Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall Advisory Board Meeting Report

Voices Rising Advisory Board The Voices Rising Project held its first Advisory Board meeting at Suffolk University today. The Advisory Board meets twice a year to hear a status report on the project's outcomes and plan for future activities. Professor Robert Allison, project co-director welcomed the group to Suffolk. TRITEC executive director, Cindy Fiducia, gave a project overview on the project's themes focused on immigrants and disenfranchised groups. She emphasized the project's year three focus on the essential question, How did people in America secure their rights?
Next, Diane Schilder, project evaluator, reviewed the evaluation activities that we are using to assess impact on teacher performance and student achievement. One strong indicator of success was that teachers participating in Voices Rising performed 14 scale points above a comparison group of non-participating teachers. Dr. Schilder also noted a marked increase in teachers' use of primary sources in their classrooms (51% to 86%).
Suffolk University historian Pat ReeveSuffolk historian and Project Coordinator, Pat Reeve, gave an overview of the Summer Institute held from August 18-22, 2008. The group was then treated to a slideshow composed of photographs taken by Robert Simpson during the week-long immersion into American history that ranged from a walking tour of the Black Heritage Trail to a day at the U.S.S Constitution Museum.
Voices Rising Summer Institute Slideshow from Robert Simpson on Vimeo.
Molly Laden demonstrates wiki discussion pageNew communication technologies were presented by Molly Laden, Teacher Learning Center Director in Medford. Molly explained our decision to use a wiki to host fall historian seminar content, teacher discussions and workshop materials. The Voices Rising wikispace allows users to easily add, update, and edit content on the site. We will also use the wiki to begin the lesson development process by sharing lesson ideas across districts and posting primary source materials in the form of images and links. The photo above shows an example of the wiki used by teachers to respond to historian prompts on their seminar readings.
Simpson gives update on PBU Builder 2.0Robert Simpson, Teacher Learning Center Director in Malden updated the group on TRITEC's new PBU Builder site used to host American history lessons and provide easy access to district students and teachers. We then transitioned to a Student Response System (SRS) activity based upon primary source content from the grade 3 Project-Based Unit (PBU) The Grass is Always Greener. We acquired the Qwizdom SRS from a state Technology Enhancement Grant. Half of the advisory board responded using their remotes that they had never used a SRS prior to today's meeting. In one multiple choice question, participants were asked to analyze a painting depicting early 19th century farm life. Answers were sent and then displayed as a bar graph on the computer projector. Simpson emphasized how the SRS engages students and allows teachers to make real-time adjustments to instruction. If you're interested in viewing the full SRS activity visit the Voices Rising wiki.
The meeting ended with a brief discussion on the next round of TAH grant funding which would support up to five years.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Advisory Board Meeting Returns to Malden

Diane Schilder, project evaluator gives an overview of grant activities
The Voices Rising advisory board returned to the beautiful Ryder Gallery at Malden Public Library today. The advisory board holds meetings on a semi-annual basis to inform stakeholders about project milestones and to solicit feedback on future events. TRITEC's, Cindy Fiducia kicked off the meeting with introductions and a reminder that the project's annual public showcase will be held at the Boston Public Library on May 20th from 4-6PM. Next, Robert Simpson gave an update on the launch of the new PBU Builder website which is in the final testing phase. PBU Builder 2.0 will be fully operational in preparation for the annual showcase. Highlights from Diane Schilder's brief evaluation summary included an explanation of the federal reporting requirements on the impact on both teacher knowledge of American history and student performance based upon standardized test questions. The Voices Rising advisory board Dianne Stratton used a concept map to demonstrate the lesson and unit development process. This year, teachers created American History lessons based on primary sources connected to the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and the Lowell National Historic Park. Molly Laden gave an overview of the digitization process that included one amazing find right in Medford's backyard, a printed book containing the transcript of Daniel O'Connell's famous 1837 speech on the state of Ireland.
Diane Dideo, Everett High School Kate Ambrose, Malden Grade 3 teacher

The most exciting part of the meeting occurred when teachers from Everett, Malden, and Medford each presented a portion of their lessons. Diane Dideo's high school lesson used poetry to teach students about the Lowell factory system. Kate Ambrose, a Malden third grade teachers showed how paintings could be used to study the difference between farm and factory life in the early 19th century. Taryn Ross used political cartoons as her primary sources to help high school students understand why the Irish chose to immigrate to Lowell. Another Medford teacher, Eileen McLaughlin, participating in the complementary Laptops in American History project discussed the results of technology integration into her history classroom. The project is a Massachusetts DOE grant focused on promoting student 1-to-1 laptop computing. Ms. McLaughlin talked about the power of wikis to improve student research on pivotal court cases such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Sacco and Venzetti. Eileen McLaughlin, Medford High School teacher talks about wikis
The meeting closed with exciting news from Robert Simpson about the George Lucas Educational Foundation's (GLEF) visit to the Ferryway school from April 14-16th (visit the SIW blog for more details) to profile our technology integration efforts. Professor Bob Allison also gave a preview of the upcoming Voices Rising Summer Institute to be held in Boston from August 18-22, 2008.

View the Advisory Board PowerPoint handouts in Flash. (SWF)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Advisory Board Convenes at Ryder Gallery

Advisory board seated in Ryder galleryProject partners met at the Malden Public Library's beautiful Ryder Gallery on Friday, October 26th, 2007 from 10 AM - noon. The advisory board convenes twice a year for the latest update on the Voices Rising project and to discuss future activities. We were pleased to have representatives from all of our grant partners in attendance. The list of attendees included school superintendents from Malden and Medford, history department faculty from Suffolk and UMass Lowell, and National Park Service directors from Boston National Historical Park, Minute Man, the Saugus Iron Works, and Lowell Mills.
Dr. Cynthia Fiducia, TRITEC executive director, led the meeting providing an overview of the project's main purpose as stated in our grant application.
To raise student achievement by improving teacher's knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of traditional American history.
View our PowerPoint Presentation handouts. (2.1 MB Flash)

Summer Institute report thumbnailDr. Diane Schilder then presented an overview of evaluation activities emphasizing how our project meets the goals of the Teaching American History Grant program. We ended the evaluation segment by listening to a podcast created at the end of year one by Judi Allen's history students. The podcast was a simulated meeting of Samuel Adams, James Otis, Paul Revere, and Thomas Paine prior to the Boston Tea Party based on primary source research of the Boston Committees of Correspondence. The American history podcast required students to write an authentic script using colonial language, construct a plausible dialog between real-life historical figures, and perform a voice narration to demonstrate the colonist's point of view.
Dianne Stratton debriefed the group on our successful Summer Institute held in August. (see previous posts) A two-page summary report (PDF) is available for download. A four minute slide show set to music brought the week alive and used photos taken by Robert Simpson during the week long institute. Dianne also encouraged advisory board members to check the project's blog to sample our fall historian seminar content.
Molly Laden presents lesson planning workshop overviewNext up, was our newest project member, Molly Laden who is the Medford Teacher Learning Center Director. Molly gave an overview of our lesson planning workshops and engaged board members in an activity where they compared different versions of an American history lesson introduction. The activity helped members see how the study of history and critical thinking can be supported by well structured lessons that encourage student inquiry over factual recall. We like to welcome Molly to our team!

Bob Simpson presented on the project's technology infrastructure. He started by giving a sneak peek of our upcoming release of PBU Builder 2.0. PBU Builder is TRITEC's curriculumBob Simpson presents technology infrastructure database system which has undergone an extensive redesign to bring the site up to today's web design standards. Look for more information on the public beta launch scheduled for December 3, 2007. Simpson went on to highlight content on the Voices Rising website such as historian biographies, summer institute and fall content schedules, and year one units located on our PBU Builder database. Several members were intrigued with website statistics produced through Google Analytics tracking technology. For instance, during the months of September and October the average daily site visits were 14/day with up to 30/day on Voices Rising professional development days.

Dr. Fiducia ended the meeting by showing a draft version of our year 3 theme, How did people in America secure their rights?
Be sure to mark your calendars for the next Advisory Board meeting on April 11, 2008.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

First Advisory Board Meets at Suffolk University

Professor Bob Allison leads a primary sources discussion The Voices Rising Advisory Board held their first official meeting at Suffolk University on Friday, October 19th (One Beacon St.). Project administrators gave a powerpoint presentation that included the project's goals and objectives, an update on the 2006 summer institute, a look at the project website and webboard, and a overview of the evaluation plan. Bob Allison conducted an interactive lesson on how to use American History primary sources with the entire group. Members analyzed Paul Revere's Boston Massacre engraving comparing it to a incident map created from witness accounts that contradicted what was actually depicted in the engraving. Finally, members viewed video footage from the 1775 Immersion Day held at Minute Man National Historical Park.

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