Western Civ. Project Idea

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Soccer Dad, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Jan 1, 2011

    So I want to do a review project of sorts before our midterm week (last week of Jan). For my Western Civ classes, I was thinking of breaking students into groups of 5 and actually having them create their own textbook chapter. I've never done this before so I'm still unsure if this is asking too much of them, but I was hoping to have students create roughly 8-9 pages of text (with pictures, side boxes, and other add-ons) on a particular subject we've covered. The topics I'd include:
    1. Ancient Greece (before Pericles)
    2. Classical Greece (Pericles)
    3. The Roman World
    4. Christianity
    5. Byzantine Empire & Eastern Europe
    6. The Middle Ages
    7. The Renaissance
    8. The Reformation
    9. The Age of Exploration

    I was thinking of starting the project off with, "Textbook publishers have been producing subpar history books for decades. After a record low quarter earning, they have enlisted your help to rewrite their Western Civilizations textbook. The publisher has decided to leave the formatting up to your discretion..."
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 1, 2011

    Sounds fantastic!!

    I would think they would need a bit of guidance-- what areas do you want them to include? What sort of bibliography? Think out a rubric and include it with the assignment.

    But as a kid, especially if there had been such a thing as "internet access" I would have LOVED a project like that!
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I think that it's a great project and a nice way to review. Make sure that you have them fill out some kind of organizer or planner to check over. You don't want them missing something important in any section or just being silly.
     
  5. Soccer Dad

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    I'm in the process of making individual checklists for each topic. I want them to use the notes I gave them as well as the Internet to make the "supplemental" stuff that goes on the sides of the pages like "History Makers," "Connections to Day," "Why It Matters," etc.

    Also, what this secretly does is force them to write... a lot. :p
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    That sounds like a great plan. Five kids is a lot per group, but I think if you give them all some specific tasks, that will help.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 1, 2011

    "But Mr. Soccer Dad, this is History, not English!!!"

    :lol::lol::lol:

    They're lucky to have you as a teacher!
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I love the secret writing part! Be sure to give some kind of examples! They need it.
     
  9. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jan 1, 2011

    I think that's a great idea.

    When real textbooks are written, reviewers go over the chapter and make comments. Perhaps you could create a checklist for reviewers and have them trade chapters. The final part of the assignment could be a 300 word review of another group's chapter. That way, they actually have to read and discuss 2 sets of material.

    I love your idea here. I used to make students write a syllabus at the end of the year. They had to break the narrative into trimesters, weeks, and topics. It helped them to see both the connections between the stories and also how necessary it is to eliminate some things in favor of others.
     
  10. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jan 1, 2011

    Be incredibly clear on what you want the output to look like. I do an assignment with my kids where they have to create a single textbook page for an alternate version of history. They do quite well on the writing but not so much on the "IT MUST LOOK LIKE A PAGE FROM YOUR TEXTBOOK" part. Granted, I have 7th graders but even the honors kids don't much get it.

    Will they be designing them on computer? If so a template would do wonders. If not, a template would do wonders anyway. I know templates are restricting but if the content is what matters then nothing is lost by using one.

    Lastly, you know this but I'll say it anyway, this won't help much with overall review. Kids will learn their assigned section (probably) but not the others. Even with a gallery walk, presentation, peer review, etc., it won't much matter. I'm not saying that makes it a bad idea (I actually think its a great idea) just that it depends on your true purpose.
     
  11. Soccer Dad

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    Jan 1, 2011

    Thanks Alice, and that's one of my favorite lines. I usually get something similar to that in an email at least once or twice a year. :lol:

    I'm made an example of my own to show them, but I made it on an iMac (using Microsoft Office for Mac) so I want to make sure the school's pcs can do the same thing before I use the one I made.

    I LOVE this idea thanks for posting it. LOVE.

    I want to allow them the creativity to format the pages however they see fit. But I do want it to resemble an average textbook. For instance, I don't mind if they use two columns of text per page or just one. In both cases, they need to have some pictures, maps, appropriate charts, and the side-bar information. When I made my sample one, I just used Word: 2 columns of text with 2" margins. Then, I inserted little text boxes in the margins for the side-bar information. It took me about an hour to figure it all out (I'm not a Windows fan).

    I am, however, going to try to make a template for them in school on Monday or Tuesday.

    What I want to do, is upload them all to my class website and require students to read them. As they read them, I will have short-answer and multiple choice questions that will resemble those on their midterm. Ideally, this will help them review.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You could, of course, have them make up Chapter Review questions as part of the assignment.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 1, 2011

    Review questions... AND answers.
     
  14. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jan 1, 2011

    This is a GREAT idea. I may steal it for my Western Civ. kids for their Trimester 2 Exams. I would, however, only have 3 Units.
     

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