Category Archives: Research

FREE Webinar: Implementing the ‘Inquiry Research’ Project

This Thursday, September 22…

edPioneer is pleased to announce the launch of its FREE Webinar Series!  For the first online exchange, I will talk with you about implementing the Inquiry Research Project, which is a great way to immerse your students in modern, global issues via research while giving them their license to drive the learning process!

During this webinar, I will guide you through setting up, facilitating, and assessing the Inquiry Research Project, along with adding in some tips and best practices along the way including sequencing suggestions and pacing remarks.  A live, Q&A session will follow the presentation to address any of your lingering, project-related questions.

Join me for some professional development fun.  Sign up TODAY by clicking on the image below!  Spaces are limited!

(Need points?  Professional development ‘Certificate of Completion’ available!  NOTE: Please speak with your school or district prior to this event to ensure its eligibility.)

webinar_inquiry-rsch

 

Teaching ‘perspectives’ (vs. ‘lenses’)

multiple-perspectives3Teacher: “Ok, teams, for your research, you’ll need to examine the issue through multiple perspectives. Mmm-kay?”

Student (during presentation of research): “When I did my research from the environmental perspective, I found that…”

In courses like AP Seminar or AICE Global Perspectives & Research, this is all too often the talk. And let me tell you the dog’s honest truth…during my first year as an AP Seminar teacher, I seriously thought this was right.

Problem is, ‘environment‘ isn’t a perspective. It’s a LENS. WithIN that lens you may have varying perspectives as to whether topic X is environmentally awesome or not, but the environment itself is NOT the point of view.

Sound like a mix-up you’re either teaching or allowing in your class right now? Don’t stress. It’s almost a rite of passage NOT to know what the difference between ‘lens’ and ‘perspective’ is during Year One. Hence the reason for this blog post…to pave a smoother for you than I had.

Annnnd it’s because I like you, really.

So if you’re interested and want to read on-slash-rock on, head over to the new, blog landscape at edPioneer:

CLICK HERE to read the full blog post!!

Growing & Razing an Argument: Strategies for Understanding Line of Reasoning

image

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Happy Trails!

 

Most Likely to Succeed: Live Documentary Viewing in PBC!

Greetings, Global Penners!

MLTSAre you a south Florida resident?  If you are, I’m cordially inviting you to join me for an awesome, awe-inspiring opportunity!  On Sunday, April 17th, 2016, there will be a community viewing of the documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, followed by an education forum to exchange ideas about improving learning in America!

Most Likely to Succeed gracefully challenges the conventional wisdom for a longer day, longer year, and an increasing focus on test prep.  This documentary argues that it’s “time for another transformation.”  Specifically, it features High Tech High–located in San Diego, California; here, students spend their year preparing for their term-end ‘Presentation of Learning,’ an inspiring picture of what many of us hope for millions of American students…

Check out the Most Likely to Succeed trailer HERE!

One of the goals of this documentary is to inspire discussion between parents and teachers, students, community members.

Anyone who has a stake in education should be a part of this conversation!

This is why the Global Pen is inviting YOU to take part in the movement to #RethinkHighSchool education in America!

As a part of our south Florida community and as a part of some very forward-thinking curriculums where students are at the center of learning via project-based inquiry and exploration (AICE and AP Capstone), I know we have much to say in this conversation…I couldn’t think of better voices in the matter than each of you!!

This event is hosted by the School of Leadership, Innovation, Creativity, & Entrepreneurship.  (Guess who had the pleasure of designing the video below to depict S.L.I.C.E.’s vision?  Yours Truly 😉 )

Here are the invitation details 🙂  DO join us on April 17!  I can’t wait to see all of your faces and hear all of your voices!

The School of Leadership, Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (S.L.I.C.E.) invites you to join us for a viewing of the evolutionary documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, followed by an Innovation Forum where we’ll engage in an open exchange of ideas in an attempt to improve high school education in Palm Beach County, Florida.  We hope that our ideas will inspire a national movement for change in education.

Most Likely to Succeed

Documentary Viewing & Innovation Forum

April 17th, 3:30pm-6:30pm

Boca Raton Community High School, Kathryn Lindgren Theater

1501 NW 15th Court

Boca Raton, Florida

Food sponsored by Benny’s on the Beach

Brought to you by the AP Capstone Program at BRHS

FREE Event, open to the public

Let us know if you’re thinking about coming!!  Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 13th.

To sign up, please visit this link:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/most-likely-to-succeed-viewing-and-educational-forum-tickets-24247314370

________________________________________________________________

What is S.L.I.C.E.?

The School of Leadership, Innovation, Creativity, & Entrepreneurship (S.L.I.C.E.) is just the blend of school (program), think tank, and start-up incubator that Palm Beach County needs.  At S.L.I.C.E., it is our vision to unite entrepreneurial experts from around the world with a focus on innovation leadership.  Students and mentors complete real-world projects that have the potential to reshape the local landscape, while developing networks and sharpening the skills necessary to compete in a globalized market.  By applying theories in practical situations, S.L.I.C.E. students see that their work has genuine value.

At S.L.I.CE., students no longer merely consume content; they create it themselves.  

And while we know change is not always easy, we know that it is necessary, especially when it comes to education.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, only about half of those who graduate are actually college and career ready.  It is crucial that we better align learning with the real world our students will eventually be responsible for, which is what the S.L.I.C.E. curriculum aims to do.  Our visionary approach will be preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist.

What is the XQ America Challenge?

Part of our journey involves our participation in the XQ Super School Project.  This challenge–spearheaded by Lauren Powell Jobs, philanthropist and late wife of Steve Jobs– is an open call to rethink high school education in America.  The project will provide the winning teams with expert support and funds totaling over $50 million over five years to make their “Super School” concept a reality.  If S.L.I.CE. wins this challenge, we will be breaking dirt or rebuilding bricks right here in Palm Beach County, so we’re counting on you to share your thoughts of what education should be because it is our collective imagination that will truly make change possible.

Why Most Likely to Succeed?

Our viewing of Most Likely To Succeed is the perfect access point to this kind of discussion.  It offers a smart and engaging look at education in the 21st century society, exposing the true potential young learners have if we let them lead.  Get ready for an inspiring glimpse at what our school system could look like if we embrace a much-needed movement for change.  

The paradigm is shifting…will we shift with it?   

Together, we can continue to transform our local community and the nation at large by rebuilding our schools to inspire new possibilities, but we can’t do it without YOU.  Therefore, we’re calling on all parents, teachers, students, administrators, future teachers, college professors, local business owners, CEO’s, yoga instructors and enthusiasts, policy makers, designers, architects, artists, neighbors, friends, CITIZENS of PBC…

JOIN US as we rethink high school education in Palm Beach County and in America.  

Please share this FLIER with anyone you know who might be interested in this event!  We can’t wait to collaborate with you.

Yours in Education,

The School of Leadership, Innovation, Creativity, & Entrepreneurship (S.L.I.C.E.)

Core S.L.I.C.E. Squad:
Todd LaVogue, Simon Behan, Petro Andreadis, Wes Logsdon, Jill Pavich, Jessica Murray, Marybeth Bauer, Mary Wilson

 

 

 

 

AP Seminar and AICE Global: A Cheesy Recipe for Your First 4 Weeks

Hashing out ideas, finding common ground, choosing groups based on common interests

Hashing out ideas, finding common ground, choosing groups based on common interests

This post is in the midst of migrating to the great, wide open over at edPioneer.com!

Play Nice: Analyzing Arguments

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Prepping Your ‘Summer Sizzle’: The Hot Seat Returns

Summer Headlines...that's hot.

Summer Headlines…that’s hot.

Now issuing your summer homework…TAKE NOTES!

This won’t require too much effort while you’re soaking up the summer sun, but you’ll be glad you did it when that first week back rolls around…

The ‘Summer Sizzle’ activity is a simple, unintimidating way to immerse students in the real world events that General Paper pursues.  Keep a log of this summer’s big headlines, then apply them to the activity linked below:

Hot Seat ‘Summer Sizzle’:  Instructions/Activity Overview

Hot Seat ‘Summer Sizzle’ SAMPLE Headlines List from 2013:  Sample List of Headlines (2013)

Want more guidance on how to run the Sizzle?  Check this previous post…lots of advice on ways to organize groups, approach questioning, spark discussion, etc…

2013 Blog Post…READ ME!

This is lots of fun to assign for a Friday, and it gives students the chance to be conversational with you about the news…encourage them to be curious!  The GP experience is all about inquiry, so remind them that they aren’t expected to ‘know-it-all’ and that ‘General’ Paper certainly doesn’t expect that of them either.  Instead of just spitting out facts like an Internet clone, students should allow their general understanding of the issue to lead them to new questions; by the time they’ve satiated their need for answers, they should arrive at their own conclusions about the issue and its situation in the world.

INQUIRE –> RESEARCH –> DISCUSS –> QUESTION –> THINK CRITICALLY –> DETERMINE JUDGMENT 

Perhaps as the teacher, you have a few questions of your own.  Take this opportunity to show students how to pursue these curious moments responsibly.  Just a couple of talking points to stimulate discussion:

  • Where might we go for answers?
  • What does it mean to corroborate that information?
  • How do we read for information versus reading for analysis, etc.?
  • Where do we find and how do we identify primary versus secondary information in an article?
  • How do we take what we’ve read and put it into our own words?

PAVICH’S WORKING LIST FOR THE ‘SUMMER SIZZLE’…

  • Santa Barbara oil spill (May)
  • Boston bomber verdict (May)
  • Charleston church shooting in SC

    Top Summer Headlines: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

    Top Summer Headlines: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

  • Maximum security prison break chase and capture in NY
  • Confederate flag controversy
  • Terrorist attacks in Tunisia (also France, Kuwait)
  • Same-sex marriage legal nationwide 
  • Nuclear talks with Iran

Best of luck preparing your list.  Share your ideas on The Global Pen’s Facebook page by responding to this post there!

Yours In Collaboration,

Jill Pavich, NBCT

AP Seminar: Team Presentation Videos

image-PswrdProtectGreetings, Penners!

A post I made this morning has sparked the curiosity of several blog followers, so I just want to take a minute to update you on this mysterious, password-protected piece 🙂

In the AP Seminar course, students are required to tackle a number of research tasks, one of them being a Team Research Project.  During the course of this project, they do two reports (one individual, one team-based), and a presentation.  This is somewhat similar to the Team Task that AICE: Global Perspectives & Research 9239 requires.

As this is AP Seminar’s debut year, my classes have been working hard to turn the abstract learning goals of this pioneering, new curriculum into concrete accomplishments.  Most recently, my student engaged in an official simulation of the Team Project component.  I casually filmed all presentations on my smart phone, but to my dismay, I couldn’t get the videos OFF my phone and onto any other medium (in part because my iPhone 6Plus is a sham, lol).  I tried it all…I iClouded, I compressed, I emailed, I, I, I…I couldn’t muster the tech geek in me to figure it out.  BUT…the blog was my saving 21st century grace, indeed, because the WordPress plan I have allows me to embed videos…yippeee!

Long story short, I will be uploading about 15 student presentation videos to the blog over the course of this week so I can share these with my classes.  Each group will have their own, password-protected link where they can both review their video and see their rubric score.

If you are currently teaching AP Seminar or are interested in teaching it next year, this tool may prove most useful to you!  One ethical snag, however…

Until I obtain permission/signatures from parent/guardians to post this information online, I will need to password-protect these precious artifacts of student work.  I plan to send out the permission form this evening and require parent/guardian yea-or-neah signatures by Friday.  Following that, I will be able to unlock passcodes, etc.  Until then, I appreciate your patience and enthusiasm!

PS…have you checked out Facebook yet?  Did you happen to get the Global Pen newsletter in your inbox?  Get in the loop with these two new Pen features 🙂

Collaboratively Yours,

Jill Pavich, NBCT

Mission G(P)ossible: Operation Debate

The GP End is Near!  Just 6 academic days left before the GP Exam arrives!  The lesson in today’s post is perfect for wrapping up your final week of instruction or as a themed, Saturday Session event; but it can also be used any time during the school year to accomplish the following learning goals:

  • Build content knowledge
  • Heighten hot-button-issue awareness
  • Sharpen argumentative mindset
  • Broaden discursive reach

The GP Situation Room…solving the world’s probs one GP essay at a time

This past Saturday, my students rallied together for Saturday Session #3, where I challenged them to the ultimate GP Mission…I call this one…

OPERATION DEBATE

The activity itself took the full, 3 hours of our Saturday, so if you’re using this activity in the classroom, you’ll want to break it up into smaller parts, which I will slow-down and lay-out in this post:

  • DAY 1:  Organizing Teams/Instructional Overview
  • DAYS 2-3:  Top-Secret, Team Research and Debate Strategy
  • DAYS 4-5: Debate Presentations
  • DAYS 6-7: Essay Session

Cue the theme song…here we go!

ORGANIZE THE TEAMS…

As a bird’s-eye-view point of reference, take a look below at how the Mission G(P)ossible Debate Topics are laid out:

This is a Teacher Reference…don’t share the actual debate topics beforehand because its part of the fun letting them randomly select their Missions without knowing what they’re getting themselves into!  Plus, it’s a great way to get them to step outside their comfort zones in a fun, non-threatening way!

There are 7 debate topics total listed below.  If you have an average class size of 24, you will only need to select FOUR debate topics.  This will put:

  • 3 kids on a team
  • 6 kids total in a single debate
  • @ 4 debate topics,
  • = 24 kids!

Adjust the numbers according to:

  • How many kids you have
  • How many team members you want on a side (groups of 2, 3, 4, etc.)
  • How many debate topics you want to cover

Mission G(P)ossible Debate Topics

CLICK HERE for a PDF version of the Operation Cover Sheets.

Who is winning the gender wars?

  • Operation Rosie Riveter (women are winning it)
  • Operation Ken Doll (men are winning it)
DEBATE: Who is winning the gender wars?

DEBATE: Who is winning the gender wars?

PS…I put the incorrect spelling of “Rosie the Riveter” on my original folder (image above), but I amended this in the document I linked for the Operation Cover Sheets…woops, humanoid moment!  Rosy must be Rosie’s alter ego when she’s really being “I am woman, hear me roarrrr!”

Should international tourism be regulated?

  • Operation Jet Set (no!  don’t regulate it!)
  • Operation Homebody (yes!  regulate it!)
DEBATE: Should international tourism be regulated?

DEBATE: Should international tourism be regulated?

Should any limits be placed upon scientific research?

  • Operation Einstein (no limits to science!)
  • Operation Chucky (limit science!)
DEBATE: Should any limits be placed upon scientific research?

DEBATE: Should any limits be placed upon scientific research?

In an increasingly environmentally-concious society, is Global Warming still a threat?

  • Operation Apocalypse Now (yes, it’s still a threat!)
  • Operation Brightside (no, it’s decreasing in threat!)
DEBATE: In an increasingly conscious society, is global warming still a threat?

DEBATE: In an increasingly environmentally-conscious society, is global warming still a threat?

Are we taking modern technology too far?

  • Operation Jetson (no! technology is appropriate for our times)
  • Operation Old-School (yes! technology is taking it too far!)
DEBATE: Are we taking modern technology too far?

DEBATE: Are we taking modern technology too far?

How justified are the high salaries and bonuses paid out in celebrity professions?

  • Operation Cash Flow (yes, these bonuses are justifiable)
  • Operation 99 Percent (no, these bonuses aren’t justified!)
DEBATE: How justified are the high salaries and bonuses paid out in celebrity professions?

DEBATE: How justified are the high salaries and bonuses paid out in celebrity professions?

Which form of entertainment makes for a richer, audience experience: the theatre or the cinema/television?

  • Operation Broadway (theatre!)
  • Operation Starlet (cinema/television!)
DEBATE:  Which makes for a richer, audience experience: the theatre or the cinema/television?

DEBATE: Which form of entertainment makes for a richer, audience experience: the theatre or the cinema/television?

Feel free, of course, to adjust the debate topics and mission names at your discretion.  I chose mine based on what we still needed in terms of content exposure.  If it’s near test time, consider hot-button topics that you think might show up on the test!

Display the Mission G(P)ossible titles (above) in front of the classroom and allow students to ponder the cryptic names of each; do NOT tell them what the debate topics are!  It’s part of the fun to watch them blindly select their topics 😉

The teacher should select a group of team leaders.  If there are 4 debate topics (which is just about perfect for a class size of 24), you will need 8 leaders (since there are 2 sides to every debate, of course!) to head to the front of the room.  These leaders will then browse the Mission titles and select an Operation of their choice.

Once leadership is secured, these students should then be asked to draft their team of researchers.  Again, for a class size of 24, your leaders will select at least 2 more researchers from the audience to join them in their mission.

PERSONAL NOTE:  

  • If this is the first debate/public-speaking experience your students will have, I like teams of 3 on a single side for a debate…typically, I’ll have the team leader engage in the Round 1 speech of 2 minutes; then I’ll have the other two team members tag-team the Round 2 Counter speech, which is a 1-minute time frame.  
  • Since public speaking can be intimidating, I like the idea of one, more confident student taking control of the first round to get the argument going, followed by the potentially less-bold students having a ‘partner’ to rely on in the follow-up round.  
  • This strategy ensures that all students feel comfortable in their role.  In turn, they will relay information more confidently while getting familiar with being in front of an audience.  As the year progresses, you can tighten this standard, but it’s always nice to start slowly!

INSTRUCTIONAL OVERVIEW

Click HERE for a PDF copy of the Special Intel sheets I gave each team.

Now it’s time to navigate the activity with your class.  Have them find a cozy group spot somewhere in the room, keeping in mind that they have NO idea who their opposition is (hence, the cryptic Operation titles!), so they’ll need to keep their research focus, quiet, and confidential (built-in, classroom management technique to keep down the noise level!  I did it this way to micro-manage a devoted, energized-bordering-boisterous, Saturday Session group of 35 kids…all by my lonesome!)

The GP Investigator Squad...Missions accomplished!

The GP Investigator Squad…Missions accomplished!

Each team will be given their Top-Secret File, in the form of a manila folder.  Inside of this folder, teams will find the Special Intelligence pertaining to their debate task.

Topic Secret, Special Intelligence...should you choose to accept this GP mission!

Topic Secret, Special Intelligence…should you choose to accept this GP mission!

MISSION TARGET = the prompt

RESEARCH ANGLE = the argumentative thesis/central idea students will be researching and upholding in the debate

SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE = themed ideas to get students moving in the right direction as they begin their research; this is a brief, teacher-generated scaffold of ideas meant to inspire more in-depth examples…the intention is for students to take the research and run with it!

SECRET WEAPON = unique ideas that the opposition might not necessarily think of, which will serve as Thor’s Hammer during the debate!

As students begin their research, be sure to circulate the room to make certain that all groups understand their task.  Also, discuss with them how the “Research Angle” provided is actually the

This message will self-destruct...

This message will self-destruct…

potential THESIS STATEMENT for a persuasive essay written on that prompt!  It’s essential they see this connection right away in order to comprehend how the spoken activity will eventually translate into a written one!

If you have the time, feel free to stuff the Top Secret folders with other valuable research tid-bits, as they apply.

For example, I might a print-out of the following link inside Operation: ‘Rosie Riveter,’ who will be arguing in favor of women winning the gender war:

Obama Signs Measures to Help Close Gender Pay Gap

Stuff the manila folders with any top-secret intel that might help strengthen your students' arguments...leave them to find the connections and synthesize the information :-)

Stuff the manila folders with any top-secret intel that might help strengthen your students’ arguments…leave them to find the connections and synthesize the information 🙂

TOP-SECRET, TEAM RESEARCH & DEBATE STRATEGIZING SESSION

For this portion of the activity, we migrated over to the computer lab, so if you’re taking a week for this activity, you’ll likely want to make some reservations at your Media Center or Computer Lab.  Productive noise, welcome!

Here are a few snapshots from Operation Research…

Investigative Squad for Operation "Apocalypse Now!"

Investigative Squad for Operation “Apocalypse Now!”

 

 

I am woman, hear me ROAR as I win the gender WAR!

I am woman, hear me ROAR as I win the gender WAR!

 

Pavich, your activity rocks...seriously!

Pavich, your activity rocks…seriously!

Room-Full-of-Research...I love the buzz of productivity!  GP, bring the noise!

Room-Full-of-Research…I love the buzz of productivity! GP, bring the noise!

INFORMAL DEBATE PRESENTATIONS

Debate Type: informal, have fun with it!

SPEECH SET-UP:

  • ROUND 1, 2 minutes…the argument for or against
  • ROUND 2, 1 minute…point-counter rebuttals to Round 1 opposition speech
  • Audience Vote, Teacher Confirmation  (if they vote the same as you, they get a treat!  This ensure that they vote based on evidence, not friendships or entertainment!)

Once students have spent a sufficient amount of time researching their argument, they’ll draft up a strategy for presenting it.  Here are a few things they’ll need to work out as a team:

  • Who will give the solo, 2-minute speech in Round 1?
  • Who would rather team up with a partner to provide counterarguments/rebuttals in the 1-minute segment of Round 2?
  • What paperwork should we bring to the podium?
  • What will we say if the opposition raises Points X, Y, Z?
  • Who will be in charge of organizing our information on the board for the audience to follow?

Once these final details are ironed out, it’s time to hit the podium!

On the board behind each team, I’ve provided space for them to write the following information:

  • Mission Target/Essay Prompt
  • Investigative Coordinates/Persuasive Thesis
  • Mission Accomplished/Evidence to Support the Argument

Have one student from the group quickly jot the information on the board, OR pre-arrange the information on large post-it notes or magnetic card-stock print-outs for quick swapping (which is what I will definitely be doing next time around!)

Debate Board...the audience should write down the information and take some quick-notes about each subject argued!

Debate Board…the audience should write down the information and take some quick-notes about each subject argued!

Theatre...or Cinema?  Which is better?!

Theatre…or Cinema? Which is better?!

I encourage students to arrange ideas into Hand Approach themes, or sub-points, so the audience can follow supporting details easily.  I also encourage them to use the Point-Counterpoint Chart to draft additional arguments as they arise organically during the course of the debate.

Students can take any notes they’d like up to the podium…

Typed, copy-pasties from online research

20140426-140240.jpg

Handwritten thoughts and scribblings

Either of these sets of notes is pretty free-form, but encourage them to keep a list of their original sources handy as well.

ESSAY SESSION

From the podium to the pen!

From the podium to the pen…speaking meets writing.

Once debate presentations are complete, students will need to transfer spoken knowledge into written communication…let the Operation Essay begin!

You can organize this any which way you’d like, depending on class writing needs.  For example, students could:

  • Write a full, persuasive essay on their debate side.
  • Write a full, discursive essay on their debate topic.
  • Draft part of an essay, based on several debate topics (i.e. choosing any debate topic other than you own, draft an intro plus two, discursive body paragraphs–one in favor and one against–that adheres to the selected prompt)
  • Write ’em individually.
  • Write ’em as a team.

Either way, students are getting exposure to content, finding the connection between content and essay prompt, and practicing the writing craft!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

Hot Seat: Summer Sizzle Activity

As faithful followers of the news, we know the 2013 summer headlines…but how do we teach them?!

Wildfires devastate the West in 2013.  The burning of Yosemite National Park threatens nearby water sources, including the Hetch Hetchy Resevoir in CA.

SUMMER SIZZLE:  Wildfires devastate the West in 2013. The blaze in Yosemite National Park threatens nearby water sources, including CA’s Hetch Hetchy Resevoir.

Here are a few renditions of the “Hot Seat” I explored in each of my classes yesterday as we informally chatted about the summer’s news.  Feel free to chime in with different ways you approach current events discussions/ideas-sharing/student engagement with your teen population…we’d love to hear a variety of these approaches for use on future current events projects!

  • LOW TEMPERATURE…Try the “Boy v. Girl” Game-Style Challenge…inspired by my fellow colleague (props to Ms. Lisa Maultasch!), I split the class into boys versus girls.  I wrote each of the ‘Hot Seat: Summer Sizzle’ issues on index cards to start.  If it was the girls’ turn to go, they would send a representative up to sit in the Seat.  That girl would select a card, doing her best to give “sufficient” evidence of her understanding on the topic.  If she could not, the floor would be given to the boys’ team, who would collaborate as one, collective voice to determine a proper response.  Any boy arguecould then step up as the spokesperson to relay the answer.  If they were correct in their knowledge of the issue, the boys got to take the index card from the Hot Seater girl who could not provide sufficient enough input.  Then, this same scenario happened in reverse: a boy would approach the Hot Seat individually; if he could not provide sufficient knowledge on the selected summer headline, the girls could formulate a response collectively and the best team won the index card.  Tally up the cards won at the end, and voila!  Credit, extra credit, homework passes, participation points, or what-have-you in the way of incentives.  More importantly, a baseline awareness was created regarding local, national, and international news.
  • MEDIUM TEMPERATURE…Try the “Groups” approach…students organize into teams of 4.  The Summer Sizzle Headlines are hanging via index card on the board.  First, groups discussed what they know and/or what they learned via interview about the headlined topics.  Then, as a group, they determine THREE issues they’d like to present to the class when in the Hot Seat.  (It’s amazing how a single group might pick all environmental issues, or all political issues, or all entertainment issues…showing interest in and paying automatic tribute to the General Paper THEMES without even realizing it!).  Put groups in the Hot Seat and have them ‘school’ the class on the issues they chose while audience members draft one-sentence summaries in their notes for each of the issues discussed.
  • HOT, HOT HEAT!…Try the true-to-form, HOT Seat…students elect to approach the Hot Seat on their own accord; they are there individually, as opposed to group support.  Since it’s the beginning of the year, I allow them to pick the Summer Headline they are most comfortable with to discuss.  They begin by explaining the issue in its obvious form
    Local, National, and International Perspectives...such are the joys of GP!

    Local, National, and International Perspectives…such are the joys of GP!

    (expository practice!).

Once they finish up their basic summary, however, I bring the heat: I delve deeper into the issue by asking them questions that span beyond the obvious.  Specifically, I encourage students to look at a single issue from a variety of lenses (political, environmental, social, etc.), and from multiple levels (local, national, international).

Want to know what I mean by this rather abstract bit of advice?!  Well, you’re in luck because I love a good model…

But, patience is a virtue!  Take the extra time to observe the dialogue string below, which models HOW to probe students on the issues, and how to guide them toward GP connections:

So GP Student A walks into the classroom…

Teacher:  Student A, what issue do you elect to explore?

Student A:  I’d like to talk about the recent WILDFIRES occurring in the U.S.

Teacher:  Ok, super!  Tell me everything you know.

Student A:  Well, there are lots of wildfires breaking out in dry states in the West like in Arizona, and California, particularly near important landmarks like Yosemite National Park in the Sierra mountain-chain region.  There was also the Beaver Creek fire in Idaho, I think it was.

Teacher:  So how does this impact us on a national level?

Student A:  Basically it destroys our environment.  Like, when the wildfires hit places like Yosemite, it’s destroying entire habitats and animals and plants unique to this environment.  My mom mentioned the Sequoias native to the region.  Also, I remember reading that the wildfires are posing a threat to the water supplies in California and the Bay Area.  Since water is our most basic and essential need, if we don’t have it–well–people in this area could die.

Teacher:  Wow, amazing observations about the wildfire’s impact on our environment.  Points earned for knowing your stuff!

Student A:  Whew!  Awesome!  (smiles, and relief at surviving the Hot Seat)

Teacher:  But wait a minute, let me approach the same topic from a different angle for a minute…

Student A: (uh-ooooh-face)…

Teacher:  It makes sense that the wildfires are destroying our environment, but how might they be hurting our economy?  Consider that for a minute.  Take your time and think about the connection between fire and $$$$…

Student A: (puzzled face, followed by light-bulb)…oh, wait, yeah…soooo…if the wildfires destroy parks like Yosemite, it hurts the imageseconomy because then tourists don’t get to visit this site, which is pretty popular otherwise.  If the fires destroy what there is to see, no one is going to come to visit it.  Our economy takes a hit because that means less tourists spending money there, whether it be on food or hotel or admission tickets.

Teacher:  Brilliant connections made between wildfires and our economy.  Ok, now that we have a foundation of knowledge, let’s talk about how it can be woven into a GP essay.  In essence, what is the “GP Relevance” of this information we’ve studied?  Well, there are lots of SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY prompts on the GP exam.  A lot of the times, Section 2 of the GP exam will ask you to write essays that cater to the following style of essay prompt:  To what extent can we rely on modern technology to control otherwise unpredictable events? So, Student A, let me ask you this…is it possible to beat Mother Nature with modern tools, i.e  Technology VERSUS Earth, Air/Wind, Fire, Water…?

Student A:  Yeah…totally…I mean, we can use technology to fix pretty much anything today.

Teacher:  Prove it 😉

Student A:  Ummm…well, hmmm…like hurricanes, we can tell when a hurricane is coming.  That’d be technology trumping an unpredictable event, right?!

Teacher:  That’s definitely a start, Student A, but you seem unsure.  Let’s put our heads together to make sure.  Audience, what do you think?  To what extent can technology control unpredictable events like natural disasters?

Audience 1:  Oooh, I know.  Like how Student A said, when it’s a hurricane, we can use technology to predict the path of the hurricane before it harms us.  We have the option to evacuate in advance.  A couple of years ago, during Hurricane Willow, my family and I drove north to my Grandma’s in Tallahassee to avoid the storm.  We boarded up and left.  

Teacher:  Good point.  Technology is definitely a friend to us in Florida, where we are hurricane-prone.

Audience 2:  Yeah but in other parts of the U.S., natural disasters like tornadoes aren’t as easy to predict no matter what technology we have available to us.  Sometimes natural disasters just kind of drop out of the sky without warning.

Teacher:  A valid argument, but where–SPECIFICALLY–have we seen this?  Can you provide a concrete example to further support your logic?

Audience 3:  I know!  How about the Moore, Oklahoma, issue from the summer…didn’t they have, like 10 minutes to evacuate, or something like that?

Teacher:  16.  They had 16 minutes.  Props for the concrete support, (Audience 3)!

Audience 4:  Well what about the sinkholes we looked up?  You don’t even get a minute’s warning on that one.  The one that happened in Orlando came out of nowhere!  One minute you’re standing there, and the next…well, the earth gives way and just kind of swallows you up…

Florida Sinkhole Threat 2013

Florida Sinkhole Threat 2013

Audience 5:  My family and I go to Orlando every year for New Year’s…

Audience 1:  Yeah, so that’s GP relevance on the LOCAL level, right?!

Teacher:  Exactly.  So you’d agree that sometimes we can predict and prevent Mother Nature’s wrath whereas other times we cannot…

Audience 3:  Yes, it just depends on where you are and which natural disaster your area is prone to.

Audience 4:  Yeah, it’s based on the circumstances.

Teacher (smiles)…thinks to self: ‘mission accomplished….’

This is the best case scenario because students are listening to one another and benefiting from each other’s contributions.  Listening to one another probes further thought.  The teacher takes a back-seat, merely guiding, as the conversation unfolds.  The students draw upon the task that was their homework to fuel the challenge that is their classwork.  The highest levels of critical thinking are tested as they discuss the issue together!

What else can you do to immerse your students in the headlines of summer?  Submit your experiences here!  Who wouldn’t benefit from a fresh approach to common practice?!  Pay it Forward!

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

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