Skills and Best Practices

Activity 3: Skills and Best Practices

KWLH Strategy

The KWLH teaching technique is a good method to help students activate prior knowledge. It is a group instruction activity developed by Donna Ogle (1986) that serves as a model for active thinking during reading.

K – Stands for helping students recall what they KNOW about the subject.

W – Stands for helping students determine what they WANT to learn.

L – Stands for helping students identify what they LEARN as they read.

H – Stands for HOW we can learn more (other sources where additional information on the topic can be found).

Source: http://www.ncrel.org

Research in Social Studies

Research projects can be of varying length. However, the skills are much the same. Encouraging students to follow a consistent format in conducting and reporting on their research is important as students move through high school and into college. In addition, students will need help in citing their sources, especially those from the Internet. Here are some tips for conducting the research and citing sources: http://www.tds.lib.mn.us/

  • Choosing a Topic
  • Finding Information
  • Taking Notes
  • Outlining and Organizing
  • Writing
  • Citing Sources
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Formative Assessment

Activity 2: Formative Assessment

Printable Student View

  1. Why did officials in the United States feel some hostility to the Soviet Union in the 1930s?

    1. Soviet factories were a major source of air pollution throughout the world.
    2. The Soviet Union was helping Adolf Hitler to spread Nazism to other countries.
    3. The Soviet Union was damaging U.S. agriculture because of the efficiency of its farms.
    4. The Soviet Union had the goal of establishing communism throughout the entire world.
  2. Why did Soviet leaders distrust Great Britain and the United States in the 1930s?

    1. Great Britain and the United States had nuclear weapons.
    2. Great Britain and the United States had an anti-Soviet alliance with Germany.
    3. Great Britain and the United States passed laws to keep their citizens from purchasing Soviet agricultural and industrial products.
    4. Great Britain and the United States were so hostile to communism that they invaded Russia to oppose communists around the time when World War I ended.
  3. What led the Soviet Union to join with Great Britain and the United States to become allies during much of World War II?

    1. German military forces invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.
    2. Communist thinkers changed their theories of capitalism during the 1940s.
    3. The people of the Soviet Union elected a new leader who had more trust for Great Britain and the United States.
    4. The Soviet Union wanted to gain more business for its companies and could sell lots of its products to Great Britain and the United States.
  4. For what purpose was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formed?

    1. To unite the nations of Eastern Europe in a military alliance
    2. To establish a western military alliance to contain communism
    3. To send American economic and military aid to Eastern Europe
    4. To encourage the spread of democracy in the Western Hemisphere
  5. Answer the questions:
    1. Why was this conflict between the East and West called the Cold War?
    2. Explain a difference in the eastern and western perspectives of the Cold War.
  6. What did the Soviet Union do following World War II that alarmed the United States and Great Britain? Fill in all three boxes for each question.

     What action did the Soviet Union take that alarmed the United States and Great Britain?Why did the Soviet Union take that action?Why did the Soviet Union’s action alarm the United States and Great Britain?
    1.   
    2.   
    3.   

Scoring Guide

Additional Formative Assessment

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Skills and Best Practices

Activity 2: Skills and Best Practices

Oral History

Interviews with adults in the community are an excellent way to bring generations together in interpreting history. Students have a much easier time understanding historical events when they realize that there are people living in the community who can turn history into a story that they have lived. The History Channel epitomizes this approach as they make history come alive by interviewing those who were part of history: http://www.historychannel.com/classroom/oralhistguidelines.pdf

Here are Guidelines for Oral History Interviews. More detailed information can be accessed at their website:

  1. Picking an Interview Topic: Narrowing your topic will give it a focus.
  2. Picking Someone to Interview
    • Did they live at that time?
    • Do they have information about the topic?
  3. Make an Interview Appointment
    • Make it a special event for the person being interviewed.
    • Send a list of possible questions prior to the interview.
  4. Preparing For the Interview
    • Do some background reading on the topic.
    • Use the “who? what? when? where? why?” questions to help you prepare for the interview and to focus your questions for the interview.
  5. Write Out Good Interview Questions
    • Use “memory questions” to set the mood for the interview
    • Use follow-up questions to get more in-depth information
    • Encourage the person to tell stories and anecdotes to add a human element to the story.
    • Consider using the following kinds of questions:
      • Explanation questions
      • Judgment questions
    • Be an Active Listener
    • Send a Thank You Note

Perspective

This activity call for students to take a perspective and to compare this perspective to that of a historian. Perspective taking is a neglected skill in social studies; but is one that is very important. According to McTighe and Wiggins, it is one of the six elements of understanding.

SIX FACETS OF UNDERSTANDING

  1. Explain – give theories – the why
  2. Interpret – see meaning, stories, translations made by students
  3. Apply – knowledge in a (new) concrete context
  4. Take perspective -awareness of other points of view, critical stance
  5. Be empathetic – walk in the shoes of . . .
  6. Show self-knowledge – wisdom, knowing thyself, aware of one’s prejudices, and habits of mind

Note: Additional information and the research basis for Understanding by Design can be found at: http://www.nascd.esu6.org/UbDResearchBase.pdf

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Skills and Best Practices

Activity 1: Skills and Best Practices

Decision Making

This activity asks students to use the CNN Website to research information about the cold war. As students interact with this site they are asked to consider the role of key figures and groups during the Cold War and to identify the key actions they took and the motivations for these actions. To complete this activity you may want to review the steps in the problem solving and decision-making process so that students can more accurately follow the thinking of the individuals involved as they decided to act in certain ways during the Cold War.

The following questions, adapted from the work of Brian Maye, are a part of The Texas Social Studies Framework. They are useful to students as they explore the decisions that people have made and the motivations for their actions. For each individual the student should consider:

  • What events occurred? When? Where?
  • Is the event part of a larger issue?
  • What information do I need to collect and analyze related to the event?
  • How accurate is my information?
  • What other people are involved?
  • What were the reasons for their actions? Why did their opinions differ and/or conflict?
  • What people or groups were able to act in the decision-making process?
  • What were alternative actions they could have taken?
  • What was the key action taken?
  • In your opinion, was this the best decision?

The entire Texas Social Studies Framework, as a PDF document, can be downloaded from:
http://socialstudies.tea.state.tx.us/downloads/pdf/framework/EntireDoc.pdf

The “Questions for Discussion” missing from this activity can be easily created from these questions by simply making the questions more specific to the actions of the individuals and groups concerned.

Using Video Clips to Enhance Learning

Brenda Dyck teaches at Master’s Academy and College in Calgary, Alberta (Canada). She offers some interesting insights about “Harnessing Online Video Clips to Enhance Learning”. As a bonus she also recommends some of the best sources for online videos, including the CNN site used for this activity: http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/profdev040.shtml

  • Moving into the future – we have moved from the film strip age to the on line video age
  • Connecting With a Different Generation – Net Generation Students,” related best to this medium that helps them “translate abstract concepts or events into their reality.”
  • Unleash Student Voices – “Short powerful messages can stir even the most complacent student to act.”
  • History Comes Alive – Our current generation of students are used to instant access to information. They see history being made every night on the evening news. Video clips allow the teacher to use this same kind of technology to make history come alive.
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Formative Assessment

Activity 1: Formative Assessment

Printable Student View

  1. What were the aims of the Soviet Union following World War II?

    1. To extend freedom to the nations they liberated
    2. To control nations they liberated to make Russia more secure
    3. To support international law and decisions of the United Nations
    4. To help people in Europe recover from the damages caused by World War II
  2. Why did the United States decide to try to make Germany a strong state in Europe after World War II?

    1. To check the power of the Soviet Union
    2. To check the power of France and Great Britain
    3. To help Germany in its efforts to invade the Soviet Union
    4. To help Germany in its efforts to carry out the “Final Solution”
  3. What did both United States and Soviet leaders fear might happen during the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

    1. Cuba might be destroyed
    2. Millions of people would die in a nuclear war
    3. Spies from each country might discover important secrets
    4. Cuba might become an enemy of both the United States and Soviet Union
  4. How did atomic bombs affect world politics during the Cold War?

    1. They made it more likely that nations that had them would go to war
    2. They helped the Soviet Union to spread communism throughout the world
    3. They saved a lot of money, because atomic weapons are cheaper than armies
    4. They caused the United States and Soviet Union to avoid war with each other
  5. Analyze the photograph below and then answer the questions.

    A wall was built in Berlin in 1961.

    a. Who built it?

    b. Explain why it was built.

    c. Explain how it affected people’s lives in Germany.

  6. Describe the Warsaw Pact, its goals, primary leader nation, and at least three member nations.

Scoring Guide 

An Additional Formative Assessment

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Activity 3

Activity 3

Essential Question

What problems result from the tension between world powers and how do they attempt to resolve these problems?

Background

With dramatic events, such as students tearing down the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union collapsing as a country, the Cold War came to an end in 1991. Much of the world celebrated. Perhaps the world had moved into a time when at last there would be peace, but we know from history that the end of conflict rarely leads to smooth results.


The Berlin Wall

The U.S. Civil War was followed by Reconstruction, which was violent, and World War I did not make the world fully “safe for democracy,” as Wilson had hoped. This essential question looks at how and why the Cold War ended and yet left a legacy that confronts us very much today.

Instructional Strategies

Strategy 1

Computer Lab Research

Have students visit the following websites. Talk about how websites differ and how some sites are easier to use then others. Talk about the reliability of websites and the criteria for determining if a site is reliable.

You may want to review the criteria for evaluating websites. The following website is an excellent source for initiating this discussion: www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/webeval.html

Have students review the list of topics below and select one that they would like to research using the identified websites.

  • Economic Competition Between the United States and the Soviet Union
  • Space Exploration
  • NATO and Warsaw Pact
  • Cold War Issues: United States, Japan, and The German Federal Republic
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Vietnam War
  • McCarthyism
  • Nuclear Testing in the 1950’s – 1970’s
  • East/West Germany – Berlin Wall
  • Education and The Cold War
  • Undemocratic Regimes and The Cold war
 

Strategy 2

KWLH Strategy

Discuss with the class the idea of doing “active thinking” while doing research. Tell them that it is important to focus on what they already know about a topic and to connect that information to what they are researching. Tell the class that the KWLH teaching technique is a good method to help them activate prior knowledge.

Review the steps of the KWLH technique for active thinking with the class.

  • K – Stands for helping students recall what they KNOW about the subject.
  • W – Stands for helping students determine what they WANT to learn.
  • L – Stands for helping students identify what they LEARN as they read.
  • H – Stands for HOW we can learn more (other sources where additional information on the topic can be found).

Have them use the KWLH Chart while doing their research.

Printable Student View

Cold War Events (KWLH Chart)

What We KnowWhat We Want to Find OutWhat We LearnedHow Can We Learn More
    

 

Check for Understanding

Review a magazine article on your researched topic. Decide if the article is:

  • Factual
  • Concise and To the Point
  • High Interest
 

Strategy 3

Reading for Information

Remind students that they will be reading for information. When we read for information we read for:

  • Global understanding by summarizing the text looking for the main ideas, significant details, and underlying meaning
  • Developing interpretation by such strategies as comparing and contrasting what we read, looking for cause and effect and by putting things in chronological order. We also use our prior knowledge to make and confirm predictions. We also distinguish among facts, supported inferences, and opinions.
  • Personal response by evaluating the new information against what we already know, evaluate the usefulness of the information, and distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Critical response by analyzing the tone of the passage and evaluate how language is used to inform or to persuade.

Model these strategies for the students prior to having them do the research.

Check for Understanding

  • Use stance questions to check for understanding. Stance questions are those directly related to each of the purposes for reading.
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Activity 2

Activity 2

Essential Question

Why do competing world powers come into conflict?

Background

World War II was a struggle of allied powers against forces of Nazism (Germany), Fascism (Italy), and imperialistic nationalism (Japan). The allied side (the Big Three of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union), however, had its own divisions. The United States and Great Britain promoted liberal democracy but the Soviet Union practiced a communist dictatorship.

The Big Three managed to submerge their differences in a struggle for their lives against common enemies. When the war ended, however, the differences could no longer be submerged, especially since the Soviet Union, fearful of future invasions from the West, established control over much of Eastern Europe, and the United States and Great Britain, fearful of Soviet expansion, opposed the Soviets on many international policy issues.

The conflict among the former allies of World War II, which became known as the Cold War, lasted for almost a half century. It left many to fear that a third World War, a totally devastating nuclear war, would destroy western civilization and perhaps completely doom the human race.

This essential question focuses on how the Cold War began.

 

Instructional Strategies

Strategy 1

Concept Attainment

The Cold War
  • Have students on one side of the room write down on paper what the term “a hot war” brings to their minds, and after they have done that, have them share their ideas with each other in small groups. (Inform all students that they should not worry at this point about whether or not their ideas happen to be “accurate.”)
  • Have students on the other side of the room carry out the same task, except that they are to focus on the term “a cold war.”
  • Have students from the different groups share their ideas with the entire class. It is important at this stage that the teacher accept any ideas students have, that the teacher be a good listener, and that the teacher either record the students’ ideas or have one of the students in the class do so.
  • Have the students use their textbooks and essential knowledge to read about the Cold War. Tell them their purpose for reading is to find out how a “cold war” is different from a “hot war.”
  • Ask them to use the Concept Attainment Chart to list the characteristics of each type of war. Have them brainstorm their ideas with a classmate and record them on both of their charts.

Printable Student View

Concept Attainment Chart

The Cold War

Brainstorm with a classmate and record your ideas about one of the following concepts:

a hot war
a cold war
  

Scoring Guide

Check for Understanding

When they are finished brainstorming, have them describe each of the concepts using the notes from their Concept Attainment Chart.

 

 

Strategy 2

Gaining Perspective Through Interviews

  • Talk about what kind of information can be obtained from interviewing people who have actually lived through the events you are studying in school.
  • Tell them that the perspectives of others on a topic like the cold war may be entirely different from what they read in the textbook and may change their ideas about the Cold War
  • Talk about the following steps in the interview process:
    1. Plan as a class how adults in the community are to be interviewed. For example, will students interview members of their own family? Will they interview people of different generations? How will they collect their information? And so on. Information about Oral History Interviews is available from Using Oral History, a Library of Congress Learning Page.
    2. Have students determine their interview questions related to human experiences and remembrances of the “Cold War”.
    3. Have students carry out their interviews, bring back to class the data they collect, and draw conclusions.
    4. Be sure the students follow-up the interview with a thank you letter.

 

Check for Understanding

Printable Student View
  1. Based on your interview define and explain the term “the cold war”
  2. How are your ideas today about the Cold War different from those you had before this interview learning activity?

Scoring Guide

 

 

Strategy 3

Historian’s Perspective

Talk about the job of a historian. Decide with the class if historians can ever be totally objective in their interpretation of history. What factors might interfere with their objectivity?

Use these web links as a resource for historians with opposing viewpoints of these Cold War topics:

  1. From Allies to Enemies: The Origins of the Cold War
  2. Coexistence and Conflict
  3. From Détente to the Cold War’s End
  4. Reflections: The Impact of the Cold War

 

Printable Student View

Use this chart to organize your thoughts as you read the excerpts.

Cold War TopicMy InterpretationInterpretation
by Historian __________
Interpretation
by Historian __________
   

Check for Understanding

  • Why might these historians have different interpretations?
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Activity 1

Activity 1

Essential Question

How do clashes of ideology impact governments and how people live?

Background

The Cold War had a powerful impact upon policies of government and upon people’s lives. Nations divided over which side they favored in the Cold War, that of the United States or that of the Soviet Union. Nations often gained favors for supporting one side or the other. In some cases, both the Soviet Union and the United States supported dictatorships so long as those dictatorships took their sides in the Cold War, and human rights suffered as a result. In the United States, people read and worried very much about developments in the Cold War, whether this nation was taking adequate steps to fight communism, whether this nation was taking away people’s freedoms in the name of fighting communism, whether children were being poisoned by radioactive fallout from nuclear tests, and whether to include “fallout shelters” in new homes they were building. The Cold War had a profound effect upon governments, families, and individuals.

 

Instructional Strategies

Strategy 1

Using Video Clips to Research Information

Use the following websites for students to learn about the participants in the cold war.

As they view the video clips, ask them to think about:

  • The role of the various participants in the Cold War
  • Their key actions
  • The motivation for their actions.

Have them narrow their focus to these key individuals:

  • President Richard Nixon
  • Leonid Brezhnev
  • Deng Xiaoping
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Journalists
  • Teachers
  • Students

Have the students complete the Structured Viewing Sheet as they view the video clips. Use the viewing sheet as a summary of the information students have learned from the video clips. Have individual students come to the front of the room to talk about what they have learned about one of the people or groups on the list.

Check for Understanding

Printable Student View

Narrow focus to these key individuals:

  • President Richard Nixon
  • Leonid Brezhnev
  • Deng Xiaoping
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Journalists
  • Teachers
  • Students
  1. Who were the major participants in the Cold War?
  2. What were their key actions?
  3. What was the motivation for their actions?

Have the students assume the role of one of the individuals and have them address the class as if they were responding to these questions in the first person.

Scoring Guide

 

Strategy 2

Triptych (three-panel) Poster Exhibition: “The Beginnings of the Cold War”

  • Tell the students that they will use their computer research as they work in teams to create triptych posters for a special exhibition entitled “The Beginnings of the Cold War.” The audience for the exhibition will include classmates, students from other classes, parents, other people from the community, and historians from nearby colleges and universities.
  • Tell them that they can choose from nine topics and that they will be working as a team on two or three.
  • Print out the topics and allow students to form teams (or assign teams) and talk about which topic they would like to do. Talk about the importance of each topic and be sure all topics are covered as teams make their selections.
  • Tell students that this is an ongoing project throughout the course of the unit and that they will be expected to find additional information from other sources including the media center and from class discussions.
  • Tell students that all projects sources used in the research, which must be a mix of print and Internet resources, are to be listed on the back of each triptych.
  • Focus Sheet on the Cold War

 

Check for Understanding

Printable Student View
  • Students will present an exhibition of the posters.
  • A key activity of the exhibition will be a “tour” by each learning group of the other nine projects. Students will ask questions of each group using a Focus Sheet to guide the discussion. This will provide an opportunity for each group to present their project to others and demonstrate their understanding of their own project. As they visit other projects they will also see how their project fits into the total picture of the Cold War Era.
  • One of the most important questions to be asked in the “tour” is that of which source(s) did your team find to be the most useful and why?

Scoring Guide

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Formative Assessment

Activity 2: Formative Assessment

Divide the class into groups. Have each group brainstorm one of the following questions, jotting down notes to share with the rest of the class. Have the groups share their notes with the rest of the class. Have each student use the brainstorming from the group and the class discussion to individually address one of the questions in writing.

Printable Student View

  • How have physical and human geographic factors influenced major historic events and movement?
  • How have the allocation of resources impacted world competition and conflict?
  • How does the spatial organization of society changed over time?
  • What are significant physical features that have influenced historical events?

Have the students create a concept map using one of the concepts discussed in class. Have them present their map to the class, explaining how the items on the map are related and how this group of ideas makes sense to them.

Scoring Guide

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Skills and Best Practices

Activity 2: Skills and Best Practices

Using Maps in Social Studies

The site below provides an lesson plan illustrating the use of maps in the social studies classroom. This lesson helps students evaluate how different types of maps can provide both historical and geographical information for use in problem solving and decision-making situations.

Pertinent questions addressed by this activity include:

  • What topographical changes can be traced through comparing various maps?
  • How do maps demonstrate the view of the world and what countries or regions are significant in the world at different points in time?
  • What political changes can be traced through the use of maps?

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/19990115friday.html

Alison Zimbalist, The New York Times Learning Network

Concept Formation

The site below contains a formal definition of concept formation. Teachers have been doing concept formation activities with students as a component of higher order thinking for a long time. However, few have taken the time to analyze the process as a psychological process.

This site also discusses:

  • How young children first learn concepts
  • Theories related to concept formation
  • How interests, beliefs and values affect concept formation
Skills and Best Practices 2017-09-27T20:28:51+00:00
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