Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Age of Discovery? Exploration?


UP NEXT: Why were the Europeans the ones doing the "exploring?"

Renaissance Projects Showcase
We finally had our Renaissance showcase on Monday. I divided the students from both classes into four groups based on topic and/or format in the hope that each group had 12 projects to explore that would expand their thinking on the topic, and maybe even inspire them to try something new themselves next time. They were asked to complete a guide as they did so, eventually determining which projects demonstrated the best outcome in each of our four assessment categories. Due to the weather and lots of late busses, the showcase was a little messier than planned. Now, I start the task of reviewing each student's work, using their reflections and completed assessment tools to help me.

The Bridge Between Then and Now: The Age of Exploration
My approach this year with this curriculum is to really focus on our place in history, and ensure students are aware that history is not just dead people and events, and that there are always multiple narratives and perspectives to consider.

Is this a more accurate image of history?
And so, with that in mind, we started on the Age of Exploration with a  lecture and class discussion, that included another Crash Course History video!

We need to critically consider the Age of Exploration, and our guiding question will help us:

Why were the Europeans the ones doing the "exploring?"

The Crash Course video already has us critically considering this through its exploration of Zheng He and Vasco de Gama alongside Columbus. By the end of next week, students will have a possible answer to this question!

We are also using the textbook (pp. 94-115, 120) for this portion of our study, and we talked this morning about how to take good notes. Some pointers are:
  • Write as little as possible, but include as much information as possible (we did an example of this).
  • Consider the Talking to the Text strategies.
  • Create a vocabulary section.
  • Pay close attention to any lists you encounter as lists usually break down big ideas, and also, teachers often use those for test questions. ;)
  • Use the tools available to you: bulleted/numbered lists, fonts, colours, size, underlining/bold/ italic text to organize your notes. Your brain does not easily process large chunks of unbroken text.
Students will finish their notes in Monday's class.

Writing Skills
In last week's post, I mentioned that we would do some targeted work on writing this week and next. Students wrote a long answer question on their Renaissance exams, and as I read through them, I thought they would benefit from some lessons on organization. We are starting at rock bottom with the much-maligned 5-paragraph essay; the only way from here is up!
Intro Paragraphs from Jaime Groeller on Vimeo.