History of Anything: Part One

First of all, credit to SLA teacher, Doug Herman for planting this idea in my head over the years at SLA.

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One of the timelines that a student constructed for the project

Here are the basics:

  1. Brainstorm three topics that the student is interested in knowing more about, that fit with the goal of historical investigation.
  2. Write three investigation questions for each of the topics and seek out the answers
  3. Choose one of the three topics is the one that the student would like to hone in on for their research

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    During our speed-learning activity

  4. Construct a minimum of a 10 item timeline of the major events for the chosen topic
  5. Identify at least 5 people that are connected to the historical narrative for the chosen topic
  6. Use that information to conduct a day of speed-learning – each student sharing what they have learned about the topic and answering/asking questions of each other. (more about speed-learning here)
  7. “thinking homework” – How do you think that the story you are investigating would be most effectively told? What format will you evidence your learning?
  8. Complete the contract that outlines the major pieces of the project, including challenges, format and resources needed
  9. To be continued…

That is where we are right now in the process… I am choosing to do this project in a spiraling fashion, meaning that we ebb and flow between this project and an investigation of local history topics. The shared investigation of the local history topics provides an opportunity to practice and build skills that will then be evidenced in the History of Anything project. Also, I believe strongly, that projects like this need time to marinate and breathe, with opportunities for ideas to form, float, be tried and improved upon, hence the long timeline for the accompanying unit plan.

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