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Lesson Planning Suggestions

LESSON PLAN EXAMPLE FOR DISCOURSE IN TIME(DiT) UNITS:


This is a sample lesson plan for instructors who are using DiT in the classroom. However, it is an example and can be changed to meet the needs or you and your students.

  • If you are interested in changing some things in DiT, please review the Customization Options on the Instructor Site prior to starting the lesson with your students.

Lesson 1—Introduction & My Profile page

  • Introduce the unit and the objectives to be achieved.

  • Introduce the Discourse site, and show how it relates to achieving unit objectives – show how you will manage and merge lecturing, class participation, etc., with DiT role-playing.

  • Walk students through the DiT site.

  • Walk students through the DiT student requirements and instructions.

  • Give the students their instructions on what to accomplish by the next class – research their character, fill out the My Profile page including a profile picture.

Lesson 2—Background & My Community page

  • Provide background lecture for about 15 minutes to highlight historical background and context for the overall unit and that day’s unit objectives.

  • Walk students through several characters’ My Profile pages to show all the students what is expected of them (i.e.: who has met the expectations and who needs to do more work).

  • Walk students through the My Community page.  In-character students will begin commenting on My Community timeline posts.  Explain the difference between “Headlines” and “Breaking News” (within a red border), and explain that they may also comment on other characters’ timeline posts.  Provide the students with the number of Breaking News responses that each student is required to make and explain that commenting on the timeline will be expected throughout the unit.

  • Let the students participate in DiT until five minutes before class ends.

  • Wrap up in the last five minutes and give instructions for the next class.   

Lesson 3—Background & Friends and Frenemies page

  • Provide background lecture for about 15 minutes to highlight historical background and context for the overall unit and that day’s unit objectives.

  • Walk students through the My Community page to show all the students what is expected of them (i.e.: who has met the expectations and who needs to do more work).

  • Walk students through the Friends & Frenemies page.  Explain that there are directions on the page to help students understand how they should determine each character’s relationship. They should change relationship statuses during the unit if appropriate.

  • Let the students participate in DiT until five minutes before class ends.

  • Wrap up in the last five minutes and give instructions for the next class.

Lesson 4—Background & Likes & Dislikes page

  • Provide background lecture for about 15 minutes to highlight historical background and context for the overall unit and that day’s unit objectives.

  • Walk students through several characters’ Friends & Frenemies page to show all the students what is expected of them (i.e.: who has met the expectations and who needs to do more work).

  • Walk students through the Likes & Dislikes page.  Explain that students are to choose whether their character would like or dislike the items on the page.  Some characters’ opinion may change during the unit, and they will be expected to make that change.

  • Let the students participate in DiT until five minutes before class ends.

  • Wrap up in the last five minutes and give instructions for the next class. 

Lesson 5—Background & Events and Messages pages

  • Provide background lecture for about 15 minutes to highlight historical background and context for the overall unit and that day’s unit objectives.

  • Walk students through several characters’ Likes & Dislikes pages to show all the students what is expected of them (i.e.: who has met the expectations and who needs to do more work).

  • Walk students through the My Events page.  Explain that students are to create events that can be an actual historic event or one that makes sense that his or her character would create it.

  • Walk students through the My Messages page.  Explain that students are to use the message tab to send messages that would remain confidential, and let them know the minimum number of private messages they are expected to send during the unit.

  • Let the students participate in DiT until five minutes before class ends.

  • Wrap up in the last five minutes and give instructions for the next class.

Lesson 6—Background & My Events and My Message review

  • Provide background lecture for about 15 minutes to highlight historical background and context for that day’s unit objectives.

  • Walk students through several characters’ My Events and My Messages pages to show all the students what is expected of them (i.e.: who has met the expectations and who needs to do more work).

  • Let the students participate in DiT until five minutes before class ends.

  • Wrap up in the last five minutes and give instructions for the next class.

Lesson 7 through penultimate lesson

  • Provide background lecture for about 15 minutes to highlight historical background and context for that day’s unit objectives

  • Let the students participate in DiT until five minutes before class ends

  • Wrap up in the last five minutes and give instructions for the next class

* Periodically, walk the students through the My Community and other pages (as necessary) to manage expectations.

Final (ultimate) Lesson—Wrap Up

Provide final lecture and wrap up the unit and its objectives.

Have students print out final reports showing their DiT participation.

Solicit feedback on the unit and DiT’s role in it – were the unit objectives achieved?

 

 

 

PEDAGOGY IDEAS

  • Call on individual characters (students in the guise of their character) to engage in verbal discussion about a topic or timeline event.

For example, a timeline event for July 4, 1776, is "The Americans Have Declared Their Independence!" Have students look up from their computers (perhaps place the screens down) and the instructor calls on various characters to engage in a discussion on the topic (what they did to make the event happen, what their thoughts are on the decision, what results might come from the decision, why the event is important, etc.). Some characters to call on might be Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock, King George III and General George Washington. Of course, nearly every character in the class will have an opinion and can interject throughout.

Then encourage students, in the voice of their character, to go back to their screens and write a response to the timeline event in the Comments box and/or add another post about the event to the My Community page.

Continue with brief discussions of follow-on timeline events until the instructor comes to another topic for an extended discussion.

  • Call on students individually, and ask them to make a counter-argument to his or her assigned character.  For instance, if you are using the Animal Farm unit, the student who is assigned to Napoleon can be asked to respond to one of the headlines in the voice of Mr. Frederick. *

  • Pass out to each student a character who is that student’s frenemy telling them that they are assigned to that character for the day’s discussion.  Create groups of four or five students, ensuring that there is a balance of viewpoints in each group. Pose a question based on a Timeline or Breaking News event. Have the groups verbally discuss the topic in the voice of their assigned frenemy. Then have each group present how they felt discussing in a different viewpoint. * 

  • Create groups of four to five students based on any number of criteria (depending on the question(s) to be posed). The groups might be by characters' gender or political persuasion or an ad hoc mixture. Pose a question based on a Timeline or Breaking News event. Have the groups verbally discuss the topic among themselves for about five minutes and ask them to come up with a group answer. Then have each group present their response to the rest of the class.

Then encourage students, in the voice of their character, to go back to their screens and write a response in the Comments box to that event.

 

* Good activity to keep the anonymity of the students’ actual character if you prefer that students do not know the character assignment of others in the class.