Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Interactive Civil Rights Timeline Project

Our 8th grade students (13-14 year olds) here at USM are just beginning their study of the Civil Rights movement. Yesterday in class students developed their background knowledge on "Life in Jim Crow America" using an in-class/homework guided study activity created by their outstanding teacher, Chuck Taft. Click here to view the activity from yesterday dealing with Jim Crow America.

After building a little background on Jim Crow, the students worked in class today to create a collaborative/interactive timeline of several events from the Civil Rights movement. Chuck built up a wonderful plan for the interactive timeline and the lesson is posted online here. In class he had students volunteer to pick 1-2 of the events and do a little research using ABC-CLIO, their textbooks, or a site discovered via a google search (each student had a laptop from our school's mobile laptop lab). Students then signed into dipity using a generic account that Chuck created. It worked very well having 15-20 students sign in under the same account and editing the dipity timelime simultaneously-this was something we weren't quite certain about when we were planning this out last night.

Students were required to do the following for each event that they added to the collaborative timeline:

1. Write a brief description that outlined the cause and impact of the event.
2. Include the event location. By entering the location a point on a map is added to the timeline.
3. Include an image.
4. Include a related YouTube video.

In their 40 minute period, each student added at least one event to the timeline. Some students added a second event as well. All students were then required to embed the project in their own wiki that they are using as a digital notebook for the final unit of the school year. Click here to see a student digital notebook sample (this sample notebook is actually being worked on by two students collaboratively).

At the end of each period Chuck shared the collaborative map with the students and showed them the different views that dipity allows (timeline view, flipbook view, list view, and map view-this is a really powerful feature).

What are some other lesson possibilities using this tool?? This has some wonderful possibilities for language arts/literature, science, etc.

The interactive timelines that each class worked on may be surfed below:

Period 1
Period 2
Period 3
Period 4
Period 6

I have to give a shout out to the folks at Edtech Weekly for the lead on dipity. I believe Dave Cormier mentioned this tool in one of their Sunday webcasts recently. Thanks!

one final caveat...I take no credit for this project! It was all planned and developed by our 8th grade history teacher, Chuck Taft. I only write about it here as a means to share this lesson idea with others.

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