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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

History Madness Brackets

Yesterday and today in my US History classes, I have witnessed deep discussion as well as polite disagreements over historical figures and events.  I heard things like "Why would you choose President Polk over President Jefferson.  President Jefferson doubled the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase and gave us access to the Mississippi River as well as the Port of New Orleans" In response I heard "President Polk was able to convince the Congress of a new nation to take a risk and declare war to gain more land".  That is just a sampling of the conversations I heard yesterday and today.  In addition to hearing curriculum based conversations, I heard "This is so cool! No one's ever asked my opinion about history."  "It's cool that we can all work on Padlet at the same time to see what everyone else is saying about history."  "I can look at all the evidence right here! So cool!"

Why was I hearing this?  The students were given NCAA style brackets with historical events, documents, presidents or conflicts that we have already studied this year.  Their task was to take the assigned bracket and determine (with their partner) the winner.  Once they determined who won the bracket, they had to post it on Padlet along with their explanation of why and how they chose the winner.  Next, they have to attach some historical evidence that backs up their choice as winner. They can upload a video clip, a quote, a document, a website link, etc.  Lastly, they have to create a short video explaining how they collaborated to come to their consensus.  They could do this by using WeVideo on their Chromebooks or creating a series of Vines and uploading those.  They could also choose a different platform if they knew of something that accomplished the same thing.  Once they were done, I showed them how to upload a document to Schoology so I could quickly assess with the live rubric and provide feedback.

I very much enjoyed hearing them excited about history and using their analytic skills to determine who would win each bracket.  I loved this project!

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