Sunday, February 7, 2016

World War I: Materials and lesson ideas

We're studying World War I this week so this is how I'm organizing my lessons:

Overview and topics
I've prepared a lecture that I'll show my students with nearpod.  I really like nearpod because it converts my PowerPoint slides so that I can run the presentation with my iPad and it displays on their personal devices.  That way I turn their phone into a learning tool.  Nearpod also lets me embed formative assessments like multiple choice questions and drawings (they draw their responses on their screens) so I can see on the spot when I need to reteach.

After my overview, students will watch these three short videos that I will embed into edpuzzle.  Edpuzzle lets me select online videos, clip them (if necessary), add or modify a sound track if I want, then embed formative assessments.  Students watch the videos on their personal devices.  I like presenting videos this way because it draws the students in more if they are watching them on their own device.  (Try it just once and you will see that this is true.)

This video (2:11) discusses Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
This video (4:11) discusses the Zimmermann Telegram.
In this video (2:25), Prof. Eric Foner discusses Wilsonian Democracy and the Versailles Treaty.
After I finish my overview and the students watch these short videos, my students will begin a research phase using materials I push out to them using Google Classroom.  The resources were designed to help them focus on these six topics:
  1. U.S. entry into World War I
  2. War mobilization
  3. African-Americans and Women during World War I
  4. The war economy
  5. Wartime propoganda
  6. The peace treaty (Treaty of Versailles)
The resources are from Teaching with Documents on the Zimmermann Telegram from the National Archives, the U.S. State Department's Office of the Historian, the African American Odyssey online exhibit from the Library of Congress, and these sites on propaganda from Stanford University and the School of Education of the University of North Carolina.

Engaging focus question
I try to choose one question per unit to bore down deeper and extend my students' understanding of the material we are discussing.  For this unit the focus question is: When is dissent a crime?

I will divide the class into four group and give each a set of essays discussing the Supreme Court's case in Schenck v. United States (1919).  In that case, the Supreme Court considered whether mailing anti-war circulars violated the 1917 Espionage Act.  After conducting their reading, we will hold a whole-class discussion about whether various modern acts of anti-war protest could be suppressed.

The selected resources are from the National Constitution Center, Texas State Bar, PBS, and American Bar Association.

Students will be assessed based on a multiple-choice quiz using quia.  Quia ($45/year) lets you create your own learning games and quizzes, and then deliver them on any device.

That means that I can deliver all aspects of the lesson -- lecture, research, videos, and assessments -- using my students' smartphones!

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