Historical Digitally Altered Image Project

As many of you have might have seen on my website, I have been digitally altering movie posters and other images to tell a new historical story. The results are often silly but have been a fun outlet for me personally.

How George Got His Groove Back

How George Got His Groove Back (and the original poster prior to my alteration)

For instance, How George Got His Groove Back popped into my head after researching and then visiting Washington’s Crossing. I simply had to make this when I got back to my hotel that night!

This summer my friend, occasional writing partner, and one of my #sschat co-moderators Dan Krutka suggested bringing my students in on the fun. Together, we created the framework for an inventive project in which students altered images based upon what we cover in class to demonstrate their understanding and to eventually serve as review material. Continue reading

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Honoring Our Veterans: Using Inquiry to Discuss Veterans Day | Discovery Education

I’ve recently begun blogging for Discovery Education! My first assignment was to create a lesson for Veterans Day and I am really excited to share this with you!


“My name is Michael K. Milton, and I am a US and World History teacher at Burlington High School in Massachusetts. My classroom is a place where my students and I get to experiment! As students explore history, they reflect, draw connections, inquire, discuss, debate, and seek out more knowledge about the world in which they live. Like my students, I love to learn, question, debate and inquire with my peers. In this, my first blog entry for Discovery Education, I want to share what Veterans Day means to me, and how I incorporate meaningful reflection into my classroom.

Inquiry-Based Lesson

In addition to honoring the past, I want students to grapple with how our society has treated returning soldiers historically, and how we treat them today. For an initial lesson, I might focus on the time period following World War II and compare it to how soldiers are treated today. My big question is, are we honoring our returning troops? Creating an inquiry-based lesson in which students are asked to evaluate historical circumstances allows them to research, discuss, debate, evaluate, and ultimately formulate a position and support it with evidence.”

For the complete article, visit the below link!

Source: Honoring Our Veterans: Using Inquiry to Discuss Veterans Day | Discovery Education

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Interactive Self-Paced Presentations with Google Slides

With Google Slides, you can create activities that allow students to move at their own pace! Utilizing the “link to different page” in Google Slides, you can create a little “choose your own adventure” for your students.

I made this one night for my students to get background on the Stamp Act while I was at a meeting for most of a period this week. Though my goal with sharing it is not to have everyone use this presentation (although feel free), but rather to show off how the technology can be used.

Here is the presentation and below it will be more of a “how to create” these presentations on Google Slides. Note: You can do the same with PowerPoint.

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“Rare Unearthed George Washington’s Christmas Card 1776”

What if on Christmas day in 1776 while preparing for the epic Battle of Trenton, George Washington took the time to write an annual holiday letter? It might look something like this…

It's not often when you find Washington's Christmas Card from 1776!

What an exciting find!

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Non-Linear Google Slides Presentations: Weimar Republic Political Parties

Last spring in my Digital Literacies and Emerging Technology grad class, we were asked to create a non-linear experience using PowerPoint or another similar tool.  In addition to the non-linear format, there had to be a place for discussion. My professor called it a “Branched Simulation” and I called it the bane of my existence. There were many false starts and initial sketches until I found my way forward.

This is probably one of the most exciting things that I have done recently. Not because of the content, but because of the method and the possibility. This is what I’d like to do more with in the future.*

For this interactive experience, I used a lesson from Facing History about the political parties during the Weimar Republic. The lesson looks at the political platforms of the Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. In this experience, students were job seekers attempting to help the political parties recruit. In the plan, students utilize TodaysMeet  to participate in a discussion regarding the parties and also respond individually.

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A Procedure for Reading Difficult Documents

As you would not chug a hot cup of tea, you also should not speed through a primary document! You risk a burnt tongue and not fully understanding what you just read. Try reading Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal quickly! You may walk away with a very disturbed understanding of what you have just read.

I typically start most mornings of with a loose-leaf tea in my classroom. Except on Fridays when I make my weekly pilgrimage to Starbucks for their expensive yet delicious Reserve coffee.

I typically start most mornings of with a loose-leaf tea. Except on Fridays when I make my weekly pilgrimage to Starbucks for their expensive yet delicious Reserve coffee.

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Thoughts on PowerPointing

My friend Joe Sangillo wrote a great post for Discovery Education about how he uses PowerPoint presentations in the class. It got me thinking a lot about the struggle that I am currently having with “PowerPoints.”

My thoughts.

I love writing a skeletal outline on the board with drawings! But my students have requested that I do “PowerPoints” – we tested it one day when we had similar information on my board (with my drawings) and overwhelmingly they said that the slides were easier to follow as they could focus on one thing at a time.

While normally this would be spread out over a larger board, to attempt our experiment this was written on my 8 foot vertical board.

While normally this would be spread out over a larger board, to attempt our experiment this was written on my 8 foot vertical board.

My “PowerPoints” typically have images paired with words, occasionally with fake tweets from people, have questions and activities associated with them. Students have access to them prior to the class and a few parents have thanked me for them.

This is an example of a “PowerPoint” Slide.

But I hate them. I feel a bit stifled. Like a square peg being forced into a round hole – or vice versa. I’ve never been a peg so I’m not sure which feels a bit forced. But whichever one it is, that’s how I feel.

I’m attempting to find a balance between me and the “PowerPoint.” Some way that I can still feel creative.

I guess in the end it is only one of my teacher tools. Batman probably, at one point, hated his cape but everyone was like “Hey Batman, you totally have to wear your cape. You’re a superhero and all! Superheroes wear capes.” And he probably went to his Batcave and thought a bit – looked at the cape and attempted to figure if or how it could work for him. Then he was like, “Right, since I can’t fly like the others, I can rig this cape to make me glide in the air – it’ll be my Batglide.”

I’ll eventually find a way that feels comfortable for me and my students. I’m just not quite there yet.

*Note: I use quotations with PowerPoints as as my school is a “Google” school, we use “GoogleSlides” which is like PowerPoint Lite.

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