We had our first snow day of the year this week. We also had a field trip to a vocational school. That left Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for learning. As we ended one unit on foreign affairs in the early republic, I found that I was 3 weeks ahead of schedule. I had to make a new unit.
I was asked how I am to Jackson with it being early February. The fluff gets cut out. I could have done my blogging unit from last year, but I didn’t feel like draining myself urging/motivating students to write every day. Plus, EduProtocols help getting through material. The protocols are familiar so I don’t have to waste time explaining and re-explaining.
If I need to improve upon anything, it’s using more formative assessments throughout the lesson. I use a lot of Quizizz and Gimkit as a check for understanding. However, I need to incorporate more things like haiku, 5xGenre, Retell in Rhyme, or maybe some Penny Pedagogies from EMC2Learning.
The new unit I created is a unit I haven’t had time to focus on in years’ past. It’s the Age of Jackson. I wanted to begin the unit with an introduction to Andrew Jackson because he has a lot of interesting history. Here is a layout of the unit I had in mind:
- Students will be able to analyze the impact of decisions made by Andrew Jackson on the United States.
- Essential Question – What impact did Andrew Jackson’s presidency have on the nation?
- Learn about Andrew Jackson’s background.
- Learn some vocabulary (spoils system, tariff, secede, sectionalism, Indian Removal Act, Trail of Tears, Jacksonian Democracy)
- Learn about the Election of 1824 and 1828.
- Learn about the battles Andrew Jackson had with people (Spoils System, National Bank, Tariffs, Indigenous People).
Tuesday – Snow Day
Wednesday – Thin Slide, Number Mania
Thursday – Field Trip
Friday – Andrew Jackson Vocabulary TIP Chart
We used Monday to finish up the early republic and foreign affairs unit. We used the Jeopardy style Gimkit (This is a favorite of mine – I love how you can wager your money at the end) as an assessment. The students did okay (I feel like I didn’t do a very good job on this unit). The averages were as follows: 81%, 74%, 75%, 59%, and 84%. Considering we began in the 40% to 50% range, maybe that’s good?
The class that got a 59%, I had to do something different. I created a Great American Race EduProtocol. It’s easy to set up. I found 17 index cards – one for each student. I wrote a number on each card and a term, person, or phrase on the other side. All the terms were related to the unit:
- George Washington
- XYZ Affair
- Embargo Act
- War of 1812
- Monroe Doctrine
- James Monroe
- Thomas Jefferson
When the data tells us something is not working, then we need to stop and do something different. All too often, the data is overlooked, we blame the students, and we move on. Or, if we reteach something, we reteach it the same way we taught it before. The Great American Race was something different.
The students made a slide with 3-4 clues and a picture. I compiled all the slides together and shared the slidedeck. Some slides I had to help correct. But, I tried to give feedback as the students were creating slides. After I shared the slidedeck, students had the rest of class to find the answers to all 17 slides. This Great American Race served as their assessment and they did an excellent job as most students found 13-17 answers for the slides.
For my other classes, when they finished their Gimkit, I gave the students a Virtual Story Dice template from EMC2Learning. I gave them 2 options:
- You can choose 9 random story cubes to make random connections with anything you learned in the unit.
- You can choose 9 story cubes to retell a story or series of stories from the unit.
The students that needed a challenge, challenged themselves. The students that needed to keep it simple, did just that.
Wednesday we began a new unit on the Age of Jackson. Andrew Jackson is an interesting person. The stories that surround him are interesting to most 8th graders – his duels, carrying a bullet in his chest and arm, being held as a prisoner of war at the age of 13, and on and on.
We began class with a Thin Slide – 1 pic, 1 word or phrase – find the most interesting fact about Andrew Jackson. The most interesting fact earned a piece of candy. I set a timer for 3 minutes and let the students explore. Here are some things they shared.
After the Thin Slide, we transitioned to a Number Mania. One thing I’m tired of is the use of a birthdate as a fact. For some students, it’s a good starting point. However, it’s tiresome see the most basic of facts shared on a Number Mania, or in student writing. I wanted a way around this, so I thought and thought and changed the approach of the Number Mania.
When students opened the Number Mania slide, they read a statement, “Andrew Jackson was nicknamed Old Hickory due to his toughness, stubbornness, and controversial leadership.” The students had to read, and find four numbers with facts, to support the statement. Number Mania as textual evidence.
I also had the students add a title, icons, pictures, and wanted them to be creative. Overall, the students did a fantastic job. I used my new favorite tool – Mote – to give feedback. If you haven’t checked out Mote, please do so. I rarely buy things out of pocket unless it’s life changing. I purchased Mote. With Mote, I leave feedback within Google Classroom private comments as audio. It tells me when the student listened to it. It also allows the students to respond with audio, or marking the feedback as, “I’m understanding,” or “I need help.” Here are the tech tools I purchase out of pocket:
After the Number Mania, I set up a Gimkit Kitcollab and students created their own questions about Andrew Jackson. I love how the questions come up, I can give feedback, and I can accept or reject questions. The students enjoyed creating their own questions, and then play a Gimkit mode with their questions. I plan on deleting some questions, and letting them build their assessment through the entire unit.
Friday was used to learn some vocabulary. I wanted a lesson to get the students, moving, and with no chromebooks. I turned to the Resource Rumble from EMC2Learning.
Around the room, I had 8 chests with a card in each. The card contained a vocabulary word and definition. I gave each student a TIP Chart. TIP stands for Term, Information, Picture. The students worked in groups of two to three filling out their tip chart.
After each chest was complete, the students brought me their chart so I could approve. It also allowed me to give feedback on their paraphrases and pictures. In the process, students earned Legos. They had to use the Legos to create something related to a new vocabulary word.
I wish I could share this resource, but visit EMC2Learning for this and other great templates.