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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.