|Scooped by Jonathan McGlynn|
BEFORE, DURING, AFTER
The source that i choose to do my BDA for was the civilwar.org battlefield resource. I feel as though that this resource allows the students to do creative work, while showing that they understand the content and overarching themes and understandings of the Civil War Unit. This also will potentially be the most rewarding piece of work that the students will do in this unit, due to the fact that I have it structured as an independent study, where they will choose which battle they want to research, find out as much as they can about it using the documents in the database, and then connected the importance of that battle to the larger themes of the class. Thus, it is important for them to have a strong background in the Civil War, which is why this lesson would not be done until towards the end of the unit.
The first thing that I would do is make sure that they have a strong, and firm foundation into the events of the Civil War, and the conditions through and from which the War came about from. Therefore, it is necessary to give some lectures detailing key people, events, situations, ideologies, and places during the Civil War. This can be accomplished using some interactive tools, such as a clip of Lincoln from Spielberg's movie of the same name, or possibly a few cartoon clips. In addition, i think that it would be very important to give a brief demonstartion of how the database works, so that they would be be going off to do their work blind. This modeling will serve as a basis for how they are supposed to go about conducting their own research.
During their research, i would show them an example. Using a major battle, such as Gettysburg, for example, I would detail what happened, why it happened, when it happened, and who was involved as well as the outcome. Then i would ask what does this mean in the context of the Civil War, and then finally I would ask why does this matter. This will show students how to think critically, and ask thought provoking questions that will help them to make their analysis stronger as well. In addition to providing this example and demonstartion I would also be walking around to students that needed some guidence and answering questions from those that have them. (ideally this would be done in the school computer lab, thus letting them go off on their own, but still be able to have direct communication with me if they need anything)
After i would have them come together as a class, and share their findings and how it related to the overall War. After, I would ask if anyones related to eachtohers and why, and then finally I would ask them if they could group themselves from most to least important battle. This may seem a tad trivial, and a waste of time, or too subjective, but it does not really matter, because what it will do is cause the students to activate their knowledge about the topic, and form arguments that are based in fact as to why each battle is more or less imporant. This activity will demostrate an understanding of the material, but will also demonstrate an understanding of how to critically analyze and synthesize text and content from different contexts and form them into a cohesive whole. It will also show that the students know how to support their own claims that are not based in opinion, but that are based in fact, and evidence from the texts.