Industrial Revolution

Below are a few Formative Assessments that I’d use during a unit on the Industrial Revolution through Google Forms.

Before the Unit

What prior knowledge do your students come with? Here’s a vocabulary inventory probe that can be used to collect that data. It also points out to students what things they need to focus on and what vocabulary should they learn.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 8.24.47 AM

During the Unit: Justified True/False statements

Justified True/False statements get students using their critical thinking about a subject. As a teacher, you can evaluate their sophistication of understanding and gather evidence of learning through this activity.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 8.24.05 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 8.24.20 AM

Research Skills

Students must know research skills and what makes a valid and reliable source. In the example below, students are challenged to look at the search query and decide what is the most reliable. On first glance, students might choose the Princeton source because it is an .edu site. However, it is also a wiki and their information comes from Wikipedia, and they might argue against using it. Other students might choose Wikipedia because they often have their work cited, and then students could follow the path to the primary source (or a reliable source). Other students might describe what they’d do instead and share why they wouldn’t use the sites listed.

The justification of their reasoning is more important than what they choose, because it gives the teacher information about the students’ thought process during research, and the teacher can create a mini lesson based on what students need to know.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 8.25.11 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 8.25.22 AM

Final thoughts

Above are just a few examples of formative assessments that probably would not go in the grade book, but would give the teacher a snapshot of their students’ learning, and an idea of what the next step should be.

  • What formative data do you collect on a unit about the Industrial Revolution?
  • How do you use that data to drive instruction?

Photo Editing with the Chromebooks

The AJHS Yearbook Staff would like some ideas for tools to edit photos. Here are a few of the ones I’m looking at:

Which one(s) should we use?

  • First, what do you think you’ll need to do with a photo to add it to the yearbook? (In other words, would you need to add titles? crop areas? resize/reshape it? What else?)
  • Now that you’ve brainstormed what functions you need and what you’re looking for, let’s take a look at some of the listed tools above, and let’s rate them (see rubric below).

yearbook rubric for photo editing tools

Next steps:

Which one do you want to spend some time learning in class?

What tools do you think you’d use? Are there any others you’d recommend?

What questions do you have?

Poetry to Review the Writing Process

Why poetry?

Poetry is fabulous for teaching mood, tone (the reading standards our 9th graders are currently addressing), and specific word choice. It’s also ideal for teaching the writing process of planning, revising, editing, and rewriting.

Lesson idea: Out My Window Project with Performance Art Poetry

Write a poem about their hometowns to publish online for a wider audience to read.

  1. Teach the writing process through poetry. See “Performance Art Poetry” for the lesson idea.
  2. Use to help with definitions and word choice.
Have students publish their poetry through the Out My Window Project, where students write and publish poetry about what they see out their window (or where they grew up).

Here’s the summary of the project:

  1. Take a photo (or find one they can edit and republish — through Creative Commons or Google images with reuse licenses and be sure to add correct citation).
  2. Add text of poem (the easy way is to do it in a Google Presentation then download as jpeg) and/or publish to the web.
  3. Then share out to Twitter with hashtag #omw1415.
Here’s an example by Leslie Pralle Keehn (used with permission).
Snow by Leslie Pralle Keehn


Final thoughts:

Connect to the reading standards of tone and mood while focusing on the writing process. Clearly point out the steps of the writing process, or ask students about the writing process as they share their poetry. Publishing it online is a bonus that is well worth the rewards of an authentic audience, but it’s not the focus of the week.

  • How would you introduce the writing cycle to your students?
  • How does having an authentic audience impact their focus on the writing process?

World History: Ancient Greeks

Unit: Ancient Greeks


  • UW.HS.2SS.C2.PO3 – Analyze the enduring Greek contributions and their impact on later civilization:
    1. development of concepts of government and citizenship (e.g., democracy, republics, codification of law, and development of empire)
    2. scientific and cultural advancements (e.g., networks of roads, aqueducts, art and literature, and theater, mathematics, and philosophy)
  • UW.HS.2SS.C1.PO4 – Construct graphs, tables, timelines, charts, and narratives to interpret historical data.
  • 11‐12.RH.3. Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
    • The standard asks students to create a chain of causation which can be supported by details from the text. When such a chain cannot be clearly built, students are to acknowledge that causation is not complete and clear. Examples:
      • Students will connect the Amendments of the US Constitution to the political developments that led to the passage of each. SSHS‐S3C4‐01
      • Students will analyze editorials from the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times supporting or opposing the monetary policies set by the Federal Reserve Bank. SSHS‐S5C3‐05; SSHS‐S5C3‐06
    • Source: ADE

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Éole Wind via Compfight

Technology Integration Ideas:

  • Use myHistro to create a presentation combining maps and timelines. This tool also allows collaborators to work together. Here is an example:

Your thoughts

What are your thoughts about how you would approach teaching this topic? What resources will you use? What ideas can you share?

American Revolution

Upcoming Unit: American Revolution


  • Social Studies Concept 4 PO 1. Assess the economic, political, and social reasons for the American Revolution:
    • a. British attempts to tax and regulate colonial trade as a result of the French and Indian War
    • b. colonists’ reaction to British policy ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence
  • Social Studies Concept 4 PO 3. Describe the significance of major events in the Revolutionary War:
    a. Lexington and Concord
    b. Bunker Hill
    c. Saratoga
    d. writing and ratification of the Declaration of Independence
    e. Yorktown
  • 11‐12.RH.9. Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
    • Primary sources are the basis on which historians draw their conclusions. At the same time secondary sources often give a current view of past events. Both are necessary when students investigate history.
    • This standard requires students to read multiple accounts of an event and construct their own interpretation using pertinent information from all of the accounts. While doing so, students will note any discrepancies among sources
      • Example:
        • Students write a “morning after” analysis of a national election to interpret trends and predict future impacts on the nation. SSHS‐S1C10‐01
        • Students read accounts, watch newsreel footage and review photographs which document the transformation of society on the home front during World War II, paying close attention to the roles of women and minorities. SSHS‐S1C8‐02c
      • Source: ADE

Napoleonic Right Wheel

American Revolution Resources

Technology Integration Ideas

  • Fakebook page: Are you a Patriot or a Loyalist? Create a Facebook page as if you lived during the American Revolution. Capture the economic, political, and social reasons for the American Revolution on your FaceBook page. (For example: British attempts to tax and regulate colonial trade as a result of the French and Indian War; or the colonists’ reaction to British policy ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence).
  • Research from different countries (for RH.9): Have students compare US History accounts of the American Revolution to those from other countries. Try searching the UK Google or Google in France (ask Google to translate the page for you if needed).

Your thoughts?

  • What resources or ideas would you add to this collection?

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Etrusia UK via Compfight

Water Cycle: Interactives and Choice Board

The Water Cycle

Essential Questions
How is the water cycle and weather related? 
How do land features affect the water cycle?
How do our actions affect water on Earth?

Topic Questions:
1. What is the water cycle?
2. How is the water cycle related to weather?
3. How do land features affect the water cycle?
4. How can weather be predicted?

Learning Links:

What is the water cycle? 
How is the water cycle related to weather?
How do land features affect the water cycle?
How can weather be predicted?
BrainPop (You will need a login after free trial is over)

Teacher Resources
The Global Water Sampling Project (6th grade and older)

Choice Board Activities
You may use paper/pen or digital media (use what is available to you).
Writer: Less than 3 percent of Earth’s water is fresh. Write a speech that explains to people why it’s important to protect Earth’s freshwater resources. Present your speech to the class (live or digitally). Scientist/Mathematician: Measure the outdoor temperature. Based on the temperature you found, what kind of precipitation is most likely to fall now in your area? Compare it to other areas in the same state.
Weather Link
Weather and Health: Make a booklet (paper or digital) that shows what to do to stay safe during severe weather, like tornadoes, thunderstorms, and hurricanes.
Writer: Suppose that you’re a drop of water in a cloud. Write a story that describes what you experience as you continue your travel through the water cycle. Existential: Pretend you are part of a group that helps rescue during floods, what would your job look like? What feelings would flood victims experience. Explain through some of the real stories through the Red Cross. Weather Forecaster: Make up a weather map of your state. Present your forecast to the class. Be sure to use the correct vocabulary for the weather you are describing.
Writer: Suppose that you are an early explorer of a mountain range that experiences the rain shadow effect. Write a journal describing your explorations of the range. Writing: Use what you have learned to write a short poem about weather and the water cycle. Use these words in your poem: air mass, front, rain, clouds.

Essential Question Analyst: How is the water cycle and weather related? How do land features affect the water cycle? How do our actions affect water on Earth? Defend your answers in a presentation.

Choice Board Activities are based on Harcourt School’s AZ Science Teacher’s Guide, Chapter 6 Lesson Activities.


Earth Surface: Interactives and Choice Board

Changes to Earth’s Surface

Essential Questions
How does the Earth’s surface change over time? 
What causes those changes?
How do fossils teach us about Earth’s history and changes?

Topic Questions:
1. What Are Weathering and Erosion?
2. What Causes Changes to Earth’s Landforms?
3. What Are Fossils?

Learning Links:

What are weathering and erosion? 
Sinkholes – Note: scroll down to Earth and Space Science for link
What Causes Changes to Earth’s Landforms?
What Do Fossils Tell Us?

Video Conference Links (for Teachers)

Choice Board Activities
You may use paper/pen or digital media (use what is available to you).

Writer: Write the story of a grain of sediment that has been weathered from a mountain, carried to the sea by a river, and left on a beach. Write from the sediment’s point of view. Artist/Naturalist: Draw a picture of an example of erosion you have seen. Describe the erosion you have seen around you. Describe the stages in erosion of sediment by glaciers. Historian: Research a famous natural feature, such as a canyon, mountain, or rock formation. Explain how it formed. Draw a map that shows where the feature is located. Share with the class what you find.
Writer: Write a report that describes the journey of a piece of rock that erupts from a volcano. Follow the rock from the mantle until it shoots out of the volcano onto Earth’s surface. Scientist/Artist: Create a drawing that shows the effects of wind or wave erosion on a particular landscape or landforms. List types of environments in which either wind or wave erosion would be common. Write a brief paragraph or narrate how wave erosion or wind erosion can affect landforms and, as a result, the lives of people. Mathematician: Identify the world’s five most deadly earthquakes during the past 100 years. Use the number of people who died as the measure. Make a bar graph to compare the earthquakes.
USGS 2010 Earthquakes
USGS Earthquakes
Writer: Suppose you are hiking near a cliff. You see a large bone trapped in rock. Write a story that describes the animal whose fossil you found. Tell how you think it lived and how the fossil formed. Fossil Expert: You have discovered three prehistoric fossils: one is encased in amber, one trace fossil, and one is petrified wood. Draw pictures to diagram each one. Make sure one is also a cast fossil, and one is a mold fossil. Which one is in the best condition and explain why. Which one is least preserved? Explain why. Essential Question Analyst: How does the Earth’s surface change over time? What causes those changes? How do fossils teach us about Earth’s history and changes? Defend your answers in a presentation.

Choice Board Activities are based on Harcourt School’s AZ Science Teacher’s Guide, Chapter 5 Lesson Activities.

Created in 2010