Monday, August 11, 2008


Read this document on Scribd: CTGE59100EmpireRubric


Task 1: Collecting all the pieces.

  • Under the supervision of your Editor-in-Chief, assemble all the pieces of your newspaper project. There is a checklist below to help you.

  • Remember: The Editor-in-Chief must approve that the newspaper is ready for publishing.

  • Print out all the pieces of your newspaper and assemble them into a finished piece.

  • Show them to Mr. Matthew for final approval.

  • Task 2: To the newspaper stand!

  • All of your class’s newspapers have been assembled and are waiting to be read.

  • At your own pace, read the other groups’ newspapers and take notes in your History Journal.

  • Record information for your empire NOT found in your newspaper.

  • Record the five W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why) for the articles in the empire newspaper you did not study. (E.g. Islamic Empire records 5 W’s for the Byzantine Empire; Byzantine Empire records 5 W’s for the Islamic Empire.)

    Task 1: Proofreading.

    • Print your articles.

    • Exchange with someone else in your group.

    • No one should have his or her own paper.

    • Proofread the article using the proofreading marks you learned in English class with Ms. C.

    • Show it to the production manager for his or her approval.

    • Edit your article and save.

    Task 2: Historic Photo Hunt.

    • Now that you’ve got your articles written, it’s time to find some illustrations to go with them.

    • Using GoogleImages, find a suitable illustration for your article.

    • Remember, you must have a good reason for choosing that particular image.


    • When you find the image that you want, explain to your Photo Editor why you chose that particular image. The Photo Editor will record your reason in Mr. Matthew’s Illustration Log.

    • Copy and paste the image into your article and write a caption.

    • Remember: the caption needs to explain the image and why it is in your article.

    Task3: Final Touches.

    • Download a printable map and mark down the borders of your empire.

    • Go to PuzzleMaker and create a crossword puzzle using vocabulary that is specific to understanding your empire.



    Task1: Conflict

    • Watch the interactive map below.

    • Do you see the Byzantine and Islamic Empires on the map?

    • After viewing the map and conducting your research, what kind of conflicts do you think these two empires might have had?

    • Record your answers in your History Journal.

      Task 2: Preparing to write.

      After all the fantastic research you conducted yesterday, you and your group are ready to begin planning your articles.

    • Click HERE to print out the article planning sheets below.

      Use the information you found in your research and the planning sheets to prepare your article.

      If you have difficulty, ask your group members for help.

      Remember: Mr. Matthew will answer questions only after you ask your group members first, and then only from the Editor-in-Chief.

    Task 3: Writing your articles.

      Now it's show time! You've done your research. You've planned your articles. Now it's time to write your articles.

      Open the word processing program that you like better, either Word or Pages.Write your article.

      Remember to be professional: use only Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia fonts; 12 pt.

      Save your file as "YourNameGroup#ClassLetter." AND SAVE OFTEN!


    Task 1: Let the research begin . . .

    Graphic Organizers

    Read this document on Scribd: CTGE59100EmpireNotetakingOrganizer


    Alright, young historians. Let the research begin . . .

    Task 1: Video Visits.

    You all have been divided into groups according to your choices. I want you to:

    • Visit the YouTube video about your empire.

    • By yourself: What impressed you most about this empire?

    • With your group: What would it have been like to be a visitor to this empire? How would you feel?

    • Discuss these questions with your group. Be prepared to share with the class.

    Byzantine Video
    Islamic Empire Video

    Task 2: Role Time.

    Just like every other newspaper, from the New York Times to the New York Post, each group member will have a different job.

    • Read the descriptions of jobs Mr. Matthew has passed out.

    • Think about what your strengths are.

    • Discuss with your group who will take what job.

    • Record the job assignments in the sign-up sheet that Mr. Matthew is carrying.

    Task 3: Department Assignments.

    Next, each of you is responsible for writing one article on a particular topic. With your group:

    • View the article menu below.

    • Decide who will cover what department assignment.

    • Record these department assignments in the second sign-up sheet that Mr. Matthew is carrying.

    1. Important Events 2. Art and Architecture 3. Science and Technology 4. Famous People

    Read this document on Scribd: CTGE59100EmpireProjectMenu


    Task 1: Take a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Before we begin, let’s have a look at look at some artifacts from each of these empires. Then you will have a better idea of which empire you would like to study.

    • Find a partner.

    • Visit each of these locations.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art: Byzantine Empire

    Metropolitan Museum of Art: Islamic site

    • With your partner, choose two artifacts from each empire.

    • Describe the artifact. Record your answers in your History Journal.

    • What does it look like? (Color, shape, size, texture.)

    • What do you think it was used for? Where would it be placed? What can it tell you about the empire?

    • Remember the work we did with ancient artifacts from Mesopotamia and Egypt. You will use the same skills here.

    Task 2: Reading

    • Find a different partner.

    • Complete a popcorn reading for each of the short texts I have provided you. These are from our Longman History text.

    • For each text write down in your History Journal:

    1. One interesting fact.

    2. One question you have.

    Task 3: Choosing your empire. (This one you have to do by yourself.)

    Now that you’ve had a chance to preview these two Great Empires you can choose one to research.

    • Go to the survey website and answer the questions.

    • Answer these questions by yourself. (Don’t worry about what your friend is choosing.)


    Empire Journalists Needed!

    Mr. Michael needs the Global Studies team to travel back in time to report on some of the Great Empires of the world. One of the reasons these empires were so great is that they made lasting changes in the world, almost like gifts to civilization. We call these things contributions. One way they were able to change the world is through sharing ideas, products, and other aspects of culture with many different people. We call this cultural diffusion. For example, did you know that Italians eat pasta because Marco Polo brought it back with him from China?

    Your Mission
    You and your newspaper team must travel back in time and learn all about either the Byzantine Empire or the Islamic Empire. Your team of journalists then will write and publish a newspaper with all the information that you have gathered on your trip, and share it with all the other teams.

    To help you out, being the fantastic teacher I am, I have broken down the assignment for you all . . .

    Part I: Research

    • Research the different events, people, and contributions that are most important to your empire.

    Part II: Article Writing

    • Use the information that you have gathered to write a rough draft of your article.

    • Decide on an illustration to include with your article.

    • Revise your article to make it the best example of your writing.

    • Publish the final draft of your article.

    Part III: Publication

    • Combine all your articles into the different sections of your newspaper.

    • Include maps.

    • Include crossword with essential vocabulary.

    • Share your newspaper with the other teams.

    • Learn about what the other teams have reported about their empires.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008


    Lesson Plan: Educational Technology Student Project

    Matthew Hoffman
    Fordham University
    August 4, 2008

    The Empire Newspaper Project

    Teaching Situation
    International High School at Lafayette Educational Complex
    Grades 9/10
    25 Students
    ESL Levels: Beginner/Intermediate
    Class Length: 60 minutes

    Great Empires of the Middle Ages—The Byzantine and Islamic Empires (Global History/ESL)

    • ESL Standard 1: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for information and understanding.

    • ESL Standard 3: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for critical analysis and evaluation.

    • ESL Standard 4: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for classroom and social interaction.

    • World History Standard 2: Use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

     Key Idea 2: Establishing timeframes, exploring different periodizations, examining themes across time and within cultures, and focusing on important turning points in world history help organize the study of world cultures and civilizations.

     Key Idea 3: Study of the major social, political, cultural, and religious developments in world history involves learning about the important roles and contributions of individuals and groups.

    o Educational Technology Standard 1. Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

    o Educational Technology Standard 2. Communication and Collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others

    o Educational Technology Standard 3. Research and Information Fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

    o Educational Technology Standard 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

    • SWBAT compose news articles in English on one aspect of an historical empire.
    • SWBAT explain the cause and effect relationships within individual areas of study.
    • SWBAT use technology to access various types of English-language media in order to research for information and understanding.
    • SWBAT use technology to produce a professional quality publication.

    Instructional Materials/Resources:
    Laptop computers
    Internet access
    Printed text for research purposes
    Word processing software (ideally Microsoft Word or Apple Pages)

    Technology Included in Blog:
    Screen Shots
    Embedded documents for viewing and printing
    Video (via YouTube and educational websites)
    Crossword Puzzle generators
    Online text and research materials
    Virtual tours of museums


    For detailed description of student activities, please refer to blog post entitled “Global History Project: Student.” The procedures described here pertain mainly to management.

    Session 1: Students are introduced to project.

    • According to routine, all students collect their History Journals at the beginning of class.
    • Students sit at tables of four and told they will be working in pairs for the day.
    • Computer monitors pass out laptop computers to each pair. (This procedure is routine and is followed each day of the project.)
    • Instruct students to open the GlobalHistoryESL blog.
    • Students take turns reading the introduction with their partner.

    Task 1: Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • This task is intended to give the students some background information before they begin the project.
    • Students enter websites and record responses in journals.
    • Teacher monitors student work, helping as needed.

    Task 2: Reading
    • Students choose a different partner.
    • Teacher passes out reading material and conducts shared reading of the text popcorn style.
    • Students answer questions with their partner.

    Task 3: Survey
    • Monitor students as they fill out survey.
    • Be sure that students fill out survey according to their own interests and not their best friend’s.
    • Surveys are sent by SurveyMonkey will email results.
    • Teacher can assign groups according to interest and ability.

    Session 2:

    Teacher helps students transition into newly formed groups of four.
    Groups are homogeneous regarding interest, heterogeneous regarding language and skill level.

    Task 1: Video Visits
    Task is intended to build interest and background knowledge.
    Students open GlobalHistoryESL blog and watch short YouTube videos on respective empires and answer questions.
    Teacher facilitates class share out.

    Tasks 2 and 3: Group roles
    Students assign each other roles within the group and articles to research using descriptions on the blog.
    Teacher answers student questions if needed.

    Session 3: Research
    Teacher begins lesson by making sure each group member is aware of their responsibilities.
    Teacher facilitates discussion on available research materials in the classroom, including materials found on the blog and traditional texts.
    Students begin research, teacher assists.

    Session 4:

    Task 1: Conflict
    Task designed to encourage higher order thinking, making connections and inferences based on prior knowledge and new information.
    Students complete activity from blog and record answers in journal.

    Task 2: Preparing to write.
    Students download graphic organizers from link on the blog and reorganize their information into standard newspaper article format.
    Teacher scaffolds for students who need assistance.

    Task 3: Writing articles
    Students use word processing software to write articles.
    Teacher scaffolds as needed.
    Teacher monitors use of font and file-saving procedures.

    Session 5:

    Task 1: Proofreading
    Teacher monitors printing.
    Teacher guides students through proofreading of their articles.

    Task 2: Historic Photo Hunt
    Students search for illustrations in GoogleImages.
    Teacher monitors for appropriate and responsible internet use.
    Teacher monitors for comprehension.

    Task 3: Final Touches
    Students assemble final pieces of newspaper project: crosswords and maps.

    Session 6: Publishing Party

    Task 1: Collecting all the pieces
    Teacher monitors students as they print and assemble newspapers.

    Task 2: To the newspaper stand!
    Students participate in modified form of a gallery walk as they view student work.
    Task 3: And now the world . . .
    Students, with teacher assistance, post work online using tools like Scribd.

    Assessment and Evaluation:
    • Students complete self-evaluation/reflection guides.
    • Informal assessments via interviews and short answer questions allow teacher to assess students’ needs.
    • Students will be assessed formally as a group through their final project, the Empire Newspaper, and individually via each article.


    Creating this blog as a platform for students to work from was a new and informative experience for me. I am somewhat comfortable planning curriculum, and I am working on improving my strategies to help language learners access content. The idea of providing an almost completely self contained project online is very exciting for several reasons.

    First, I see it as an organizational aid. Most material for the students can be found in one spot. It cannot, except in extreme circumstances, become lost or damaged. It can also be accessed at home or at some public facilities like the library, giving students ample opportunity to work. Second, I see the technology as being a motivator for my students. Whether or not it serves to entrench negative tendencies, this approach will at least remove the conflict of fight for my students’ attention as I explain processes or pass out materials. Third, as a result of the first two reasons, I see behavior management problems decreasing. Lastly, as a learning experience, I am excited at the new technologies and skills I was forced to use in order to create this blog. Some of these include creating a blog, embedding media, creating links, and using services like Scribd.

    There continue to be challenges. My main shortcoming was in formatting the blog in an appealing way while incorporating all the media and resources I wanted to use. I feel that my product, as of the time of this writing, is far short of what I had envisioned. While I am mostly satisfied with the project design and the learning tasks I constructed for the students, I struggled with using the technology. Reflecting on this, I think that I allowed enough time to design the project and found adequate resources, but I overestimated my abilities to put all the elements together in a format that was new to me. Although I was confident, and I think competent, at the individual tasks like creating links and embedding media, the scale of the project creates its own challenges.

    I think the valuable lesson here regarding technology in education is that the instructor must be very familiar with the tools he intends to use.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Assignment 4 Part 2: Student Assignment

    Hello students:

    Above is an interactive map that traces the spread of some major world religions through history.

    1. Review your notes regarding religious conflicts in history.

    2. Activate the interactive map.

    3. In your journal, respond to the following question:

    "How does this interactive map illustrate or inform your understanding of religious conflict? Give at least three examples."