Friday, October 17, 2014

Validity Assessment: Student Tool for Evaluating Online Content

A few weeks ago, I collaborated with social studies department members and our new library media specialist to develop a tool for students to evaluate online content on a regular basis.  Students will complete this Validity Assessment Form throughout the year whenever they rely on an online source for an assignment.  (I also incorporate this with our Current Event Day assignments)

The 5 main criteria include: Accuracy, Authority, Coverage, Timeliness and Design.  

As always, feel free to modify and use as you wish, feedback greatly appreciated! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Revisiting "Current Events Day"

Like most (if not all) social studies teachers, I find it an essential responsibility to infuse discussion of current events into the curriculum.  As I shifted towards a flipped-mastery system a few years ago, the designated "current events day" took a back seat.  I instead attempted to incorporate these discussions into the daily warm-ups or unit assignments themselves.

After some reflection this fall, I decided that I should bring back class days that are specifically devoted to contemporary issues.  The mastery model takes a breather for this day so that all students can dive into conversations that are specifically relevant to the happenings of today's world. 

I also streamlined students' preparation for these days with this assignment (also embedded below) to help students locate, evaluate, and take positions on these issues.  Their Google Form submissions also help manage our discussion as each student's response and live link to their current event resource is easily available in the responses spreadsheet.  So whether students commented on an article, video, political cartoon, etc., it is easy to project it for the rest of the class to view as we engage in discussion.  (See Screenshot Below)

The first couple "Current Events Days" have gone very well, and this assignment format is preferable for myself, and more importantly, the students.  Although we need to work on effective debate/dialogue techniques during these discussions, students' interest, passion and enthusiasm are palpable.  I couldn't ask for a better starting point for the year....

Assignment form embedded below, feel free to modify and use as you wish.  Feedback also greatly appreciated!