Hey there, friends. It=27s the NJ contingent with another update on our =
project. Before we get started on the details, we invite you to two =
sessions which will be given at the NCSS Conference in Cincinnati. The =
first session is called =22New Jersey: Center of the Universe=22 (keep =
reading, this is not a joke), which features a WWW site that our school =
developed in conjunction with Spotswood HS (Middlesex County NJ) and the =
Rutgers University-New Brunswick Special Collections and Archives. The =
session is on Friday, Nov. 21 in the morning, and will showcase the =
collaborative development process for the site, student and teacher =
feedback, and the benefits for staff development of a collaborative, =
interactive primary source use project. And we=27ll have some good NJ =
tunes for you courtesy of Sinatra, Springsteen, and others, plus some =
other surpises. But no Turnpike tokens.
The second session is on Saturday, Nov. 22 in the afternoon, and showcases =
a project developed with the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Their =
Student Outreach Project, a WWW site specifically developed for students, =
was piloted at Hunterdon Central in the spring of 1996 and then the pilot =
project was expanded to include 7 schools in the USA, including Paul =
Filio=27s Hughes Center (another AMMEM fellow, as you know). We will be =
showing the site, discussing the responses of students and faculty to it, =
explaining the results of two research studies done about the site, and =
casting possible paths for future development. In particular, we will be =
examining the implications for teacher training and classroom instruction =
in this new electronic environment.
If you can=27t come to Cincinnati, you can examine the NJ=20
project site at this URL:
For the USHMM site, you can use this URL:
http://education.ushmm.org (you can enter as unregistered users)
If this URL doesn=27t work for the USHMM site, contact me off this list at =
wfern=40eclipse.net and I=27ll get you on.
Now, back to our project.
Since our last posting, students have been making progress in acquiring =
their sources, albeit somewhat inconsistently. Some students have found =
the American Memory site difficult to access for the foreign policy theme, =
and there certainly are fewer collections on the site regarding 20th =
century U. S. History for this theme than for others (i. e., human rights, =
political participation, economic change). But since we=27re not =
requiring our students to have all their primary sources from the American =
Memory site, this isn=27t an overwhelming problem. =20
Harlene did an excellent job in preparing multimedia process development =
sheets for the specific projects that our students chose to create. She =
created them about these processes:
1. Developing Powerpoint Presentations and how to save material from the =
American Memory collections for such projects.
2. Saving images for a Family Scrapbook project.
3. Creating a magazine using WordPerfect 6.0 and importing images into =
Prior to this, I had created a series of project specification sheets for =
the range of project options we offered the students. Each group reviewed =
the specifications, then made decisions about what to create. Here are =
1920-1929--One group is doing a Powerpoint presentation
while the other on this era is doing a magazine
Students in these groups have also now finished a sheet called =22From =
Concept to Completion=22, which requires them to specify their actual =
contributions to each final project. As an example, here is what the =
1930-1941 group is planning to include in their magazine: (each student =
is responsible for 2 items, minimum)
Theme: Migration--diary entries, advertisements, eyewitness account, =
advice column, interview, =22voice of the people=22 column
Theme: Human rights--newsarticle, editorial, obituaries, =22voice of the =
Theme: Economy--editorial, advice column
Theme: Foreign policy--series of letters, daily journal, diary entries, =
=22how to=22 article, obituaries
Each student has defined and refined their 3 investigation questions and =
linked them to specific work products as noted above. Now the hard work =
is at hand--taking their research and creating the first drafts of these =
So, I=27m handing out today (10/9) a sheet called =22Remaining Schedule =
for American Memory Project=22 which details when things are due, their =
value in terms of their quarter grade (remember, we=27re on block =
scheduling, and this course ends on Nov. 6), and the processes for having =
their first drafts reviewed (peer and by teachers). Also, when the =
student presentations occur, we are having the students assume an =
historical character of the period, so they will present them in the first =
person. To facilitate that, we created an =22Historical Biography/Resume=
=22 form that each student will create to help them get into character for =
Each group will also develop a strategy for their presentation, i. e., a =
creative context in which they will present their essential findings from =
their magazine, scrapbook, and so forth. For Powerpoint presenters, they =
will amplify the content of their visuals, and avoid reading from the =
slides directly. =20
Harlene and I are developing rubrics for the evaluation of the presentation=
s this week, and we=27ll review them next week. Presentations begin on =
10/27 and will proceed in chronological order. The audience will be =
involved in gathering information about each theme addressed by each =
group, so by the end of the week they should have a thorough set of =
essential findings from each group about each theme. Key ideas from these =
presentations will also be reflected on an in-class final exam.
That=27s the plan and what we=27ve done so far. What has been the student =
It has been pretty favorable, but there have been mixed results in some =
cases. Students have initially found the American Memory site complex to =
use, but as their familiarity with it grew, it became easier to find =
material. Some students mistook background statements and overviews of =
the collections for primary sources themselves, and I corrected them as we =
went along. Oh yes, we had each student analyze one primary source from =
the American Memory site related to their theme, and the results were =
pretty good using our generic analysis form, particularly on their second =
try after getting my feedback on the first attempt.
Another problem arose with students in specific groups who have what we =
might call lower motivation than their peers. I have 3 students right now =
who are not passing the course; one is waiting to leave school when he is =
18 to take the GED, and another is having a very difficult transition to =
our school from a very small religious school attended in the past. We =
have been monitoring their performance as the quarter proceeds, and are in =
contact with parents. Sounds familiar, I=27m sure. Readjustment in each =
group is taking place to address the lack of consistent performance.
Finally, we=27ve been documenting the work of selected students in the =
class by xeroxing their work products as they come in and keeping them for =
future reference. We plan to reflect on these at the conclusion of the =
quarter when we assess the entire project and revise it for use again =
during the second semester of the school year.
And to respond to Bill Tally=27s request for expectations: here are the =
goals we set for the project at the outset, and which the students =
received on the opening handout for it.
We want students to:
a. demonstrate understanding of patterns of change and continuity
b. identify the unique qualities of different types of primary sources
c. interpret, analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources related =
to our core themes and topics
d. develop questions for investigation about their specific theme
e. develop original conclusions showing connections between the core =
themes and topics
f. and demonstrate improved writing and presentation skills in the areas =
of visual and oral communication.
What will success mean to us? Here are some thoughts, correlated to each =
goal noted above. These are mine, and I=27m sure Harlene will provide =
hers as well in another posting.
a. Creation of projects that illustrate the blending of change and =
continuity, and having students explain this to their peers.
b. Written analysis of primary sources and demonstration visually and =
orally of the differences between varying types of primary sources
c. Use of primary sources related to their investigative questions, and =
explanation of why some were used and others were not.
d/e. Presenting their findings =22from the period=22 and demonstrating =
that their visuals and written material is indicative of the era, and that =
it truly answer the questions they posed.
f. Clarity, coherence and comprehensiveness in written, oral and visual =
representations. Can the audience understand what is presented, viewed =
and read? Do they know more about it after the presentation than before, =
and in what depth?
That=27s all for now folks. Back to middle management mania.
We look forward to your replies and feedback on our work, and we hope to =
begin replying to your postings soon.