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Teaching History Blog

Blog Duel


Learning Objectives:

1.      Describe a historical verbal or physical duel between two people in history.
2.      Describe the origins of the discontent of each others’ views and how the problems grew.
3.      Describe the outcome and historical significance of the duel itself.
4.      Evaluate blogs on the internet and those created by peers.
Formative and Summative Assignment
Outcome:  Students will compose a blog post describing the origins and outcome of a verbal or physical duel between two people in the past. Students will use and evaluate blogs on the internet and of their classmates.
Assignment Description:  Blogs have become an outlet for many aspiring writers to post informative articles on a variety of historical topics that we used to find in scholarly journals.  Reading and following blogs is a very common activity for our students and writing an informative, thoughtful blog can become part of their portfolio as they search for jobs in the future.  The class should follow at least one but hopefully a few blogs from the beginning of the term.  The instructor might provide a discussion time each week to discuss what is covered in the selected blogs.  Students may even be encouraged to respond to those blogs. Students will read and select their top three history blogs and share those with classmates.  After using blogs for a while, students will write their own blog post about a duel either assigned by the teacher or selected by the students.  (Students could be asked to blog about anything but this carries home the theme of the blog duel that will come later in the lesson and that individual disagreements occur and can be taken too far even by our leaders.)  Students will post their blog into a discussion or closed blogging tool.   Students will read each others’ blog and select their favorites for a blogging duel.  The dueling blogs will post additional articles and the class will evaluate them for accuracy and interest and vote for their winner.  (Just like in a real duel, there has to be a winner).
Steps and Instructor Notes:
  1. Blogs can be a great addition to the curriculum in your classroom on a daily basis.  Select a blog that is appropriate for your class and follow it on a regular basis from the beginning of your term.  This could be done as an ongoing discussion or a kick off for each Monday.
  2. Students will research and select their top three history blogs and share them in a discussion with their classmates.  Their post should include links to the blogs and an evaluation of their quality. 
  3. Students will compose their own 400 word blog post describing a historical duel.    The duel can be a verbal debate like the Lincoln-Douglas Debates or an actual duel like Burr and Hamilton.  Students will post this blog in a discussion or other online tool.  Students will vote for their favorite post by a classmate. 
  4. The top two bloggers’ will duel for the title of “Best Class Blogger.”  The two bloggers will post additional articles on historical topics of their own interest.  The class will evaluate their posts for accuracy and other qualities the class determines using the earlier evaluation remarks they made about public blogs.  The class will select the “winner” based on criteria they establish.
Rubric is based on 100 points total but this assignment is very organic and is as much about participation and collaboration as composing a blog post.  Simply put, done right students will be motivated to participate in this without points and will be exposed to specific historical facts as well as blogging/writing techniques.
10 points-Student submitted their top 3 blogs and described the qualities of each.
50 points-
Student posted a grammatically sound 400 word post about a duel that described who, what, where, when, why, and the historical significance.  Student read and voted for the best blogs in the class. 
50 points-Either student was nominated for best blog and kept writing or student helped create criteria to evaluate “best” bloggers and voted for best.
Blogs that might be useful:
http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/                      

Links
How to Make a Playlist on HippoCampus:
A four-minute tutorial video
HippoCampus U.S. History & Government Study Group on OpenStudy.com:
Library of Congress:
United States House of Representatives:
United States Senate:
U.S. Federal Court:
U.S. Supreme Court Media:
Interactive Constitution:
National Constitution Center:
Virginia Historical Society's Virginia History Explorer:

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