Annotating a Will: A Digital Process

One of the projects that Ryan Smith chose as part of our Digital History course was the collaborative transcription and annotation of a historic Richmond will . . . describing it thusly1 in the syllabus. Collaborative annotation: To further put our emphasis on collaboration into practice, we will annotate [explain, contextualize, add to] together one document, the last will and testament of Isaac Judah, an early Richmond resident. This assignment will require student research, online or in person, to help explain and contextualize this document for a public audience. What software platform should we use to markup the item? How should we handle the will’s transcription? Who are the parties mentioned in the will? Where are the locations? What historical lessons can it teach readers? The quality and quantity of each students’ research/commentary will count as 10% of the final course grade. The will can be found on our course website, in the Google Drive folder. The transcription file is: Annotations can begin as soon as the course begins and should be finalized by February 23 March 30. If the annotation is fruitful, we may post this result for public consumption. We ended up with quite a bit of work . . . in fact so much work that displaying it via the Google Doc didn’t really work. It […]


Virginia Uniform Performance Standards Breakdown

If that’s not a sexy title, I don’t know what is. If you aren’t a teacher in VA it’s likely you should stop reading now. Others may have done this already, but I decided to breakdown the new VA Teacher Standards because I’m helping to look at integrating our multiple rubrics into this framework and hopefully consolidating the various lenses through which we define good instruction. You can see my current work below. I wanted to clarify the statements and really see what they said. I think it led to some semi-interesting discoveries. Standardization 5 of the 7 standards are stated so that the action has a result. You perform action X to get result Y. Professional Knowledge used the phrase “by providing” instead of “to provide.” Additionally, Student Academic Progress uses “results in” in lieu of “to achieve” or something similar. I’m not sure if that matters. They could be restated in the breakdowns but, at least for now, I feel the need to stick as close to the original wording as possible. Only 1 standard appears to vary from the format where all of the initial statements match the end goal(s). Professionalism is the one that feels like it breaks the pattern. The action “maintains a commitment to professional ethics” doesn’t seem to match well with “to enhance […]