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    How People "Create" Understanding
    People construct knowledge out of their experiences is the basic idea.  Therefore, the responsibility of learning should reside increasingly with the learner AND the learner must be actively involved in the learning process.  With this in mind, my role as the teacher is that of a facilitator.  As a facilitator,
    • I ask rather than tell;
    • I support from the back rather than lecture from the front;
    • I provide guidelines and create an environment for the learner to arrive at his or her own conclusions rather than just "give" answers;
    • and I am in continuous dialogue with the learners rather than give a monlogue.
    The Three Premises of the "History Alive!" Approach
    Students have different learning styles.
    (Multiple Intelligences)
    According to Howard Gardner's revolutionary theory, every student is intelligent - just not in the same way.  Gardner has found that every student excels in two or three of the seven intelligences.  Because everyone learns in a different ways, the best lessons involve activities that tap into more than one kind of intelligence.  Gardner identified the "Multiple Intelligences" as:
    • Verbal-Linguistic
    • Logical-Mathematic
    • Visual-Spatial
    • Bodily-Kinestic
    • Musical-Rhythmic
    • Interpersonal
    • Intrapersonal
    Cooperative interaction increases learning and improves social skills.
    (Cooperative Learning)
    Elizabeth Cohen's research reports that cooperative group work promotes higher student achievement and increased student interaction leads to more learning and retention.  In other words, cooperative interaction leads to learning gains.  Cohen found that if students are trained in cooperative behaviors, placed in mixed-ability groups, and assigned specific roles to complete during a multiple-ability task, they tend to interact more equally.  This increased student interaction leads to more learning and greater content retention.
    All students can learn.
    (Spiral Curriculum)
    Championed by educational theorist Jerome Bruner, the spiral curriculum is the belief that all students can learn if a teacher shows them how to think and discover knowledge for themselves.  With this approach, students learn progressively more and more difficult concepts through a process of step-by-step self-discovery.
    Strategy 1
    Interactive Slide Lecture
    This strategy turns what is usually a passive, teacher-centered activity - lecturing - into a dynamic, participative experience.  Students view, touch, interpret, and act out historic images that are projected onto a large screen in the front of the classroom.  As the discussion unfolds, students and/or the teacher write notes on the image.  Student simultaneously see an image and notes, helping them to learn and remember key ideas that most students soon forget after a traditional lecture.
    Strategy 2
    Social Skills Builder
    In this strategy, students work in pairs to complete fast-paced, skill-oriented tasks such as mapping, categorizing, interpreting political cartoons, graphing, identifying perspectives, and analyzing primary sources.  The teacher begins each activity by quickly modeling the skill and then challenging students to practice that skill again and again.  Students receive feedback as they work.  The activity ends with a debriefing session, allowing students to use their new skill to gain greater insights into history.
    Strategy 3
    Experiential Exercises
    This strategy taps into interpersonal and bodily-kinestic intelligences to allow students to feel the drama of the past.  Experiential Exercises recreate historical situations, such as the British government taxing the colonies without representation.  Students react to these experiences as if they were individuals of the same time, gaining an appreciation of history as a compelling human drama.
    Strategy 4
    Writing for Understanding
    To write forcefully and in detail about history, students need interactive experiences about which to write.  Writing for Understanding activities tap into students' multiple abilities so that all learners - even those with lesser linguistic skills - have something memorable to write about.  Creating purposeful writing assignments motivates students to write with style and meaning.
    Strategy 5
    Response Groups
    Response groups enrich class discussion and promote critical thinking.  Groups of students receive historical information, view compelling images, read primary sources, or listen to music, and then discuss provocative questions about the material.  After the small-group discussions, presenters from each group share findings with the class to stimulate whole-class discussion.  Because students have access to rich resources and the ideas of their classmates, their responses are more thoughtful and detailed than during conventional class discussions.
    Strategy 6
    Problem Solving Group Work
    During Problem Solving Group Work tasks, students sit in mixed-ability groups to work on challenging projects, such as preparing a dramatization of some aspect of history or drawing a visual metaphor to represent a historical period.  The projects require the use of multiple abilities so that every student can contribute.  Each student is given a defined role - such as graphic designer, stage manager, director, or script writer.  As students work on the task, the teacher serves as a resource.  After completing the task, groups present their findings to the class.
    Strategy 7
    Interactive Student Notebook

    Many student notebooks are drab repositories of information filled with uninspired, unconnected, and poorly understood ideas. Interactive Student Notebooks, however, allow students to record information about history in an engaging way. As students learn new ideas, they use several types of writing and innovative graphic techniques to record and processes them.  Students use critical-thinking skills to organize information, ponder historical questions, and promote creative and independent thinking.  In Interactive Student Notebooks, key ideas are underlined in color or highlighted; Venn diagrams show relationships; cartoon sketches show people and events; timelines illustrate chronology; indentations and bullets indicate subordination; arrows show cause-and-effect relationships. Students develop graphical thinking skills and are often more motivated to explore and express high-level concepts. Students have the choice to use a Digital Notebook (Chromebook supplied by the school) or a traditional paper notebook.

    Strategy 8
    Culminating Projects
    Culminating Projects encourage all learners to apply their various intelligences to create products that demonstrate what they know and the depth of that knowledge.  The requirements and standards for each project is known in advance.  The key questions and important concepts that are central to the projects are introduced in the beginning of a unit, guide the unit, and are reinforced during each lesson.  It is then the responsibility of the teacher to connect the activities in a unit so that students understand their relevance to the Culminating Project.  Some examples of Culminating Projects are:
    • Illustrated Book
    • Illustrated Map
    • Illustrated Poem
    • Magazine or Newspaper
    • Mural
    • Museum Exhibit
    • Parade Float
    • Story Telling Performance
    • Illustrated and Annotated Venn Diagram
    • Visual Metaphor
    The Self Control Model
    Click HERE to View this in a Chart
    • The ONLY person you can control is yourself.
    • If you continue to do what you've done, you will continue to get what you've got.
    • If you can't change your MIND, you can't change anything.
    • If you know the WHYs, you can develop the HOWs.
    • I do NOT have responsibility FOR students, I have responsibility TO students. 
    (Whether Pro-Social or Distorted)
    • SIGNIFICANCE - A person's belief that he is respected, liked, and trusted by people who are important to him.
    • COMPETENCE - A person's sense of mastery of skills that he values.
    • VIRTUE - A person's perceived feeling of worthiness as a result of his ability and willingness to help others.
    • POWER - A person's perception that he exerts control over important aspects of his environment.


    Note: All are used at times but I believe the "referent" and "expert"
     are the
    most effective and moral basises of authority.
      • Cares, trusts, respects students.
      • Builds relationships based upon trust, respect, care, and support which are catalysts for positive outcomes of effective instruction.
    • EXPERT
      • Has specialized body of knowledge.
      • Effective instruction facilitates academic success and also teaches students appropriate behavior.
      • Is sanctioned by society.
      • Focuses on teacher's legal authority and title and does not focus upon student success.
      • Gives rewards and punishments.
      • Rewards and punishments have short-term impact, if any, upon student success, does not generalize, loses effectiveness with age.?


    Note: Motivation may be greatly influenced by teacher behaviors.

    • INTRINSIC - Internal Locus of Control and Value System
      • Teacher communicates to students that success is a result of the student's effort or lack of effort
      • The Value of any activity is the opportunity it provides to develop new competencies, pursue one's interests, increase maturity, and experience general personal growth.
    • EXTRINSIC - External Locus of Control and Value System
      • Teacher communicates to students that success is a result of luck, tricks, or other people's behaviors.
      • The value of any activity is the opportunity it provides to show superiority or gaining material rewards or praise.