These are my notes from Greg Oppel’s presentation “Using the Dialectial journal to Read Biography and Historical Novels” at the Oklahoma Council for History Education symposium at the University of Central Oklahoma (in Edmond) on 6 December 2008. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS WERE IN ALL CAPS.

Greg discussed problems students have in high school working in and submitting via BlackBoard
- kids are narrowly tech literate
- many don’t know how to make a chart in a report
- many struggle with using Blackboard (struggling with the technology)

Dialectial journaling comes from Cornell note taking style with 2 columns
- goal: have students take notes on things they find interesting and relates to their class
- 3 columns:
– Chapter, page and line(s)
– textual notes (paraphrase)
– student reflection

Example Greg provided me to look at was on the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”
- written by an illiterate self-taught reader
- on Google Book Search

His biography is about 100 pages
- in the public domain

encourage students not to quote, they are to paraphrase when taking notes under this model

A rubric is is provided, but students often don’t look at it till right before the assignment is due

Have trouble developing student empathy for slaves at times
- Using runaway slave advertisements, which treat slaves like animals in their descriptions

students are required to type these

Greg is doing this for the first time in his Oklahoma history class

reading book “Equal Justice: The Courage of ADA Sipuel” by William Bernhardt and Kim Henry published by The Humanities Council

Greg read the biography of Malcom X in high school, it was a very powerful experience

quotation from Fredrick Douglass bookmark: “Once you learn to READ you will be forever FREE.”
- some kids come into class with background on Plato’s Cave

Using the Rubric really helps in addressing issues of kids writing really poor reflections

An essay component goes with this dialectical journaling / not writing assignment

last part of the assignment is “Grand Conversation”
- you can’t speak again till each person has spoken at least once

Patti is working with students about many of the reading strategies to use meta-cognition, pre-reading, scanning, etc.

Open enrollment policy of AP today leads to different challenges

Good goal is to do and use projects which help students retain learning long-term (make a big impact)
- helping students develop empathy is perhaps not a formal goal but a very important goal

Kids who are very concrete can have trouble with these assignments
- kids want things to just go in one box / one category

Working with G Persia on categorizing strategies
- we really emphasize charting

Kathy Hartman from Santa Fe model: Give students short amount of reading in advance
- encourage them to understand: if you read it first, I talk about it, and then you review it, you’ve seen it three times
- we encourage students to create flash cards, do concept mapping

THIS MAKES ME THINK OF QUIZLET

Audience member comment: We have so little time for one-on-one interaction
- pacing calendar
- benchmark tests
- those have really made it hard for one-on-one interactions to take place
- if we had less content then perhaps this could be better

Audience member is using model where kids take notes by the learning objectives for each textbook chapter

Another audience member comment: helping students identify what is important in a given text is so important

Sparknotes issues: With this strategy students can’t use a resource like Sparknotes and get the line number references

I USED USTREAM.TV TO RECORD THIS SESSION BY GREG WITH HIS PERMISSION. I HAD A FEW CAMERA MALFUNCTIONS, I REALLY NEED TO GET A NEWER AND SMALLER DV CAMERA. MY BROWSER CRASHED ONCE, SO THIS WAS RECORDED IN TWO PIECES. PART 1, HOWEVER, HAD TERRIBLE AUDIO FOR SOME REASON, SO I DELETED IT. HERE IS PART 2, WHICH IS THE LAST 17 MINUTES OF THE PRESO.

PART 2:

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