Presentation 1. Political Cartoons Political cartoons can be used as interesting and entertaining primary sources that provide social commentary about key events or trends of the times. By analyzing a political cartoon, students can better understand the culture and attitudes of the people living during this time, as well as develop their critical thinking and analysis skills. As students analyze the cartoon, they will look for key concepts such as symbol and metaphor, visual distortion, irony in words and images, stereotype and caricature, an argument and not a slogan, and the uses and misuses of political cartoons. Students can analyze these cartoons in different ways, either in groups, with partners, or as a whole class.
2. Storyboard The purpose of the storyboard is to help students identify and organize main ideas and supporting details in a historical narrative by having them illustrate important scenes in a story. This is an interesting and creative way to have students summarize or show their comprehension of a narrative, so students are not always restricted to written summaries or note-taking. The storyboard is also an effective form of assessment, because teachers can track the students' comprehension and understanding of the narrative's basic plot and main ideas. To create a storyboard, students will be a storyboard template, provided by the instructor. Then the students will be asked to draw the main ideas of the story after the story has been read. Each drawing should also have a short caption of what is happening and direct quotations from the text as captions. Then students can present and compare storyboards with others and discuss which events they deemed as "main ideas."
Communication 3. Townhall Circle The Townhall Circle strategy allows the class to simulate a town hall meeting, which, traditionally, is a place for community members to share their differing perspectives on an important topic. Students should come away from this activity with a greater understanding of the various perspectives on an issue and greater awareness of how perspective and point of view can sometimes limit the facts that are presented and the opinions that are held. To prepare, students will be presented 4-6 readings on the same topic that represent differing perspectives. They will then be split into groups, and each group will analyze their reading carefully to gather its main ideas and perspectives. Then there will be a "Town Hall" discussion in which one representative from each group will sit in a circle and summarize their reading (without any analysis). Afterward, students in the circle can comment or ask their peers a question. Students in the outer circle can join the discussion by replacing the seat of their representative. Once the discussion is complete, students will reflect and debrief about what they learned from the activity and whether or not their ideas about the topic changed or not. They will also reflect on the meaning of perspective.
4. Gallery Walk In a Gallery Walk, students examine different texts and images that have been placed around the room. This is a great activity to use collaboration and multiple texts and get students to analyze of documents and quotations. The teacher will first select multiple, diverse texts that have to do with the main ideas or differing perspectives of a historical topic, or the teacher can even have students select the text. Then the texts will be organized around the classroom in a "gallery"-syle way - hung on walls or far-spread tables. Then students will be instructed to walk through the gallery and take notes (if the purpose of the walk is to introduce new material. Otherwise, students can be given a graphic organizer or list of questions to answer as they travel around. They can either travel in pairs, individually, or in small groups.
Organization 5. Human Timeline The purpose of this activity is to help students understand and recall the chronology of events. First, the teacher needs to establish a context for the timeline (such as the history of the Civil Rights Movement). Prior to creating the timeline, students will have learned about the key events and dates during this period of time. Then the teacher will prepare index cards or slips of paper with the names and dates of the important events and distribute these cards amongst the students (certain students will be given more difficult cards, based on their levels of understanding). Students will stand or sit in a u-shaped line and then present their cards to the rest of the class. After they read off their timeline event for the first time, they must rewrite the event in their own words and provide a brief description. Afterward, students will line up in the order of their events and present their event to the class. They can also pose questions or suggestions for how their event was caused.
Interaction 6. Social Studies Simulations This website provides a wealth of links to social studies games, interactives, and simulations for Grades 7-12. The games encourage students to, not just interact with social studies and history, but to also test their own knowledge and understanding of these topics. The interactive topics range from geography, the world, and the United States, to ancient civilizations, current events, and wars. Students can test their knowledge of geography through the "Geography Quiz," "Geography Crossword," or "European Capitals" match-up game. They can also simulate global trade and better understand trade patterns by "becoming supreme ruler" in the trade simulation game or "Trading Around the World" simulation. Overall, the website is a great resource to find multiple simulations, online quizzes, and interactive social studies games.
Collection 7. Finding Primary Sources This website is helpful in providing links to primary source collections and historical research online. It also explains what primary sources are and why they are significant and the different strategies and tools that students can use to find primary sources (for example, using search engines, a history subject directory, or major collections). Furthermore, the site provides information about how to evaluate and cite primary source websites and what questions students should ask themselves before using a source. Overall, the site is informative and a great resource for students to use during research projects.
Collaboration 8. Digital Collaboration This website is sponsored by Intel, and it provides free tolls and resources to help students "develop 21st century skills." These online tools help students use technology to engage in discussion, analyze information, investigate issues, and solve problems. The site provides information about mobile learning, a visual ranking tool, showing evidence tool, mobile scenarios for K-12 Education, a seeing reason tool, and assessing projects tool. Each learning resources links to a page that provides videos, Apps, ideas, and related materials that can be used in the classroom. In some cases, the tool, itself, is provided (such as the Visual Ranking Tool), and the website provides step-by-step tutorials and demos on how to use that tool.