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Posts tagged ‘history tech’

None of us are Amanda Gorman. But we and our students should try to be.

Recent news articles are highlighting a request to ban access by Florida elementary students to Amanda Gorman’s poem A Hill We Climb. The reason for the request? “it is not educational and have indirectly hate messages.”

The specific passage that “have indirectly hate messages”?

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
And the norms and notions of what ‘just is’
Isn’t always justice.

And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow, we do it.
Somehow, we’ve weathered and witnessed
A nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.”

The ban request also lists the author / publisher as Oprah Winfrey and claims that the function of the poem is to “cause confusion.”


I’ve always been a fan of using a variety of resources to teach social studies, including non-fiction, literature, and poetry. And this poem by Gorman has a particularly powerful potential for encouraging and supporting historical thinking. So . . . to support the use of poetry as part of your instruction and specifically The Hill We Climb, today is Wayback Wednesday with a post from January 2021.

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Thinking routines & Project Zero. Your first round draft choice.

I admit it. I’m a fan. And watch it every year.

Especially this year. Held in downtown Kansas City, home of the world champion Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL Draft is my spring booster shot that holds me through until August’s preseason.

And I know you’re all locked into the last few weeks of the semester but you need to take a few minutes to explore Project Zero, developed by the Harvard Graduate School Education. Because if you’re looking for next fall’s first round draft pick of resources, the thinking routines you’ll find at Project Zero should be at the top of your list.

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NCAA basketball? Absolutely. History Movie Madness? Heck, yeah. Bracketology in the classroom? Yes, please.

Just so you know. Huge March Madness fan. First four days of the tournament rank right up there with the NCSS conference, Fourth of July, and the winter holidays. And the 2023 version did not disappoint. Would have liked KU to have done better but otherwise loving the upsets.

But somewhere in between Princeton knocking off Arizona and Gonzaga surviving TCU, I flashbacked to the American Battlefield Trust’s History Movie Madness Bracket Contest from a couple of years ago. You’ve probably heard of the Trust back when it was called the Civil War Trust. It started as a group dedicated to preserving Civil War battlefield sites. It’s now also working to do the same for Revolutionary War and War of 1812 sites. So . . . they’re good people.

I’ve written about my favorite history movies before so having the chance to break down 32 movies to find the all-time best is right up my alley.

The Trust starts off with by claiming somehow that Gods and Generals is the best movie ever. Clearly they’re very confused about what constitutes a quality movie. (Spoiler alert. Gods and Generals didn’t make it out of the first round.) But I love the idea of a movie bracket. I was so in.

I’ll be honest. I hadn’t seen all of the movies in the bracket. But I haven’t seen all 68 teams in the NCAA tournament either. So I was okay faking my way through this bracket the same way I did my basketball one. And the criteria for the winners is about as loose for the movies as it is for the NCAA. Pick your faves based on leading actor or director or time period or most significant event or most historically accurate or well, whatever you decide. My wive’s 5th grade class picked basketball winners based on best mascot so . . . there’s a lot of leeway here. (Gonzaga Zags BTW.)

I’ve posted my entry below. Feel free to troll my picks.

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Chronicling America Research Guides. Where have you been all my life?

I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of people who work at the Library of Congress. And they’ve all been awesome. I’m sure there’s probably one or two who work over there who are Las Vegas Raiders fans or who will tell you that they don’t like Kansas City Joe’s burnt ends. And other than those one or two, they’re all a pretty amazing group.

But after last week, my love for the Library of Congress and the people who work there has gone through the roof. I’ve talked about the Library’s amazing Chronicling America website before. And so you already know how powerful and useful I think Chronicling America is for social studies teachers and their students.

(Never visited and need the short version? Chronicling America has almost 200 years worth of digitized primary source newspapers available for scanning, analyzing, downloading, and printing. It’s searchable by keyword. By language. By state. By ethnicity. And it’s free.)

As we all continue finding ways to integrate inquiry-based learning activities into our classrooms, primary sources are the foundation for much of what we’re asking kids to do. Of course, part of the problem is finding primary sources that align with what we want kids to learn. Chronicling America can help.

But after last week? Things just got a whole lot easier. The reason?

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ChatGPT needs to be your newest teaching buddy

Okay . . . so I’m guessing you’ve heard about how AI robots are going to take over the world, ruin education, and steal your dog. I’m not entirely sure about the taking over the world and stealing your dog part but pretty sure ChatGPT is not going to ruin education.

And, yes, I’ve been wrong before. So the ruined education piece could happen, I suppose. But I’m pretty sure that an artificial intelligence chatbot like ChatGPT isn’t going to be the thing that does it. And I’m starting to believe that it might actually help us do our jobs better.

For those of you just catching up, ChatGPT is a piece of software that rolled out last fall that mimics the thinking and writing of people like you and me. The concern is that students will use this piece of software to create products in response to classroom assignments and submit those products as their own work. Could this happen? Absolutely. Has this sort of thing been going on for years? Absolutely.

Back in the day, pre-internet, students could and did order entire catalogs that listed hundreds of pre-written history papers available in a variety of lengths and quality. Post internet? Those catalogs and essays simply went online. And now? AI is simply the next step in the decades-old Cold War between student and teacher.

Some of you haven’t been around long enough to remember the heated discussions and hand-wringing that happened in the math world when pocket calculators became readily available. The current conversation around ChatGPT ruining the educational process has a similar feel to it.

And I get it. We want the actual kid, not a chatbot, to prove what they know and are able to do. But I’m convinced that social studies teachers can and should find ways to incorporate AI into their classrooms.

So. What can that look that look like in practice?

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