History classes have a stigma of teachers lecturing at students for hours on end about historical details and dates mostly about dead white guys. History teachers especially those in Urban environments are working to change that but the class as a lecture is something that even I found myself leaning toward. It's just so easy to talk and have students take notes; it is also the fastest way to loose their attention and make them hate the class. With Peardeck I have not taught a lecture in my class since.
Peardeck has the power to turn a one sided lecture into a two sided conversation no matter the content and here's how. Peardeck turns lectures into a discussion time or an assignment that the teacher can watch as students work. Both images below are links to example presentations I used in my classroom.
First a peardeck enhanced lecture takes each slide or as many as you would like to turn into a checkpoint for students to see if they are following around or break a topic to them. I've used this in the classroom when starting new content to see what students already know and give then a chance to show me what we just learned during the lecture and using this tool I can show all student responses on the screen completely anonymously. The first time I used the Pear in the class we used it as a game looking at what farmers went through during the great depression out West. Students where paired up, one was responsible for answering the questions on the presentation the other kept track of the points that they were gaining or loosing based on their decisions. I was able to add in little instructional moments as student looked at the benefits of say taking out a loan or deciding where the best farm land was.
Another way of using Peardeck is as a in class or homework assignment. In this example I used a Peardeck to explore Mexican repatriation with students. I gathered a bunch of different resources for the students and tasked them with exploring some of the slides in the presentation. We walked through the first couple together but then using student paced mode I was able to give students control over the google slides presentation and I could then watch the progress each student was making and respond to students that I noticed were struggling or missing a concept.
These are just two examples of how I've used Peardeck to transform instruction in my classroom and I continue to look for new and engaging ways for me to place learning in the hands of my student and give them chances to use their voice in the classroom because that is what is important in learning. Students will learn the best when they are active in their learning and instruction instead of passive bystanders and Peardeck is an amazing tool to provide all educators with that opportunity.
To learn more about peardeck and how to use it check out their website or the google slides add-on to kill your classroom lectures and engage students in a new way!
This semester I had the amazing chance to student teach at Kent Innovation High school. A school that is focused on the use of Project Based Learning and collaboration not just between students but also between teachers. I found myself in a room with of course my Cooperating Teacher (CT) and an english teacher. All of my history lessons were crafted with the english teacher in a way that students would learn historical content and english writing skills. My eyes have been opened to this new form of teaching and I hope to take this into my classroom someday even if it's just me making a conscious effort to work with an english teacher or any other teacher in my school.
One example of this collaboration at work was a lesson we did about the dust bowl when studying the Great Depression. We wanted students to understand the plight of those living out West. So I created an interactive presentation with Peardeck that students went through as a class. Kids were put in the shoes of farmers and tasked with trying to make money, they would buy supplies, plant crops, have the chance to take out loans to expand their farms. All was well... till the dust bowl hit. The activity was designed in a way that students would not make it out well. We unpacked what we learned as a group and then gave students their mini project for the week.
The chaos in the West gave the president reason to travel the coast trying to get people to understand that they needed to help out the farmers in the East. Students were tasked with writing a speech of their own and recording it on Flipgrid. The english focus of this project cycle was argumentative writing. Students once their video was recorded were responsible for responding to a classmates video and trying to find holes in their arguments. The original group would then come back with a rebuttal. This more tangible approach to arguments helped students start develop the right mindset before we dove into the actual writing.
I have seen first hand how history can come alive to kids even when learning about the details of the past if the content is engaging and relevant. This lesson ended with students looking at global events and how they might come to effect our country or even their own lives in the same way the dust bowl didn't directly affect those in New York but it would hurt them when less food was made and farmers didn't buy new equipment from the factories out East. That's what makes history jump off the text books and into kids lives. I like to think that I teach life lessons... and history, english or another subject is a vehicle my class will use.
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