Tag Archives: EDUprotocols

Primary Source Scavenger Hunt

Recently, I asked my US History students to use the Research EduProtocol to locate a primary source on an aspect of the Gilded Age. Only four out of twenty-five or 16% of my 11th grade students did this successfully.

What I love about using EduProtocols is that they simplify learning and make the results extremely visible. In this case, the indisputable visual evidence looked like this. There was lots of red and plenty of room for improvement. EduProtocols to the rescue.

The next day, these students were asked to do a Thick Slide where they were asked to find an academic definition of a primary source.

Then they had to write a C-E-R to explain their rationale. Most quickly realized that they had not curated a primary source. I didn’t need to tell them. They now knew the area they needed to improve in.

After this, students were ready for another rep to try again. This time twelve out of twenty-six or 46% of students were able accurately curate a primary source. This was an increase of 30%, which is not bad considering that I have five students or 19% who refuse to engage in any work. Plus, an additional two students were absent.

At this point I am wondering how many reps I would need to give these students before 90% or more could accurately curate their own primary source. Of course, the reason history teachers ask their students to interpret primary sources is to move them up to strategic and extended thinking levels, also known as DOK3 & DOK4. I’m thinking that the ParaFLY EduProtocol would be the next logical step. Do you ask students to curate their own primary sources? Do you use established curators like Gilder Lehrman, the Library of Congress or Reading Like A Historian from the Stanford History Education Group? Do you do all the heavy lifting and find your own primary sources? Would adding student choice increase motivation in the interpretation of primary sources?

3XCER Challenge

Thanks to the awesome work of Science teacher extraordinaire, Ariana Hernandez, I was inspired to try the three-way claim-evidence-reasoning challenge with my World History students who are studying Middle East conflicts. I found this great reading by Dr. Sawsan Jaber and asked my students to work in small groups to identify claims of fact, policy, and value

My student teacher Mr. Preston Becker created a Kahoot to help our students do some retrieval practice when learning the different types of claims. After a round of practice in teams, students were ready to dive into the reading. I modified Ariana’s template so that students could all work in the same document and I could monitor their progress. They were given 30 minutes to identify the three different claims and talk about whether or not there was a grande claim — the most important point in their reading. 

Instead of providing individual feedback to each group, I chose a sample and added comments so that students could see where they need to improve. 

10th grade World History student work example.

Where I highlighted in red, I commented that a claim of policy should be made by an institution, organization, or government. This sounds more like an opinion or claim of value. Where I highlighted in yellow, I mentioned that a claim of fact should be able to be proven or disproven. How would you do this? Lastly, for the claim of value, I asked what is an adjective you would use to describe this value-oriented behavior?

Students will use this challenge again to identify claims in their reading of I Am Malala or The Kite Runner. I know that their English teacher and Chemistry teacher both use this CER format in their classes and I hope students will see how easy it is to transfer their knowledge and skills in all subjects.

Numbers Mania Instructional Sequence

This post will describe an instructional sequence using the Numbers Mania EduProtocol, a corroboration activity, and a rhyming game to formatively assess student’s knowledge of the French Revolution. Numbers Mania is a lesson frame from Marlena Hebern and Jon Corripo’s book The EduProtocol Field Guide: Book Two where students create an infographic to demonstrate their knowledge of your subject. 

French Revolution by the Numbers

In this case, students used numbers to tell the story of a historical event. I use this lesson frame to motivate students into reading the textbook more closely than they would if they were just taking notes.  

French Revolution by the Numbers (1)

Here they are specifically looking for numbers that can be pulled from the text and used to tell the beginning, middle and end of the French Revolution. 

French Revolution by the Numbers (2)

For this assignment, my students had one class period to pull numbers from their textbook in order to tell the story of the French Revolution. This explains the lack of variation in their infographics. You can see an entire class period of Numbers Mania infographics HERE. On average my students created five stats for their story in one class period. There was a high of ten numbers and a low of 1 in the sample.

In the past, I have extended this activity by adding an annotated bibliography assignment. To evaluate the efforts of my students, I “graded” them on the number of statistics they included and the number of sources they used. Thanks to Ryan O’Donnell aka @creativeedtech for giving me access to his great templates


On the second day of this unit, students were given a lengthy Sparknotes reading on the French Revolution and asked to corroborate facts from that reading with events in their textbook. 


I ask my students look for areas of agreement in two separate texts. They document them in a Fact 1, Fact 2, Implication format. This helps high school students learn to analyze texts critically and to improve their explanations of quotes they select as textual evidence.


In one class period, my students could identify a low of two corroborations to a high of 16 corroborations of varying quality. The class average was five.

Rhyming Couplets

On the third day of this unit, students were asked to retell the story of the French Revolution in rhyme. They were allowed to work in groups or as individuals. Twenty-nine poems were created in two class periods. 

French Revolution in Rhyme

I have removed student last names in order to publish the poems. At this point, I can turn them over to my ELA teacher colleagues and they will follow up with helping the students review their rhyme scheme, improve their drafts, and polish their prose. Interestingly, when I asked students which activity they felt them learn the most about the French Revolution (numbers, corroborating, or rhyming) — they overwhelmingly chose the rhyming activity. It helped them remember more historical details.


The EduProtocols book series has helped my transition to a 1:1 classroom by making the learning in my classroom visible. This allows me to give students discrete skill builders that I can remix for coherence and consistency. This has helped me get off the lecture and test treadmill. What protocols or skill builders are you using in your classroom to help students demonstrate they understand the content you are teachng them?  

Mix Iron Chef Into Reading and Writing

Students in my 11th grade US History class typically read four non-fiction books in addition to their History textbook. I have noticed that their note-taking skills, attention to detail, and recall of historical figures in the text need to improve. As students advance through upper-division work text complexity increases, yet the amount of reading instruction decreases. This can result in real problems in college where professors expect their students to do three hours of reading in the subject-area for every hour they spend in class. This post will describe an instructional sequence that helps students focus on the historical characters in a nonfiction reading using an Iron Chef protocol, a Who Am I? narrative writing technique, and a video response system that improves student speaking and listening skills.

Iron Chef

Eduprotocol authors Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo developed this tool to help students flex quick research reps in 15 minutes or less. For this pre-reading activity, I listed the historical figures in The Professor and the Madman and assigned them via number on my class roster. Students research the individual, note key details and page number(s) they appeared on in the book, and for the secret ingredient add what we should know/remember about this person. The slide below is an example of what a student can create in less than one class period. Students build their own study guide that they can refer back to and add to as they read.

Iron Chef Pics

Who Am I? A First Person Protocol

The next step is to have students turn their slide research into a first person narrative. Even if students mostly copied information from Wikipedia into their Iron Chef slide, now they have to do the literary heavy lifting of converting it from the third person into the first person. This student has done an excellent job with a minor historical figure from The Professor and the Madman and has even slipped her own confident personality into her script. I can’t wait to see what she does with her video.

Iron Chef Pics (1)

Flipgrid – Engage Your Students in Speaking and Listening

The last step involves using Flipgrid, a free video-response platform that helps students learn via their own videos. For this assignment, the students have to speak for one minute giving the viewer clues as to the historical figure’s identify. As the grid populates with videos, students can view them, take notes, and learn who is who before they take a quiz made up of ten randomly selected videos.Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 5.17.58 PM

This video shows how students can be creative and have fun when engaged in this instructional sequence. Flipgrid tracks the analytics for each grid, which allowed me to see that my students viewed each others videos a total of 2,764 times prior to the quiz. That adds up to 43 hours of study time on the characters in a book they haven’t read yet. What do you think will happen when they encounter each character in the text?

Big Takeaways

What I like about this instructional sequence is that each day builds on what students created the day before. If they didn’t try very hard with the research they put into their Iron Chef slide, then they will struggle to write a Who Am I? speech. If they didn’t put some effort and creativity into their script, then they will have trouble making an interesting video. If they didn’t review their classmates’ videos, then they probably won’t do very well on the quiz.

Teaching students to show up and work hard every day is the most important work we can do as teachers. I have used this instructional sequence to help my students learn about Historical Eras, Enlightenment Philosophes, and people in the Civil Rights Movement. These activities have increased effort and engagement in my classes. Feel free to remix them for your class and subject matter. All I ask is that you leave a comment or tag me in a tweet @scottmpetri and let me know how they work for you.