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Lesson Plan

What Would Ben, Tom, and George Think? Blogging about the American Revolution

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What Would Ben, Tom, and George Think?  Blogging about the American Revolution

Grades 5 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Eleven 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Wickline

Kathy Wickline

Tolono, Illinois

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Students are engaged learners in this lesson as they take on the personas of famous people of the American Revolution. They write blogs that reflect these people's experiences and reactions to various events leading up to and during the war.  Prior to blogging, students research their historical figures to be able to put themselves into character.  They post an introductory paragraph on their individual blogs that others comment on.  Then the teacher posts an event that happens during the time period, and students respond in character to the event.  Finally, the students blog in character about an incident from this time period.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

American Revolution-Suggested Print Materials:  To understand their historical figures and successfully take on the persona of these people, students require in-depth information that may not be available through just the use of websites.  Therefore, these print materials (or other similar print materials) are crucial for students to utilize. 

Kidblog:  Using this cost- and advertisement-free web 2.0 tool, the teacher can set up a class blog for up to fifty students in which each student can have his/her own blog as well as comment on classmates’ blogs in a safe, secure setting.  Additionally, the teacher must approve comments before they appear on the blog.  If needed, the teacher can set up a second blog with another fifty student accounts.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

According to Grisham and Wolsey, “Community is the soul of learning.”  Blogs definitely create the needed sense of community for the classroom.  Also, they provide students the opportunity to think critically about issues and construct understanding together.  Grisham and Wolsey believe this type of situation moves the traditional teacher-centered classroom into a student-driven environment.  Furthermore, the use of blogs appeals to today’s students who communicate, as Kennedy explains, using different methods than those of past generations.  By combining a current form of communication with a traditional topic, such as the American Revolution, students may be more interested in learning.  Additionally, rather than just for the teacher’s eyes, the students’ online writings are viewed by a larger audience.  As Rigler points out, “writing in a Web 2.0 environments asks students to take a more active role in the ownership of their language.”  They may be more motivated to care about the quality of their writing as they will want to communicate their thoughts precisely to avoid misunderstanding.  Furthermore, the ability to respond and comment on each other’s posts may lead to more discussion than the traditional classroom manner because all can participate instead of just a few talking during the class period.

Grisham, D.L., & Wolsey, T.D. (2006). Recentering the middle school classroom as a vibrant learning community: Students, literacy, and technology intersect. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49, 648-660.

 

Kennedy, Abigail J. “Creating a Classroom Ning:  Developing an Environment for Social Networking.” Lesson Plans for Developing Digital Literacies. Ed. Mary T. Christel and Scott Sullivan. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2010. 81-87. Print.

 

Rigler, Neil. “Blogging the Examined Life:  Expressing, Testing, and Publishing Ideas to Deepen Understanding.” Lesson Plans for Developing Digital Literacies. Ed. Mary T. Christel and Scott Sullivan. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2010. 81-87. Print.

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