This Teacher Uses Marvel Comics to Teach Government Regulation (with Great Results!)

Episode 133 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Kyle Stern @stern_history uses Marvel’s “Civil War” to teach Government Regulation. The test scores show it is working. Understand how a teacher can use graphic novels (a/k/a Comic Books) to meet standards, excite kids, and teach at the same time. It can be done!

Today’s sponsor is Kids Discover. They’re doing awesome things to drive inquiry based learning. The Kids Discover online platform lets students enter discovery mode. This fun, visual tool lets students explore 150 different science and social studies units for elementary and middle school learners.

And while they can explore a wide variety of topics from the US Constitution to Ecology and Ancient China, I also like that you can assign these nonfiction texts at three different lexiles to supplement what you’re doing in the classroom.

Go to coolcatteacher.com/discover and get started for free. They support single sign-on with Google and Clever.

Listen Now

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Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

****

Enhanced Transcript for Episode 133 

Using Marvel Comics to Teach Government Regulation

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e133
Download the transcript: Episode 133 Transcript

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How Kyle Uses Comics to Teach Government Regulation

Vicki: Happy Wonderful Classroom Wednesday! Today we are talking to Kyle Stern @Stern_History, a history teacher from North Carolina, about using graphic novels to teach. So, Kyle, tell us about how you taught government regulation.

Kyle: With government regulation, especially with students, it’s not exactly the most exciting topic in the world.

Vicki: (laughs)

Kyle: (laughs) I know I love it, but they don’t. And you know, there’s tons of ways to go about it. I could drone on and on about specific topics or specific things, but I found the best way with my kids was to take advantage of, you know, popular media. Comic books kind of made this huge breakthrough a couple of years ago, and I’ve always loved them. I found that the best way for me is using Marvel Civil War, which goes into regulation, but of course it’s a fictional telling of it.

What we actually tend to do is use a dual entry log, where I will show them specific scenes from the book and actually do it Reader’s Theater style. So each kid is assigned a specific character, which gets a little bit more of student buy in and engagement, which of course is always what we’re looking for with our lesson plans.

As we go along, we stop after each scene, and we analyze it a little bit. We go over what is this? What happened? So like, for example, the first scene that we always talk about is our catalyst, our thing that causes the need for regulation. So, in the book it’s a school comes under fire, and it’s because these superheroes are not trained, and now everyone’s like, “Well we need to figure something out so this doesn’t happen again.”

And then of course I say, “Alright, what can we equate this to in current events or in recent history that it aligns with?” And of course, a lot of our kids go with something like 9/11… or I always bring up something like Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle which causes the whole regulation of the food industry. And we go into that and we analyze that, and we also do some prediction and everything. So, it’s a lot of close reading, a lot of critical analysis, which takes it a step further. It’s not just this explicit reading that we get in our elementary and middle school levels. We get more implicit. We have them draw details out themselves, which is, you know, that higher level comprehension. It always brings very positive results in my class.

How Kyle got permission to use comics in his course

Vicki: What did your administrators think when you said, “Hey, I’m going to use a graphic novel, a Marvel Civil War, to teach government regulations.” I mean, they almost don’t go together. It’s almost kind of hilarious. “I’m going to teach government regulation with a comic.” It’s basically a comic book, right?

Kyle: Oh yeah. Absolutely. I actually had a really fantastic first principal at my school. His name was Robert Beal. I brought the idea to him, and he probably had the best response that I’ve ever heard. And he was like, “Well, do you think parents are going to get upset with the fact that their kids are reading comic books in your classroom?”

Vicki: (laughs)

Kyle: And I was like, “Well, I don’t think so.” And was like, “Well, are you going to make it controversial?” And I was like, “No, that’s not my job.” And he’s just like, “Alright. Then I see no problem, as long as it gets the job done, then I don’t mind what you do.”

When he saw that my kids did actually really well with covering government regulations, then he’s like, “Well, don’t fix what isn’t broken.” So, we kept going along.

How well are the students learning government regulation?

Vicki: Yeah, cool! So, you’re teaching with this. How do the kids responding and how well are they learning it?

Kyle: It’s actually really funny. When I introduce it, like any other time when you say, “We’re going to do Readers Theater,” and everything, they all groan. And they’re all like, “I don’t want to read in front of everyone. I don’t want to be a character.” And then it’s even better when the kids are like, “I don’t like comic books. Comic books are terrible. I’d rather read something else.”

Initially, there’s a little bit of push and pull. But then once they finally really get into it, the kids start providing more information. We’re doing like standard callouts in class, and so like in the story, “We have Ironman representing this one group, and we have Captain America representing another group. What do they represent?”

And after a second of thinking the kids will go, “Oh! Ironman represents big business. Captain America represents small business.” Or, “Federal government or local government” kind of things. And they really start clicking especially as the story goes along.

And one of the main points that we try to make is, “Who does regulation really benefit? Does it really benefit big business? Does it really benefit small business?” We mostly push this during my Economics unit, so that’s how we tend to frame it.

Vicki: So, how long have you been taking this approach with this unit?

Kyle: Let’s see. At my school we do semester classes, so I’ll do Civics/Economics for half the year, and I’ve now done it about four times in my class. And it’s been honestly pretty productive. I’ve had kids come out of the North Carolina final exam for Civics/Economics, and they’re like, “Oh, Mr. Stern! There was a question about Civics/Economics, government regulation, and I definitely understood it, and it was all because of that book!”

And I was just like – and mind you, it’s kids – “I was a little worried if you were going to figure it out. I knew you had the information. I just wasn’t sure if you were going to draw on it.” And I’ve had a number of kids that do it, and now I have rising freshmen who are going to be sophomores this year. They’re like, “Oh, I heard we get to read this in your class! Is this true?” And I’m like, “Well, do you see the whole class set on the bookshelf? I don’t keep it all for myself.”

What other topics would be good for graphic novels?

Vicki: Yeah. Awesome! Now if you had your way, are there some other units you might do with graphic novels?

Kyle: There’s a number of different things that I would like to do. Some of it is just figuring out the best way to take a look at them. I always like to find, for example – I actually did this one in my thesis study, and I think I’m going to push for it this year – is discussing the Constitution, and the different parts of it, and the Amendments.

There’s actually a really great graphic novel, and it’s just, The Constitution: The Graphic Novel. It really breaks it down, and it uses the different literacies that, you know, our student have and we don’t draw on all the time. Like, we constantly have our students read, right?

And not all of our kids – I mean, we would love to say they’re all at grade level or above, but let’s face it, some kids just aren’t. And it helps give them a little more leverage to grasp the information a little bit better. That’s one of the reasons why I really like using graphic novels. I get the kid to read the Constitution, but let’s face it. Reading 18th century writing is not the easiest when you’re just kind of trying to come to grips with the way we read and write in the 21st century. So, adding those pictures, it becomes a little bit more clear. It gives them a new way of analyzing the information.

Vicki: So, teachers, we have heard an idea. You have an example to share, that this DOES work, and you CAN teach – I mean, if you can teach government regulation with graphic novels, what can you NOT teach with it? So, it can be done. I think it’s really exciting, and I love it because, I’m not even going to say “out of the box” because I don’t even like boxes.

It’s just good teaching, saying, “I can use this to teach.” It engages the kids, and it gets kids excited. And so get out there and be remarkable!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Full Bio As Submitted


Kyle Stern

Kyle Stern is a high school social studies teacher at Lee County Schools in North Carolina. Originally from Webster, New York (just outside of Rochester), Stern attended the State University of New York and Fredonia. There he earned his BA in Adolescent Social Studies Education and MS in Literacy Education.

While completing his Master’s, he focused on the use of non-traditional texts on expository material. Since coming to Lee County in 2015 he has taught Civics & Economics, World History and is the lead teacher in his school’s ACT prep program.

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)

The post This Teacher Uses Marvel Comics to Teach Government Regulation (with Great Results!) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog
http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e133/

Teachers Teaching Refugee Children via Skype with Koen Timmers

Episode 132 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Koen Timmers @zelfstudie is a teacher in Belgium. He has founded the Kakuma project where teachers are helping teach in refugee camp via Skype. In today’s show, he talks about this project and his Human Differences project. This top 50 global teacher prize winner is inspiring.

project kakuma

Today’s sponsor is Kids Discover. They’re doing awesome things to drive inquiry based learning. The Kids Discover online platform lets students enter discovery mode. This fun, visual tool lets students explore 150 different science and social studies units for elementary and middle school learners. And while they can explore a wide variety of topics from the US Constitution to Ecology and Ancient China, I also like that you can assign these nonfiction texts at three different lexiles to supplement what you’re doing in the classroom. Go to coolcatteacher.com/discover and get started for free. They support single sign-on with Google and Clever.

Listen Now

//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5658647/height/90/width/640/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/2d568f/

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

****

Transcript for Episode 132 

Teachers Teaching Refugee Children via Skype with Koen Timmers

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e132
Download the Transcript: Episode 32 Transcript
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Human Differences Project

Vicki: So, I’m here at the National State Teachers of the Year Conference here in D.C., and a friend of mine, Joe Fatheree @josephfatheree, who is a Global Teacher Prize Finalist, told me about this amazing person, Koen Timmers @zelfstudie, who is a teacher from Belgium, who’s a Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalist recently.

Now, Koen, you’re real big on collaboration. Could you describe for us one of the examples of the projects that you’ve done collaboratively?

Koen: Yeah. So, one project I’ve been running is the Human Differences Project. That was about two months ago, and that project is about collaboration on a global scale. In this project, we had fifty different schools over thirty-seven countries across six continents who participated. And it was a student-centered project, so the students had to do all the research, the thinking, discussion, brainstorming. They had to present and share their findings during each week about several topics.

This project was basically about, “How are people different in their own classroom, in their own country? Why do countries decide to build walls? How do conflicts start?” And also about finding solutions, like how to build bridges instead of walls. And we also did an anti-bullying campaign and also about gender equality. And the students? Well, they really amazed us. Some of the students, they began to dance. They went to interview people on the street. The Nigerians students, they even composed their own song. The students from Egypt, they even came to school during holidays, so we had some pretty amazing outcomes during the project.

How did you connect with the other schools?

Vicki: Wow. So how did you connect with the fifty schools?

Koen: Yeah. So, I’m also an MIE –that’s a Microsoft Expert Educator – and that’s a wonderful community of about 3,000 different educators. And once you’re in the community, it’s pretty easy to set up global projects, actually. It took me a few days to find about fifty different schools over a lot of countries that were willing to participate.

Project Kakuma and teaching refugees via Skype

Vicki: Now you also have another project, Project Kakuma. Tell us a little about that.

Koen: Yeah. So, two years ago I had a very emotional skype call with Moses. Moses is an outreach assistant in the Kakuma refugee camp, and this refugee camp houses 200,000 refugees who fled from war and hunger in Sudan, Burundi, Somalia, etc. And I promised to help him increase the level of education in the camp by having regular Skype calls with them – with refugee kids, actually. During my first call with them, I realized that I was kind of naïve, thinking that having a Skype call with the refugees was going to be like having a Skype call with my friends and family. They told me that they have very little resources in the school. They have 30 schools, and each classroom houses up to 200 refugees.

So, imagine 175 students taking a look at one laptop screen while I’m teaching them. But, apart from that fact, the project became an instant success. They requested skype lessons on a daily basis, and so I had to find global educators willing to participate. And, at this moment, 100 educators from around 40 different countries are participating. They are teaching them on a daily basis.

Project Kakuma

How teachers can help

Vicki: So how can we help?

Koen: Well, basically, you can support the project by also volunteering to teach the refugees. We have a lot of teachers from the U.S. and from Asia. All continents, basically.

Vicki: You have a website or a place we can go to volunteer?

Koen: Yeah… projectkakuma.com

Vicki: It just amazes me what you’re doing. So, they’re teaching a variety of subjects?

Koen: Yeah.

Vicki: Many different topics?

Koen: We are teaching them maths, science, English, even art. Most people, they really love the fact that we are offering free knowledge and we are teaching them. But basically, we also bring empathy into the global classrooms. Most people forget about the students involved from all kinds of different countries, who are now offered the right perspective into what it’s like to be a refugee. But also, they talk about habits, religion, culture, about sport. They basically have fun. And so, we fight against misinformation, against polarization, and yeah… That’s also very valuable, I think.

The biggest mistake teachers make when trying to collaborate

Vicki: As you’ve collaborated – because you’ve done a lot of collaboration now – what do you think the biggest mistake that you’ve made with collaborating in the classroom is?

Koen: Well… Don’t overdo it.

Vicki: (laughs) Been there. Wish I hadn’t. (laughs)

Koen: Most people, when you advocate or you present about collaboration, they think it’s all about collaboration. They forget to instruct. Because collaboration takes a lot of time, and I think you need to shift between every approach. Sometimes you need to instruct your students. Sometimes you need to shift to flipped learning. Then you have to collaborate. And then you have to do learning by doing in maker space… So I guess that a teacher as a pedagogical engineer who decides which approach is the best at that time, for that subject, for that topic, etc.

Vicki: I love that… “pedagogical engineer”… That’s a great way to think about teachers, isn’t it?

Koen: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

The CARE! Model of Teaching

Vicki: Yeah. Awesome. So, you have a CARE! model.

Koen: So I think that teachers have the responsibility to do different things, and it’s not only about offering knowledge. It’s about also… The “C” from CARE! is about collaboration, but it’s also about guiding. (ADVISING) In most cases when students graduate, there’s a large gap for them. I think teachers also have to make sure how they can keep on learning – the lifelong learning concept, that’s it. In my case, I don’t want my students to be limited to my knowledge as well. I want them to learn from each other, but also from experts on social media, from their friends. We have to point them in the right direction and teach them that not every resource is a reliable. We have to fight against fake news as well. Yeah. I think that’s also the duty of the teacher. Yeah. Not only offering knowledge, and that’s it. Instructing in that sense.

Vicki: So give us the “R” and the “E” and the exclamation point for CARE!.

Koen:  So in the CARE the “R” is for real problem solving. Well, I believe in project-based learning, and in many cases — and I didn’t mention this before, but I’m a computer science teacher – and in most cases, people teach about the computer. I think we need meaningful subjects, and we need real problems to solve. You can use a computer for data as well. I already explained about the “E” — the empathy. The explanation point is that most frameworks, most people who talk about their framework, think that it fits in every case and every scenario. And I think it doesn’t. We all teach different subjects, different ages, and in different schools. They all have different financial resources, so I think in some cases, blended learning works. And in some cases, teachers have to fill the gap themselves, and they have to figure out what their students basically need, I think.

Vicki: Teachers, we’ve learned some remarkable things. Please check the Shownotes for links. I know and hope that some of you will help teach the refugees with Project Kakuma. Please let me know if you do, because I think this is a project worth following. And it’s also – can you think of a better way to spend our time volunteering and helping? So, Koen Timmers, thank you so much for being on, and thank you for your leadership on the worldwide stage that you now have.

Koen: Thank you so much.

 

Full Bio As Submitted


Koen TimmersKoen Timmers

Koen Timmers is an educator, author and keynote speaker. He’s a 2017 Global Teacher Prize top 50 and founder of an online school Zelfstudie.be. He’s passionate about collaborative and technology enhanced learning. Koen founded several global educational project including the Kakuma project – in which 100 educators over 40 countries offer free education to African refugees via Skype – and the Human Differences project – in which 50 schools across 6 continents focus on how to build bridges instead of walls.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)

The post Teachers Teaching Refugee Children via Skype with Koen Timmers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog
http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e132/