Using Eduprotocols in Social Studies

Context for this blog post: I was responding to a conversation topic about Iteration during a book study.

Last year around this time I received the book, Eduprotocols, in the mail. At first glance, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. It looked like too much math and language arts “stuff”. But, I was going to give it a try…….the book even stated you can read it cover to cover or go to what you need and start tomorrow.

    While reading, Iron Chef caught my eye. It seemed simple enough – create a slide deck about a topic, provide links, let the students design and create.   So, in one night I put together an Iron Chef about Andrew Jackson and ready to use it for my 3rd period class.

    The next day, 3rd period rolled around and we discussed the show Iron Chef then we went through the rules of our Andrew jackson Iron Chef – 20 minutes to create a presentation, 10 minutes to plan a presentation, the rest of class we would present. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces – confused and annoyed. Aaaaand we were off……….

    I set the timer for 20 minutes. Did I mention confusion? Well, let’s add “rushed” to our list of negative words. The timer went off and half the students finished their slide. The other half, well…..didn’t finish. Did I mention they were annoyed and rushed? Now they would have to present.

    They had 10 minutes of prep time to put together a presentation to do in front of the class. Students hate presenting in front of their peers. I cringe when students present in front of their peers. This is exactly what happened when it was presentation time……hatred, annoyed, and cringeworthy. My first attempt at an Iron Chef was a huge failure. As a result, I put Eduprotocols aside and decided to revisit the book another day.

    Even though the Iron Chef was a failure, I knew in the back of mind there was something special about this lesson framework. I loved that students were creating and communicating their findings with others. How could I make this work?

    For starters, I could actually read the book from cover to cover. This is what I did during the summer. The more I read about Eduprotocols, the more it resonated with me. I. LOVE. EDUPROTOCOLS. This school year I made a goal to use them more often, as I was determined to get this Iron Chef thing right.

    The biggest takeaway from the book was using a fun, low key, light-hearted way to introduce each Eduprotocol. Students had to learn the process before using it to learn the content. Before doing an Iron Chef for real, I had students do an Iron Chef on a Big Mac from McDonalds. We compared a cat and dog with the Cybersandwich Eduprotocol. We “frayered” a friend with the Frayer model before actually using Frayer models in class. It’s these little moments that I discovered we need more often when introducing new things to students.

    Here is where iteration fits into this topic…………we do the same Eduprotocols week to week. Once a week, students complete an Iron Chef. Once a week, they complete a Cybersandwich. Once a week, they complete a Mini-Report. As they get better, we use these tools as a stepping stone create bigger and better things such as annotated maps, comics, our cereal box president project.

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