Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration 2009

There is certainly no lack of educational activities available for students to participate in celebrating this historic day. Both Lucy Gray and Lucie deLaBruere were unable to limit their weekly Friday Five list to only this week.

But even with this plethora of activities, I saw an opportunity to demonstrate the engagement potential of using a Smartboard and the variety of "game show" type templates that can be downloaded online to teachers in my school. So at the midnight hour, I added content to this PowerPoint Game from creating a Historical Inauguration Jeopardy Game that you can download to use in your school.

The questions are challenging for even those who've been around for a while. So you might want to modify the rules to engage your students by teaming them with adults who have seen a few Inaugurations. Here are some ideas for playing this Historic Jeopardy Game.

  • Give students a chance to use the Internet to search for answers. Perhaps use the Jeopardy Music as a timer.
  • Have two classes challenge each other with their ‘teacher’ where the students picks the question and has the choice to let the teacher answer it for “half the points”.

You might want to start the activity by watching this National Public Radio Slide Show of “First” for Inauguration Day.

This historic day also generated opportunity to show the power of Voice Thread in student learning. a VoiceThread is an online virtual space that has a unique commenting environment for shared media like images and videos. Students can comment by webcam, microphone, telephone, or text. The Inauguration Day Voices project has encouragd educators who have developed VoiceThread projects that capture the voices of individuals exploring and expressing their own perspectives on this historic event to tag them with "inauguration09". Help your students find their voice today by participating in one of several Inauguration Voice Threads or create your own. If your new to Voice Thread, take some time to explore Collette Cassenilli's Voicethread 4 Education wiki, which is filled with tips and tricks for teachers interested in using this powerful tool.

And if you have not stumbled upon the New York Times Interactive Inaugural Words, stop everything you're doing and go check out one of the best examples of how technology provides the tools to redesign learning activities. This site takes a look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses from 1789 to present. The most-used words in each address appear in an interactive chart, sized by number of uses. Words highlighted in yellow were used significantly more in this inaugural address than average. Just hover over each word to see how many times they were used and click on the word to see it used in context (through the years). I challenge readers to use the comment section to share the "questions" they used with their students that challenged their capacity as "Infinite Thinking Machines".

I leave you with a last gem I discovered during my exploration of Interactive Inauguration Activites - the blog of Larry Ferlazzo. Larry's talent for combing the Internet and discovering the best websites for teaching ELL, ESL, and EFl has earned him numerous awards, but more importantly it is filled with invaluable resources for teachers of ALL students on a variety of students, including the Inauguration.

I hope you enjoy this last minute goodies and share how you and your students celebrated this historic day in United States history.