8th Grade History-Cold War, Civil Rights and Vietnam Unit

Unit Reflection/Evaluation

Mr. Taft and his 8th Grade History students will be completing their year with a unit on the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, and Vietnam. The intention is to take the unit that they've typically done with their paper based unit notebooks and make it digital. An outline for the unit follows.

Rationale - Over the course of the year, students in 8th grade history have done an enormous amount of pencil and paper work in and out of class, including traditional note-taking, written assignments, tests, and collaborative work. Technology has been infused throughout the year in isolated instances, including heavy internet use, communication through email, recording of student readings, blog postings, and creations of wikis. This venture offers an exciting and different method of taking notes, presenting information, sharing ideas, and assessing student learning. We plan on using this unit as a guide for a proposed collaborative presentation at the National Middle School Convention in November, and possibly at the National Council for the Social Studies in December.

Potential Unit Tools (software, hardware, etc):
Software: Wikis (wikispaces), blogs (blogger.com), google docs, sound recording software, video sharing websites (youtube/google videos), school subscription services (CLIO, unitedstreaming, etc), podcasting software (either Garageband on the Mac or audacity on PC)

Hardware: MS Laptop cart, MS Lab, LS Lab, Mac Lab, student owned cameras, cheap video recording devices (eg-cell phones,

DC Trip Task/Follow-up Project:
Task-students should be on the lookout for photo opportunities dealing with this era. eg-JFK, Vietnam memorial, National Mall, Lincoln Memorial (site of ML King's great speech obviously), etc. These pictures could potentially be used as a part of a digital storytelling assignment in this unit or on blog posts, wiki pages, a podcast, etc.

Another possibility - students get name rubbing of a soldier from Milwaukee, use the internet to complete some research of the soldier's life, and writes a letter to the soldier (posthumously) discussing their thoughts on the vietnam War and the sacrifices of the men and women who served

Chuck's department for starters
Student self reflection, student assessment, and student feedback on use of technology

Potential Student Tasks:
**//Oral history//**-record an interview of an individual who lived through one of these time periods. Final oral histories could be edited and then shared via the web (it would be cool to include a "then and now" digital photo of the interviewee if possible). Interviews can be transcribed or digital audio can be included, followed by a summary and reflection of the student)
WWII Japanese American Veteran Oral History Project
American Veteran Oral History Project

Podcast - possibility of a video podcast from one of the major events of the Civil Rights movement. Students can complete partner research on a major event (Montgomery Bus Boycott, Little Rock Nine, Greensboro and Nashville Sit-ins, Freedom Summer, Freedom Riders, Birmingham 1963, March on Washington, Selma 1965), write a "we were there" account of the event, record a podcast with images using Garageband, post online and on iTunes.

Monument/Memorial Proposal - Task: Students design and develop a memorial/monument exhibit to commemorate the Civil Rights Movement

Note taking - either in the form of individual note taking, or collaborative note taking (a shared document in google docs would be great for this...or a wiki page obviously) - topics can/will include introduction to Civil Rights movement, grading the realization of MLK's "dream", origins of the Cold War, the Korean War, involvement in Vietnam

Reflection activities-respond to student or teacher posted blog posts (something that they've done quite a few times this year)
  • Respond to the following unit essential questions:
  1. Were the 50s really "Happy Days?"
  2. What is the legacy of Vietnam?

Online Quiz via Class Server

Youtube/Google Video post
Below is an example of an embedded video from youtube...this is an FDR Tribute video:

Movie/Book review-review a movie/book from this era-publish review in the form of a blog post

Discussion-Students could potentially utilize the discussion feature built into the wiki software to maintain a threaded discussion board on a question or topic.

Digital ISN Binder - Students will maintain much of their ISN using digital tools. We're still trying to determine which tool (either a wiki, blog, or google docs) would be most appropriate for this purpose. Students need a tool that would allow word/pdf handouts from Mr. T to be uploaded and logged.

Below is a sample word file that I uploaded as a test:

PDF File Upload:

The ISN Table of Contents (not sure what Mr. T calls this specifically) could be done in the form of a table on their Wiki:

Turning Points ISN Binder

Date Received
Handout Description
Sample word file uploaded to wikispaces page

Sample pdf file uploaded to wikispaces page