Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Where In Time Is Little Abe? Fostering Historical Thinking with Images

Last year I created a fun contest for students to practice some of their historical analysis skills.

When I was at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C., I found a Abraham Lincoln Doll that I bought to use as my classroom mascot. Each week I created an image where I superimposed the doll's picture over a historical image. I typically looked for images that dealt with a topic we were studying that week, or an image of an important event that happened that week in history.

Famous Westward
 Expansion Landmark
Each Monday I would share with students the image, as well as "Tweet" out the photo on my class Twitter page @litte_abe_213  Since Twitter was "Blocked" on my school's filter, I also placed these images on my Blackboard Course website so students could access the image from their school computer. I looked for images found in the Public Domain as much as I could, or use pictures I've taken at several historic locations to keep copyright in mind.

Google Submission Form
Students had from Monday to Thursday evening each week to investigate a possible time and place for Little Abe's location. When student's thought they had an answer, I had students complete a GoogleDoc form I created for them to answer the weekly challenge.

It was important for students to not only get the correct answer, but to also provide evidence from the image they used to help them identify Little Abe's location that week.

Each Friday in class I would announce the weekly winners and have candy prizes.

I had anywhere from several students to 40 students participate in the contest each week. To keep my expenses down, I usually limited my contest to six winners each week (one for each class period). To help me randomly pick winners I used this handy random name picker from ClassTools.net

I had a lot of fun with this contest last year and I am looking forward to expanding on this concept for the coming school year. Students had fun each week doing this contest, and it really didn't take much time out of my daily class routines.

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