PD Should Model What You Want To See in the Classroom

» 05 August 2015 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To, PD, Projects, Publishing, Teachers » 1 Comment

Student as historianIt’s August and that’s back to school time. All across America teachers are sitting is staff development workshops. Some sessions are valuable, others will leave teachers wishing they could be setting up their classrooms.

Recently I had the chance to work with Marta Turner / NWRESD to design and administer a staff development grant from the Library of Congress and the TPS Western Region. The goal of the project was to give participating teachers skills in designing historical thinking skills lessons utilizing primary source documents from the Library of Congress' vast online collection.

I saw it as a chance to demonstrate my first law of staff development 
PD should model what you want to see in the classroom. 

So in addition to mastering historical thinking skills utilizing LOC.gov, this workshop became a demonstration of the following:

How to flip your class:
Orientation to the LOC site was something better done on participants’ own time than in whole group. We utilized Versal (a free and stylish LMS) to offload that task to a flipped pre-course. Teachers arrived at the workshop with a working knowledge of LOC online resources , strategies for teaching historical thinking skills and ideas (and LOC documents) for their demonstration lesson.

Thanks for shepherding us through the process - a motivating demonstration of what's possible with kids ~ Paul Monheimer, participant

Leveraging tech tools for design and collaboration:
Teachers collaborated in the pre-course using Google docs to design and curate examples of historical sourcing. I created YouTube tutorials to use throughout the pre-course and workshop session to blend the learning.

Teachers collected historical documents from the LOC into shared Google slides. This facilitated easy peer review and also served as an archive for materials in preparation for transfer to iBooks Author.

We used Google Hangouts to explore "how historians think" with Dr. Adam Franklin-Lyons - associate professor of history at Marlboro College.

Motivate with project-based learning:
Teachers were pleased that the workshop would produce lessons they could use. But right from the start they knew that they were not simply getting together to learn some strategies and create some lessons. They had an iBook to create and we only had two days onsite to do so. As educators, we talk about value of the authentic audience for our students but it applies to our teacher PD as well. (I held myself accountable to the same standard, since the major elements of the workshop were shared on my blog and via the Versal pre-course.)

Our participant teachers left the 2-day workshop energized knowing that their work was documented for our grant funders to replicate in other projects and proud that their lessons would be available as an iBook on iTunes in 51 countries around the world. Note: Time did not allow me to teach iBooks Author to the teachers, so I designed and edited the iBook later. For more on how I teach iBooks Author, see this iBA workflow post

We are proud to share our iBook The Student As Historian ~ Teaching with Primary Sources from the Library of Congress. This ebook contains both the training materials and fourteen teacher-designed document-based questions for grades 4 through high school.

The lessons draw from a fascinating collection of text and multimedia content - documents, posters, photographs, audio, video, letter and other ephemera. "Stop-and-think" prompts based on CCSS skills guide students through analysis of the primary sources. Essential questions foster critical thinking. All documents include links back to the original source material so readers can remix the content into their own curated collections.

Download free at iTunes here. It’s viewable on Mac, iPad and iPhone 5 or newer. If those options don’t work for you, you can download it as a PDF The Student as Historian-PDF version 14 MB.  (Interactive widgets will not function in pdf version)

Note: This is not an official publication of the Library of Congress and does not represent official Library of Congress communications.

Image credit: stokpic / Pixabay
Creative Commons CC0 Source

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The World Is My Audience: Using iBooks Author and Book Creator to Change Student Writing

» 12 March 2015 » In Guest post, Literacy, Publishing, Reflection, Students » 4 Comments


Guest post from teacher Jon Smith details the story of his student-written iBooks. Jon and his students have published 44 iBooks that have been downloaded over 32,000 times from iTunes bookstores across the world.

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iBooks Author Training Video and Free Guide

» 15 May 2014 » In Ed Tech, PD, Presentations, Publishing » No Comments


Here’s a video of my one-hour intro to iBooks Author. Download my free Quick Start: iBooks Author and follow along. Plus links to iBA resource website and more

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Free: How To Get Started with iBooks Author

» 02 March 2014 » In How To, Publishing » No Comments


Here’s my free multi-touch iBook that will get you started using iBooks Author. Includes an interactive tour of the app, widget sampler with settings, and tips and tricks for designing your iBook and managing your work flow.

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iPDX14 Session Preview: Getting Started with iBooks Author

» 24 February 2014 » In How To, Presentations, Publishing » 3 Comments


Here’s your chance to learn how easy it is for students and teachers to create multi-touch iBooks using iBA. We’ll demonstrate the key steps in designing an iBook that can be published to iTunes or shared as iBooks files. Download my free 20-page “Quick Start: iBooks Author.” Links to more how to’s and free content resources for your iBook project – interactive widgets, images, videos, audio and more.

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Tips for Motivating Student Writers with iBooks Author

» 05 January 2014 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To, Publishing, Students » 9 Comments


My preservice teachers just published an iBook collection of document-based questions in US and World History. It’s now available free at iTunes. Here’s some tips on how to turn your students into published authors.

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Text to Text: A Strategy for Common Core Close Reading

» 26 September 2013 » In How To, Literacy, Strategies » 5 Comments


The NY Times Learning Network has just launched a new series of lesson plans called “Text to Text.” It’s a simple approach that pairs two written texts that “speak to each other.” I think it’s a Common Core close reading strategy that could be easily replicated by teachers across the curriculum – great way to blend nonfiction with fiction and incorporate a variety of media with written text.

Each lesson includes a key question, extension activities and additional resources to expand the basic lesson. Here’s two graphic organizers to help student organize their “Text to Text” thinking.

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How To Fake a Hyperlink Text Pop-Over in iBooks Author

» 14 July 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To, Publishing » 6 Comments


The Pop-Over widget is new in iBA 2 and provides a custom image that acts as a trigger to display a scrolling region similar to the Scrolling Sidebar. The Pop-Over may also contain text and graphics. Here’s a how-to design a hack that does the opposite – a text trigger that display an image.

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PBL in Action: Students Write, Market and Publish

» 12 July 2013 » In How To, Literacy, Publishing, Students » 4 Comments


Unique Ink is a student-staffed publisher based out of Roosevelt High School’s Writing and Publishing Center that was established in 2012. Volunteers at the center teach publishing to high school students to improve their skills in business, editing, and marketing. Through the center’s unique hands-on approach, students learn about the publishing industry by publishing and selling their own books. Proceeds from the sales of “Where the Roses Smell the Best” will help the Writing and Publishing Center stay self-sustaining.

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How to Teach Structured Academic Controversy

» 26 June 2013 » In History / DBQ's, How To, Literacy, Reflection, Strategies, Students » No Comments


Deliberating in a Democracy in the Americas (DDA), a valuable online resource for teachers interested in helping their students develop skills in discussing controversial topics. The DDA site has all the material teachers will need to support discussion in 15 interesting deliberation questions. It uses the Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) model to provide structure and focus to classroom discussions. Not all issues can be easily distilled to pro / con positions. SAC provides students with a framework for addressing complex issues in a productive manner that builds skills in reading, analyzing, listening, and discussion. And it’s ideal for supporting Common Core close reading skills.

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