For Students

Webquest:  How will I engage the students at Rhinebeck?

The Task: At Rhinebeck, you and a partner will stand in front of 15-25 curious and active middle schoolers. Your job is to get these youngsters to take a passionate stand on a current event. In order to do this, you have to 1) grab their attention with a powerful hook that makes them sit up and take notice of you and the lesson; 2) explain the issue and present multiple perspectives on it in a very brief introductory set; 3) put them into groups to create a response to the issue; and 4) lead an interactive discussion and debate in which the groups present their responses.

Your assignment: You are about to embark on a brief journey to answer your burning questions about the Rhinebeck teaching experience, especially the question: What topics and activities will appeal to Rhinebeck kids? By the end, you will have developed 2 topics that you think will be motivating to 7th and 8th graders. You will write a brief justification for why you think they will appeal to students who are between 12 and 14 years old.  You will also write out 1 activity you would like to conduct with the students. Fill in the Webquest Worksheet as you go through the materials.

STEP ONE: Pre-Thinking: What kinds of topics interested you when you were in middle school?  What kind of activities did you like (eg, groupwork, presentations, role playing, etc.)? What topics and activities do you think should be avoided? Why?

STEP TWO:  Look at each of these lessons and fill in the chart. Note that Lesson 3 and 4 provide nice models of FW Journal 3!

Lesson 1: Should sports teams change offensive logos? Dan and Chris on Mascots

Lesson 2: Can teachers say whatever they want? David and Jessica, Teacher Speech

Lesson 3: Do tattoos distract from learning? Caitlin, Tattoo Lesson Report, F15

Lesson 4: Do video games lead to violence? Rhinebeck News, Cuddeback

Lesson 5: Does the government have the right to invade our privacy? Brian and Mike, NSA Leaks

STEP THREE: Now, it’s time to start developing a plan! What topics would YOU like to teach? Look at for ideas (be sure to click on a topic or two, they provide good examples of how to frame your topic as a debatable question). Write out 2 topics in the form of a debatable question. For each one, explain why you think this topic would appeal to the students. Finally, based on the strategies you read about (eg, posters, trial, four corners—or think of one on your own), write out one that you would like to try with the students.

Reading Like a Historian Webquest

PART 1: View these three lesson segments focused on teaching historical thinking skills. View each one and fill in the chart in your Reading Guide.

Ms Ziegler:

Ms. Duvoor:

Mr. Colglazier:

PART 2: One of our essential questions is: How do I create an environment that supports deep learning and thinking for all students? In your Reading Guide, explain whether and how each strategy helps create an open learning environment that supports deep learning and thinking for all students:

Historians in Training:

Turn to your partner:

Philosophical Chairs

OPTIONAL: Download a US/world history lesson here:




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