Crime Scene In The Classroom!!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 48 comments

Engage you students with this super fun Free Boston Massacre Crime Scene in the Classroom Activity for Kids!
*** I have updated the resources and website for this activity.  Access the resources here and the website here!
*** If you would like to see how the simulation evolved, click here!

I had such an amazing class today I just couldn't wait to blog about it! I've been doing decent teaching since I started at my new school but every time I chat with my Teach Like A Pirate peeps (#tlap Mondays at 9 eastern and #sstlap at Thursdays at 9 eastern) I feel really inadequate. I knew I had to try to do a lesson I could sell a ticket to and even though I almost decided to scrap it five different times I finally made myself do it and it was fabulous!

I decided to create a detective agency where we were going to determine if the British soldiers at the Boston Massacre were guilt of murder or simply acted in self defense. I borrowed very heavily from this website and got a lot of inspiration from a video that I now can't find but I'll post it as soon as I find it. In the video, the kids got to interview people who had "witnessed" the Massacre. I am in a very small school and knew I wouldn't be able to get people to come in and act as colonists so I had to come up with another idea.... I would play all the roles and video my "interviews". To do that I created this....

You must see this just so you can see colonial interviews like this.

Movie on 11-17-13 at 6.48 PM from momtodex on Vimeo.

I had six stations. One was for the crime scene, four were based on different accounts of the events and the last one had three different artists' renderings of the event. At the account stations they had print out of the testimony, could read it on the computer and could read along as I .... I mean the colonists..... Gave their accounts. In the crime scene, students could touch anything and had various questions to answer or consider.

The kids absolutely loved it and I had a blast as well. We will be doing it tomorrow so it is about a two day activity. A the end, I'm going to have the kiddos do an argument writing paragraph about it and then we will watch the John Adams clip about the trial.

Examples of handouts:

If you would like to do this in your classroom, I'm attaching all the information for free. Click here if you would like access to all the printables.  Enjoy!!!!!

#sstlap Chat Tomorrow Night

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 1 comment
I'm substituting for a Twitter friend and will be hosting my first ever Twitter chat tonight. Join us at 8 pm central at #sstlap to discuss social studies, teaching like a pirate and this week's topic - how to keep the pirate alive with everything that has to be done: CCSS, vocabulary development, argument writing, close reading, etc. I would love to see you all there!

Activating their Knowledge

Saturday, November 9, 2013 1 comment
I've been absent because I have been on a roll!  I have totally and absolutely fallen in love with my kids and my new school and about three weeks ago it started to feel like home.  I'm finally starting to really nest into classroom and I've discovered who Mrs. Wilkins is in an urban setting.
My biggest but welcome challenge is working with my ELL students.  I have found that I don't have to change my teaching style but I definitely need to frame my activities differently.  After, what I thought, was a successful unit on the French and Indian War, one of my hardest working and brightest ELL students asked me, "So what was the French and Indian War?"  I realized I needed to front load the lesson and activate their vocabulary.  When we went to start our unit on the causes of the American Revolution I I decided to show the BrainPop before we started.   Instead of having them do the quiz,  I gave them individual white boards and asked them to write down any words, phrases and dates they could process from the movie.  I them had them get in groups and share their words and make a word cloud poster.  Now when we work on the Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, etc. they say that they remember hearing about that one:)

 In my seventh grade class I have been working on a town mandated "module" which is CCSS aligned and models after a performance task that we assume will be on the PARCC test.  As the students gather information they have to have the opportunity to share out to the class.  This becomes difficult with thirty in a class so I knew I had to find a way they could collaborate in a meaningful way.  I had them create group informational posters that they hung in the classroom and the hall.  I told kids they could shop for information from all the posters to build their arsenal of evidence for their argument writing.  One of my kids said it really was shoplifting because we were just stealing information so that's what we call it now... Shoplifting!!!  It's worked out wonderfully and their argument essays are going splendidly.  

On a Teachers Pay Teachers front, you should check out my store.. I've made some great new stuff!
My kiddos have been using these graphic organizers both in my class and in ELA and we are having great success.  Give them a whirl here!

Have students use their geography skills to find the major physical features of the Fertile Crescent. Click here!