I was entertained yesterday when reading the Library of Congress’ post “What did Lincoln Say about Extemporaneous Speaking.” The post had an interesting segment of a letter that Lincoln wrote to his wife Mary Todd, though it wasn’t the content of the letter that intrigued me, it was his salutation. He wrote “Dear Wife.” When sharing this with a colleague this morning, he said, “What if you had the students guess who wrote the letter or who it was to.” What a great idea! It could be a, “Who Wrote It” based on the date, salutation, and as much content as they see. Granted, providing a transcript might be needed, but it would be a fun way to have an authentic mystery to solve. Happy Friday!
Recognizing the 50th commemoration of President Kennedy’s assassination today gives the opportunity to share an awesome resource for historical stories. “Awesome Stories” offers an excellent exploration of The Assassination of John F. Kennedy through text, images and primary sources that guide the user through the events surrounding JFK’s death through his funeral. Awesome Stories is about to launch a newly redesigned website (expected on Nov. 26) that explores 250 historic stories, lesson ideas and resources, primary sources (text, images, video), narratives and more. A great tool for remembering history.
Google Drive’s sharing options are great. Today my seniors discussed some research
about cases on the Supreme Court’s 2013-14 docket. Some of them typed their notes into a Google Doc, others used Pages and even one used paper (amazing, isn’t it?). Once we were finished, all of the research needed to be turned in and it was my goal to allow the students to see the work of the others so I created a Google doc that had a table in it and each student typed the name of their court case into the document. The students who created their notes in a Google doc clicked “Share” and set the privacy settings to “Public: Anyone With the Link Can View.” They then copied the URL, went to their case name in our shared document, highlighted it, clicked the link button, and added their URL so their case name became a hyperlink to their research. For those who created their notes in Pages, we uploaded the document to Google Drive, didn’t convert it, and then shared it with the same process. For the one who wrote out in pencil? We scanned the paper to pdf, uploaded it to Google drive and shared that too. It was great.
This same process could be used to make a great class fake “Facebook” assignment. Have each student pick and research an author, famous person, event, something like that. Then, each student will make a copy of a “Fake Facebook” Google template like this one. They fill in the required information, share their links with the class, and then in the “Friends” column, they can select their classmates’ URLs and create hyperlinked “Friends” like the real Facebook allows so an historical period could be linked together like this! (Only JFK & LBJ are linked in this example.) Pretty sweet…
Students remember the case well. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor referenced it in the previous Supreme Court welcome video (Part 1 and Part 2) when she talked about a “prisoner writing his petition in his own hand.” Gideon v Wainwright turned 50 on March 18. How fun to see a piece from CBS Sunday Morning and NPR on the case as well as where the issue of representation for the poor is today. There is also a new podcast from the US Courts and this great interactive site from the Missouri Bar. I wish I were teaching government this semester!