It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. As cyclical as education is, it’s almost impossible not to.
We do the same activities year in and year out — even if we’re constantly trying to reinvent our classes. It happens to the best of us.
Twitter is a great way to get unstuck. It also helps others to get unstuck. Kudos to Jane Highley for that.
She recently posted a question that caught my attention:
How can designing a timeline be a rigorous activity?
Higher-order thinking and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge have been top of mind for me. (I spent some time recently with Alice Keeler, my co-author for Ditch That Homework. Spend more than 15 minutes with her and you’ll hear her say “DoK”. And that’s a good thing.)
Timelines. Poster projects. Brochures.
Any traditional activity can be put through the DOK/higher-order thinking process. Take an old, tired activity and put a deeper spin on it.
Here were some suggestions I gave Jane for her students’ timelines:
1. Compare timeline with another from history (or with present times). Compare/contrast kicks the Depth of Knowledge up to DoK level 2: Skills and concepts. Some ways to compare/contrast:
2. Identify problems and give advice to people of that time. Giving advice kicks the DoK up to level 3: Strategic thinking. Some questions to ask/answer:
3. Create a new ending. This also kicks the DoK up to level 3: Strategic thinking. This is like putting a fork in your timeline. There’s the way it happened and the way it could have happened. Ways this could be done:
4. Categorize events. Tagging events on a timeline can help students make sense of them and what the timeline says as a whole. It kicks the DoK up to level 2: Skills and concepts. A deeper explanation of why they’re categorized the way they are takes it up to level 3: Strategic thinking.
Some ways to categorize items on a timeline:
5. Identify common themes. What does the timeline say as a whole? This kicks the DoK up to level 2: Skills and concepts. Explanation and justification of those themes can bring it up to DoK level 3: Strategic thinking.
The themes could be added above or below the timeline. Think of them as a headline or a title. A subheadline or secondary title could be added to give further explanation, like a secondary title better explains a vague title of a book.
Several tools can help you create timelines, like:
[reminder]How else can we kick up the thinking in a timeline activity? What other advice do you have for Jane? What other tools can we use?[/reminder]
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