May 2, 2011

Talk About a Teachable Moment

Mike knows not to wake me up unless it's really important.  It's bad enough that Joey still wakes me up in the middle of the night for "miiiiiilk in a cuppyyyyyy."  I don't need Mike waking me up with his nonsense.  The Phillies win?  Not that important.  Royal wedding?  Not that important.  Osama bin Laden killed?  Holy #*&*!@& why didn't you wake me up earlier?!?!  Needless to say, I was up all night watching my news channels, checking my tweets and surfing the net to soak in every aspect of this event.  This is one of those days that makes me really grateful I decided to be a Social Studies teacher (not that I'm not excited EVERY day!).  I can't think of a better way to spend this day than exploring, reading and analyzing with the Smarties.

All night I was thinking about how to best teach you guys today.  Should we read bin Laden's obituary in the New York Times?  Should we watch President Obama's address to the nation on YouTube?  What about these amazing photographs of people - regular people - reacting?  What about analyzing a Wordle cloud of Obama's speech?  Or a Tagxedo?  How about looking at all the different newspaper headlines? (I especially enjoy the one from the Philadelphia Daily's classic Philly!)

Then, while skimming through my tweets this morning, I saw this one from Alfie Kohn:

This tweet stuck with me all morning and helped me figure out what to do with you today.  Shout out to Alfie Kohn for helping me - wooo!

So here's your challenge.  You can fly solo or collaborate with a group (no more than 3 ppl per group).
  • Decide:  What are the three most important questions to YOU about Osama bin Laden's death?

  • Browse:  Surf the net for all things Osama.  Look for sources that will answer your questions, or at least relate.  Sources can be text, video, photo, newspaper headline, blog, tweet, whatever.  Trying to figure out how "regular" people are feeling about Osama's death?  You can go interview people in the building to capture their thoughts. Take a Flip camera. Make your OWN primary source!

  • Prioritize:  Of the hundreds of thousands of choices, select six primary source artifacts that you think best answer your questions.  You can do two sources per question, or perhaps one is enough for some questions and you can use three for another.  It's up to you.  (Since I know someone will ask, yes, it's okay to use any of the sources I posted above.)

  • Reflect:  Is there more than one answer to your question?  Does it matter who is answering?  How do your precious chosen sources answer your questions?  Can your questions even be answered?  Reflect in writing about each question.  No need to be formal with your thoughts.  Just get them out and down.

  • Synthesize:  Put your questions, sources and answers all together in one fantabulous blog post.  Post it here to 8-1 smarties. 

You have 90 minutes.  GO!

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