All posts by scottmpetri

Scott Petri has taught social studies for five years at the middle school level and six years at the high school level. He has also served as a coordinator and small school principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Masters in Educational Administration from California State University Northridge, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of San Diego.

Seven History Reads

Due to my participation in an exciting teacher strike, I failed a friend who challenged me to post seven books in seven days. To make amends I have turned the challenge into a blog post. Thanks to my mother, I love to read. Thanks to being a teacher, I love to talk about what I am reading and share the best titles with my students. Many of my favorites (First They Killed My Father, The Harlem Hellfighters, Hellhound on His Trail, and The Things They Carried) have become mandatory reading in my World and US History classes.  Here are seven of my favorite reads from the past year.

The Audacity of Inez Burns by Sephen G. Bloom

The Audacity of Inez Burns: Dreams, Desire, Treachery & Ruin in the City of Gold by [Bloom, Stephen G.]

Black Hearts by Jim Frederick

Black Hearts
Recommended by a student. This book is not for the faint of heart and probably not appropriate for high school students.

Origin Story by David Christian

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I have fallen under the influence of the Big History Project and would like to see their course taught in my school. I read this to better understand Christian’s work and find intersections between History and the other subjects taught in high school. Some inspiration for interdisciplinary education.

The Congress of Vienna and Its Legacy by Mark Jarrett

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Warning: This book contains 379 pages of bonafide historical research and scholarship. As someone with learning gaps in this subject, this was a difficult read and it made me feel like a big boy History teacher.

The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester

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My work spouse, promance partner, and English teacher extraordinaire Holly Avdul recommended that we team teach this book. I read it the first time and was lukewarm on it, but then I read it a second time and fell in love. This is a great read for students struggling with the academic vocabulary.

Devil In The White City by Erik Larson
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This was highly recommended by my English teacher colleague @scrymscrym. My 11th grade US History students read it and did Ignite Talks on figures from The Gilded Age and Imperialism.

On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides

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Patriots From The Barrio by Dave Gutierrez

Honorable Mention – Some YA historical fiction that I read with my 14 year old daughter. A great story about a real female espionage network spanning two wars.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Homework: Menial or Meaningful?

In my World and US History classes, 135 students averaged a 56 percent homework completion rate after they were assigned 10 Listenwise assignments and 11 CommonLit assignments that complemented my history instruction over the Fall 2018 semester. These stories and texts were specifically chosen to improve academic vocabulary and understanding of Social Studies content. The titles and results can be seen in this spreadsheet.

Because I teach gifted and high-achieving students that take all Honors or Advanced Placement classes, I understand that time management is their biggest challenge. I set up my homework deadlines to be consistent, each Listenwise assignment took approximately 15-20 minutes was due on Wednesday and each CommonLit assignment took approximately 30-40 minutes was due on Friday. This gave students choice in setting their priorities and planning their work schedule. Each assignment was worth ten points, representing 210 points out of the 2,000 points students could have earned over the course of the semester.  My district recommends that homework should not exceed 15% of a student’s grade. These assignments represented about 11% of a student’s grade.

Five of my students chose to write about homework for their final exam. Do you see any themes in their work? The performance task prompt follows below.

In your analysis, define what effective, high-quality homework is, include your homework completion rates, and thoughtfully assess how homework contributes to your education. Support your suggestions with research and data.

homework debate

While some research advocates eliminating homework, other scholarship makes a case for quality homework. In addition to the negative effects on students’ overall wellness, parents are concerned that homework may cause their children to lose a love of learning. Write your own History of Homework based on your educational experiences at JFK’s Medical Magnet and use evidence from the three research articles to help your teachers design a productive homework policy that helps gifted and high achieving students thrive.

Can you describe assignments that have challenged you to demonstrate what you have learned in class, inspired you to try something another way, or helped you achieve proficiency/mastery with a certain skill or topic?

WWI First Person Research Paper

On order to engage my students in the study of World War One, they are conducting a first person research paper that showcases their narrative skills. This assignment was adapted from (Heckenlaible, 2008). I am posting the directions for the assignment now and will follow up with additional posts featuring student work and feedback.Pershing

Gen. John J. Pershing, photographed by Harvey Patteson in 1917. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/00652556/

  1. Listen to 15 Minute History to refresh your memory on why the US joined WWI and use the resources to help you brainstorm topics.
  2. Decide to work with partners or work solo. Then use this form to declare your narrator and story (topic). Each narrative must be two minutes or 1.5 pages per person.
  3. Produce an Annotated Bibliography in MLA format with at least six sources. If a historical detail is not included, then you cannot use it in your narrative.
  4. Use the details from your annotated bibliography to write your script. Document the historical details in your story by underlining them and including a (parenthetical citation) immediately after.
  5. Submit your story in writing or record your narrative for extra points.
  6. Create an Annotated Timeline that includes maps of where your story takes place.
  7. Write a 5 question Quizizz to share after your story has been heard by the class.

To see the directions for a previous assignment, look at Vietnam War Narrative You may listen to three examples: Vietnam War Nurses, Protest Becomes Tragedy, The Last Moments of Elizabeth Hall

CA USH Standard: 11.4.5: Analyze the political, economic, and social ramifications of World War I on the home front. CCSS: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Reading & Writing in Social Studies

Integrating Listening, Speaking & Writing in the Social Studies Classroom

Los Angeles County of Education

November 13, 2018

Here is the deck for the workshop.

8:30 – Reading in Social Studies

  • Bob Bain video
  • Increasing Student Reading in class
  • CommonLit
  • text sets
  • historical fiction & non-fiction

9:00 – Daily Writing Tasks

  • Calendar Conversations
  • SEL Quickwrites & Student Reflections
  • Summarizing & Paraphrasing
  • Corroborating
  • Annotated Bibliographies (mini-research projs)
  • Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD)

9:45 – 10:00 Break

10:00 – Narrative Writing

  • The Power of Narrative
  • First Person Research Papers
  • Vietnam Veteran Interviews

11:00 – Informative/Explanatory Writing

  • Timeline Transitions
  • Twitter as a pre-writing summarization tool
  • Six word stories/bios
  • RAFT writing

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch

12:30 – Argumentative Writing

  • LOOP Writing
  • Believing & Doubting Game
  • MEAL paragraphs

1:45 – 2:00 Break

2:00 – Giving Feedback on Student Writing

  • Self-Review
  • Peer Review
  • Rubric Calibration
  • Road test the Robo-readers

 

Veterans Day Reading

Patriots from the Barrio

Author Dave Gutierrez has produced a well-researched work of non-fiction that examines Mexican-American contributions in WWII. Patriots From The Barrio describes the heroics of Company E, the 141st Infantry from the 36th Texas division of the US Army. This unit was initially composed entirely of Mexican American enlisted men. While engaged in campaigns in Italy and North Africa, Company E sustains appalling casualties against Nazi Germany’s best troops.

Thanks to Azusa Pacific University and their wonderful donors, Richard Webster of the Helen and Will Webster Foundation and Lee Walcott of the Ahmanson Foundation, I was awarded a 2018-19 Keeping History Alive grant to use for an on-campus presentation and classroom resources.

This means after reading Patriots of the Barrio during their study of WWII, my students will be getting a personal visit from the author. They will learn about genealogy research techniques from Dave and engage in student-centered inquiry projects that help them examine untold Hispanic contributions on American battlefields. This project will give them a chance to write those stories, preserve those stories and contribute to the history of their people.

Students will produce oral histories or interviews of family members that can be recorded and shared with the Library of Congress. Further, transcripts of exemplary Hispanic Histories will be displayed in the Library at John F. Kennedy High School. Selected family histories will be recorded on video and shared with parents and families at school events.

Listening & Speaking Workshop

Integrating Listening, Speaking & Writing in the Social Studies Classroom

Los Angeles County of Education

Tuesday, November 6, 2017

Here is the presentation for today’s workshop. Feel free to make a copy and repurpose it for your instructional program. 

8:30 – Listening Instruction

  • Teacher Survey
  • Overview of Research
  • Julian Treasure – RASA
  • Listenwise

9:30 – Listening Drills

  • 15 Minute History – Scramble for Africa
  • Note-Taking Drill
  • Quizizz Formative Assessment

9:45 – 10:00 Break

10:00 – StoryCorps

  • The Great American Listen
  • One Small Step
  • 9/11 Oral History Project
  • Vietnam Veteran Interview

10:30 – Socratic Smackdown

  • Social Darwinism & Laissez-Faire American Capitalism
  • Rules/Scoring
  • Coach/Instant Reply Cards

11:00 – Discussion Models (whole class, small group, individual)

  • Constructive Conversation Skills
  • Historical Talking Tools
  • Speaking Scaffolds (Confidence Monitor/Teleprompter)
  • Classroom to Classroom Video-conferencing

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch

12:30 – Civil Conversation

  • Social Darwinism & Laissez-Faire American Capitalism
  • Tracking conversations
  • Reflection/Debriefing
  • Curriculum Library

1:00 – Creating Speaking Assignments

  • ACOVA
  • PVLEGS
  • Flipgrid

1:45 – 2:00 Break

2:00 – Assessing Speeches

  • Progressivism & Imperialism
  • Openings – SignPosting Language – Closings
  • Rubrics

Improving Speech Openings

Author Erik Palmer is fond of saying “Most teachers don’t teach speaking, they assign speaking!” As a History teacher, I have been guilty of that in the past, but thanks to Chapter 5 (pp.35-44) in Well Spoken, now I have some tools that help me TEACH speaking techniques that help students become better orators.

well-spoken-cover

For this assignment my 11th grade US History students will research an Imperialist-Progressive event/person and create an Ignite Talk that explains how that person is an example of a Progressive leader/movement or Imperialist leader-event-action. Presenters get 11 slides (no more than 5 words on each slide), which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The last slide must be a Works Cited card.

As part of my direct instruction, I include this presentation which contains numerous resources that help my students practice writing and sharing grabber openings, identify signpost language, and execute strong closings. Students have one class period to discuss the techniques, choose one, and write their opening. They post these on a discussion board so that I can read and react to them individually before the next day in class. Because they are short (50-100 words), it is easy for me to read them and offer some advice for revising. 

Palmer offers eight different grabber openings in the excerpt I give to my students: 1) the challenge, 2) the provocative question, 3) the powerful quote, 4) the surprising statistic, 5) the unusual fact, 6) the poignant story, 7) the unexpected, and 8) the teaser. If a student doesn’t apply one of these techniques in their speech opening, I know they haven’t done the assigned reading. Another benefit of having all of these openings in an open forum like a discussion board is so I can spot trends and see what they are struggling with. The majority of my students used #2 the “Provocative Question” technique. Many struggled applying the technique to their topic and I needed to provide additional clarification the next day in class.

First, I googled the definition: A provocative question. Provocative questions are those that encourage a stakeholder to think creatively and laterally. They help to uncover any perceived constraints, and can help to evaluate whether those perceived constraints are real or imaginary. Next, I found another blog that provided 10 more examples of provocative questions. Then, I refined the definition to make it more specific to this assignment — informing an audience about a Progressive or Imperialist person, event, or action in US History.  A Provocative Question challenges the beliefs your audience holds about progressivism or imperialism and helps them think differently about the topic in order to improve their understanding.

Below are three examples of my students’ work. I am interested in knowing which sample you would rate as above the standard, which you would rate as meeting the standard, and which you would rate as below the standard.

Sample A

How would most of you feel, if your country fought for its freedom from one country only for another to take its place? Would you fight for your country’s freedom or let them rule over you? Well, Emilio Aguinaldo born in the Philippines on March 23, 1869, fought against the Spaniards and the Americans for Philippines independence. In 1896 and 1897, he attempted to resurrect the Philippine during the Spanish rule however, he ultimately failed.

Sample B

Let’s say one of your peers was nothing out of the ordinary, doing exactly what you do in school. However, they are favored by an administrator as they have wealthy parents, and follow and enforce everything said administrator has said and asked them to do. But the thing is, this administrator is not employed at your school, they actually work at a far superior, private school. Other schools and the one you attend wish to be like this school and take what they say seriously. So when the administrator advocates for your peer and says that they should become the Student Body President, that they should “rule the school” there is no other choice. Adolfo Diaz was a Nicaraguan president that served for two separate terms. He was only placed in his position of power because he fell under what the U.S. government’s standards were for a good ally. Because he followed what the U.S. told him to do and became their puppet, the U.S. effectively ruled a country that they should have had no power over. 

Sample C

Have you ever experienced an instance where someone you trusted turned their back on you and took your enemy’s side instead? How would you feel if you were put in that situation? Would your perspective on that person change? Well, General Victoriano Huerta, did just that. He betrayed his successor, Francisco Madero, forcing him to resign his presidency, in order for Huerta to take charge and initiate a military dictatorship. Huerta’s tyrannical way of ruling caused opposition to his rule and ultimately led to his downfall.

Please leave your opinion and some justification for that opinion in the comment section below. Thanks again to Erik Palmer for pushing my thinking about how to teach speaking in Social Studies. I love using your work in my classroom.