Teaching

Historical education

Most of my work in historical education appears in some form through the North Carolina Digital History project. The following are also available online:

  • A snapshot in time: How to study a photo Tar Heel Junior Historian 48:2 (Spring 2009) Photographs from the past can teach us about important events and help us solve great mysteries, but some of the most interesting images show people doing everyday things. They’re the kind of photographs that you might find in old albums or in your grandparents’ attic, and they reveal details of life that we might never have thought to ask about.
  • Does My Vote Count? Teaching the Electoral College LEARN NC, 2004 A lesson plan for grades 9–12. Students will learn about the electoral process and its history through reading, research, and discussion. They will then convene a constitutional convention to debate altering this process.

Visual Literacy

Because I’ve done a lot of design work and have thought and read a great deal about how to do good design work, I’ve also been an advocate for teaching visual literacy skills. Some highlights are listed below.

  • Map Skills and Higher Order Thinking LEARN NC, 2010 The sheer quantity of maps the internet makes available is great for educators, because we can easily find visual resources to accompany lessons in science and social studies. But it also presents us with a new challenge, because it’s now more important than ever that students develop map-reading skills. And those skills are more complicated than most educators realize. This series of articles looks at map skills as a kind of visual literacy, considering what maps are, how they’re made, and the higher-order thinking skills students need to move from simply decoding maps to fully comprehending them.
  • Venn Edwards diagram Higher order thinking with Venn diagrams - Graphic organizers are powerful ways to help students understand complex ideas. By adapting and building on basic Venn diagrams, you can move beyond comparison and diagram classification systems that encourage students to recognize complex relationships.