Qwiki, Edmodo, Animoto, Prezi, etc.
·         Use of the distance learning lab for virtual field trips and for collaborating with authors and experts in distance locations.
·         Consider flipping lessons in your classroom. Implementing some of aspects of the Flipped Classroom.
·         Remember, technology is just a tool to deliver learning and can used effectively for formative assessment.
4.    Assessment in the Social Studies Classroom
·         Emphasis this year will be on improving and increasing the use of formative assessment in the classroom.
·         Increase the use of formative assessment through the use of technology (smartboard clicker system, Moodle testing, etc.
·         Improvement in grading system used in the social studies classroom.  Some teachers will continue to experiment with standards based grading, while others will move to a 4 point grading scare.  Toxic practices like using zero’s, over grading of homework, too much extra credit, etc. will be eliminated.
·         PLC conversations should focus more on student learning whether it is about informal observations of student learning or more specific test data.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Standards Based Grading in Psychology

 Two of our Psychology teachers, Bree Sandquist and Glenn Olstad experimented with standards based grading. They used a 4-3-2-1-0 grading system.

A 1 grade means the student can recognize the concept but can't define it or apply it to the real world.

A 2 grade means the student has the ability to define and recognize the learning target. The person in the real world could listen to a newscast and understand what is going on.

A 3 means the student can not only define and recognize the learning target, but is also able to apply the knowledge or skill.  This person would be able to listen to the newscast and not only understand it but be able to discuss it at the local coffee house.

A 4 grade means the student can define, recognize and apply the learning target as well as teach it and critically think about it.

Data Collection - Students are given a multiple choice test. The multiple choice sections have both definition and application questions and a high level detail in application to the 4 level.  The problem in assessment came in providing enough opportunities for students to show level 4 understanding.  Can the student do the level 2 definitions. Your assessment is gathering evidence.

We have our 2-level questions.  These are usually definitions.  3-level questions ask the student to apply the definitions and the 4-level questions has the student apply the learning in a new context or has high level detail or application.

The second section of the test is constructed response or simulus response.  Students are given a word or a picture and they respond to it.  (If their response is just a definition they score a 2, if the definition also includes an application they get a 3.  Ideally they need both the definition and the application.  To receive a 4 on the construction response students shows higher amount of detail or they are applying the concept to a new area. They shows extended learning which often includes a new situation or connection.

Then the Data from these two sections is used to ascertain if the student is at a 1, 2, 3 or 4 level.

Mr. Olstad stated, "What is good about this is you actually can determine what a kid knows and can do."

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crime & Justice Course Creates Interest in Forensic Investigation

Two very popular elective courses are offered to juniors and seniors at DC Everest.  The first is Crime & Justice which provides a basic introduction to the components of the criminal justice system.  The course (we completely fill 5 sections) includes units on crime and crime statistics, law enforcement, corrections, and the courts.  There is a core set of essential understandings that are included, but we also adjust the curriculum to incorporate current events.  This has included a look at the massive changes in the criminal justice system after 9/11, profiling of serial and mass murders, and the role of the media and advocacy groups in criminal justice.  We’ve had great discussions of current societal issues like gun control, sentencing (three strikes, truth in sentencing), and the death penalty.  In addition to gaining an understanding of an important social institution, students also gain competence in statistical analysis – they learn to read charts, analyze data and understand different forms of gathering and reporting statistics by utilizing the online FBI statistics sources.  These skills can be applied across all of the social sciences, but doing so in the field of crime definitely gets and keeps their attention. 

A few years ago, as interest in the criminal justice course and forensic science skyrocketed, we decided to spin off a unit on forensic investigation into a full semester course.  This course is very unique, especially since it’s based on the role of forensic science in the criminal justice arena, not so much on the scientific processes.  We review the history of forensic investigation and then look at the CSI Effect and how it has affected police and prosecutors.  It’s a very interactive course with units on observation, witnesses and the crime scene.  We also explore all of the tools and techniques of forensics investigation including fingerprinting, blood spatter, ballistics, and physical evidence like hair and fibers.  There are great tools online that really engage student learning like the CSI:The Experience forensic case files developed by Rice University and the interactive autopsy from the Australian museum.

Career investigation is included in both courses and I (John Muraski) hear from many DCE grads that have chosen to pursue a career in a criminal justice field, from law enforcement to law school.  I see many of my former students in patrol cars and am in touch with quite a few who are currently practicing attorneys in Wisconsin.