Saturday, April 5, 2008

CUE 2008: Hints for Using PhotoStory (by Hall Davidson)

Imtoo is an application that converts PhotoStory files from wmv's to m4v's for iPods.

Ideally, use fewer than 15 photos in PhotoStory projects.

Create projects in PhotoStory and then MovieMaker to bring movies (or more pictures) together.

CUE 2008: "My Hero Media Arts Curriculum and Short Film Festival" by Wendy Millette and Christopher Cain

The My Hero Project is now accepting entries into their short film festival ( and virtual gallery (

Suggestions for improving video interest:
  • Use a cut-away (show video of something else in the room)
  • Use a B-roll (a video of something off-site from the video)
  • Use alternative directionality of shots, a reversal (e.g., shoot the interviewee and interviewer simultaneously)
Suggestions for improving audio production:
  • Post-production, add voice-overs, music, sound effects
An opportunity for students to share their service learning and content videos is also available at

NCHE 2008: "America's Growing Pains" by Delise Sanders and Linda Flowers

This session was on teaching elementary-level students to engage in historical research. They began with a discussion of using pictures as primary sources.

When reviewing pictures with many people pictured, have each child choose one individual in the picture. Have children write about that individual by creating a story.

When reviewing pictures with much detail, cut the picture into sections and give groups of students one of the sections for analysis. Then, bring the groups together to share their sections and analyze the entire picture.

Have students prepare history reports over four week periods. Work students through the process of reading, researching, organizing, and writing. As students are reading, have them use highlighters to show different stages in an historical figure’s life. For example, use a yellow highlighter for young years, blue for middle years, and pink for older years. Research should take about two weeks and a good resource for helping students organize their research is:
Scholastic Teaching Resources. Grades 4-6 Graphic Organizer Booklets
The culminating projects can include a written report, a display board (including 5-8 primary sources), and a CD cover (including names of songs that relate to the individual’s life).

When choosing historical figures for students to research, choose atypical figures (not Lincoln). For example, choose women spies of the American Revolution or local heroes.

Recommended ideas and resources for teaching literacy through historical children's books:
  • Review Nancy Polette's books that include activities with picture books.
  • Make a commercial out of the front flap information.
  • Create reader’s theatre out of what is in the book.
  • Make a large picture of a person with the body of the person being the book report.
  • Use Dinah Zike foldables for reporting on character sketches and telling, the beginning/middle/end of texts.
  • Draw a mountain and show progression, climax, and resolution in a book. Practice with a picture book and have students do the activity with a chapter book.

Friday, April 4, 2008

NCHE 2008: "Teachers as Researchers" by Phil Nicolosi

This incredible presentation focused as much on using historical documents in the classroom as

History is an action verb and is messy. It is like a puzzle with some pieces missing. The historian's job is to place the pieces together so it can create a picture.

Fisher recommends students approach primary sources using the following acronym:
A - Author (include position and perspective)
D - Date (include context - what else is going on)
A - Audience (to whom is it written)
P - Purpose (why was it written)
T - Tone (words/phrases used to convey the purpose)

When students report on a historical event in Fisher's classes, they must:
  • Include as least one source that is an image;
  • Include as least one source that supports each point that could create a counter argument; and,
  • Include an analysis of each document.
In the history classroom, we often expect students to repeat what they read rather than constructing new knowledge or creating their own knowledge. In a science classroom, students do science in their lab coats doing experiments. In the math class, they work through problems, showing their method of moving from the problem to the answer. They are being mathematicians. In the history classroom, students are often no more than clerics -- writing down everything they hear. History teachers need to require their students to show their work and tell how they came to their answers. Students should reference primary sources and tell how they come to the conclusions they identify.