Knowing is half the battle . . .

the other half being blue and red laser beams of course.

As part of my continuing retrospective . . . .

Being a big GI Joe fan growing up I made these file cards for my students. I moved to a more student-centered model later and built an Appleworks database1 so they could put in their own pictures and information.

Either way it was a fairly entertaining way to work with some fairly dull SOL information. We also used these cards to play a version of 20 questions. A student drew a card from the hat and the class asked yes or no questions to determine the individual. It took a fair amount of modeling to get them to ask good questions to narrow things down but it helped in the end. Although now it’s pretty clear to me I should have moved to smaller groups doing this once they got the hang of it. I did only have 12-14 students but this would be a big waste of time in a class of 30.

Lots of things I’d redo if I had the chance with these. The nicknames are semi-amusing but the stories are dry. They need more work. Additionally, the font now really bugs me and in general the layout is pretty crappy.

Conceptually though I still like the idea. Have students take information, condense it and apply it to a form of some sort with a strong style. It could have been baseball cards or Pokemon or Perez Hilton blog posts. Let your student choose. Identify the components of the form and the essential style elements and then make the product. Lots of good processing going on.







1 Anyone remember Appleworks? Anyone? I thought not.

8 thoughts on “Knowing is half the battle . . .

  1. You know there are plenty of us out here of an age to remember Appleworks. In fact, I think there is still an Appleworks file on my Dell PC, oddly enough. Now I’ll have to look at it and see what’s there (nothing worth keeping, I’ll wager).

  2. I meant it more as a forgotten and rapidly abandoned piece of software. Maybe I should have said “miss” instead of “remember.”

    Although a few of our elementary teachers seem to remember if fondly. The only part I liked was the database. It made a nice stepping stone to certain aspects of Filemaker.

  3. I have a rare misprint of “Wooden Tooth” where he is holding the axe in his left hand 😉

    This is a great example of a relatively simple idea played out; especially the powerful lesson of learning to ask questions.

    The best addon you can do now are links so people can dive in deeper from the facts…

  4. Alan – I’ll trade you 5 Harvard Foxes and a Renaissance man for your lefty Wooden Tooth.

    Good point about the links out.

  5. A brilliant workaround for the boring SOLs, and personally I love the font and the design. What this reminds me of is your idea we were talking about at Richmond with having student create blogs wherein they take on the persona of the historical figure they are covering, and keep that persona over the course of time to bring a new perspective to later historical events.

    I still think of that, and I would love to see the Native American trading cards, and the interaction between the founding fathers and the other figures of that moment, and then later on. Or even have the trading cards themselves change. So when we get to the Reagan 80s they are designed like Garbage Patch Kid cards 🙂 Actually, something like that could be as much a lesson in period design and aesthetics as the history, and the two are closely related in many regards.

    Brilliant stuff!

  6. Minor question – SOL means what?

    Love the idea, and I think it looks just fine design-wise. However I may not be the kind of supporter that you want on your side in this case…

    1. SOLs are the VA “Standards of Learning” – it may not be a coincidence that S.O.L. also stands for something in other realms of society.

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