Monday, January 25, 2010

Ring Around the History Topic: A Method of Review


What you see here is a little booklet a group of students created in my classroom once we completed our study of World War I. It’s very simple…just a ring binder and unlined index cards.

The activity begins by asking groups of students to review the notes in their notebook. Working with group members they should create a series of factual statements tracing the events of World War I. Statements should be fairly simple and straightforward.

The number of statements created should correspond to the number of students in the classroom. For this particular activity we needed 18 statements. Class size determines how many statements should be assigned. Now…..before you tell me how lucky I am that in this particular group I only had 18 students let me remind you that the actual class size was larger, but a few of my special needs students had been pulled out for the review and were working with the special needs teacher. Usually this activity would require 24 or 25 statements.

Once students work through their notes and determine which statements best illustrate the event we are studying they use chart paper to write their statements. Sometimes each group uses a different color to write their statements so that they can identify their work once the charts are hanging at various locations around the room.

Once all the charts are hanging up I ask students to grab a clipboard and walk the room. They should look for statements that are similar and statements that different. Do they see any statements that shouldn’t belong? Do they see any statements that don’t really get to the meat of the topic? I ask students to do this part of the activity on their own….no sharing.

Once students have had an opportunity to visit each chart I ask them to return to their original group. At that point they should share what they have discovered, and even it if means cutting out things from their own chart and adding statements from the other groups, they should arrive at a the best series of 18 statements they can.

Finally, I come into the picture. We tackle each statement number, and as a whole class we vote and decide which statement should number 1, number 2, number 3, etc. I write these on the board.

The next day I show students 18 index cards. Across the bottom of each card I have written one fact. On the back of each card I’ve recorded the number that corresponds to the fact. Each student is given one card at random. Their job at that point is to illustrate the fact as best they can.

What we finally end up with is a little booklet that tells the story in basic form regarding World War I. I’ve included our cards below. These little booklets really come in handy later in the year when we are reviewing even more content for that state test that looms in front of us every April.

Here are our little book pages....I've included the captions in case you can't make them. You can click on each page to make the picture larger.....

The causes of World War I were nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and a system of alliances.

Nationalism is having pride in your country. This can lead to “My country is better than your country.”
Imperialism….many countries like France and England made colonies out of other countries to have more power.
Militarism…to protect themselves and compete with each other many countries formed large armies.
Because so many countries were competing with armies and colonies they needed to develop friendships and alliances. “We will help each other if we are attacked.”

On June 28, 1914 events reached a boiling point when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Hungary was assassinated.

World War I was the first war where the tank and airplane was used.

Poison gas suffocated many soldiers.

Machine guns killed more soldiers than ever before.

Men lived, fought, and died in trenches. Each side was divided by no-mans land.

Germany knew they couldn’t defeat the British navy. They decided to form blockades and use u-boats to sink ships.

The U.S. was upset when Germany sank the ship, Lusitania. 128 Americans lost their lives.

President Wilson asked Congress to declare war on April 2, 1917. The U.S. was now in the fight.

In order to have enough soldiers President Wilson signed the Selective Service Act. Healthy unmarried men were drafted to fight.

With so many men fighting American women had to take over jobs that were normally held by men.
President Wilson created the Food Administration to encourage farmers to raise more food.

Americans planted victory gardens so more food could go to the soldiers.

Many Americans bought savings bonds to help pay for the cost of the war.


World War I finally came to an end on November 11, 1918 the day the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

6 comments:

Ginger Snaps said...

I love this idea as a review activity! Thanks for sharing!

DegreeFinders said...

The great part is the children are learning while they create these cards, and then they get to reinforce learning by studying them. It makes learning fun for them.

Theresa Milstein said...

What a great idea! Students don't normally get excited about index cards, but have them illustrate them and made it into a book, and I'm sure they'll look at it more and remember the information. Thanks for the tip!

Ahermitt said...

Thanks for your entry to the Carnival of Educators: http://nfahm.blogspot.com/2010/02/carnival-of-educators-14th-edition.html

Mr. Duez said...

I love it. Great job.

Anonymous said...

wow thats amazing im 17 and thats impresive even to me