Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Everett, Gwen. John Brown: One Man Against Slavery. Paintings by Jacob Lawrence. Rizzoli, 1993.
Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Paintings by James Ransome. Knopf. 1993.
Monjo, F.N. The Drinking Gourd. Pictures by Fred Brenner. Harper and Row, 1970.
Turner, Ann. Nettie's Trip South. Illus by Roanld Himler. Macmillan, 1987.
Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd. Knopf, 1988.
Chapter Length Books:
Berger, Terry. Black Fairy Tales. Atheneum, 1969.
Hamilton, Virginia. Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom. Illus by Leo and Diane Dillon. Knopf, 1993.
Hamilton, Virginia. The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. Illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Knopf, 1985.
Lyons, Mary E. Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs. Scribner, 1992.
McKissack, Patricia and Frederick McKissack. Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman? Scholastic, 1992.
McKissack, Patricia. The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural. Illus by Brian Pinkney. Knopf, 1992.
Paulsen, Gary. NightJohn. Delacorte, 1993.
Sterling, Dorothy. Freedom Train. Doubleday, 1954.
Yepson, Roger. Train Talk. Pantheon. 1983.
Monday, November 19, 2007
February is African American History month and an excellent time to set up your very own Underground Railroad inside of your library! Here are some ideas on how to get started and what you can do to make it a success.
- Have a computer specially assigned for this learning topic. A special homepage can be created with some background information and links to the games listed on this blog, including Escape to Freedom of course! Students can work their way through the games and learn with librarian assistance close by for those tough search questions. The homepage should also provide additional links to learning more--you can use the ones listed on this blog and others you may find!
- Have library materials on the topic displayed around the computer. The questions on Escape to Freedom can be found in many print resources already available in your library. Put these and other relevant titles near the "Underground Railroad Station" so that students can look for answers or follow their curiousity after completing the games.
- Decorate the zone with posters, photographs, and other memorabilia that will inspire the children on their learning adventure.
- Provide rewards! You can find promotional items like pencils, pins, and T-shirts from this website for Black History Month Products. There is even a "Black History Month Certificate" that you could award students that complete all of the interactive games!
- Step Back into History! Host a special discussion event where students can show up dressed like their favorite historical figure from this time period--you can provide them with a list beforehand of the ones specifically mentioned in "Escape to Freedom" (like Levi Coffin or Harriet Tubman). Students can learn from each other by asking questions about their "character" and by giving little bibliographical speeches. Be sure to have biographical resources available in plenty of time beforehand!
- Create a list of "Stations" that students can complete in order to be completely free! For example, Station 1 could be completing the "Escape to Freedom" game; Station 2 could be going through PBS's "I am a Slave"; Station 3 could be answering questions about the time period whose answers are found in the printed display materials, etc. Once through all of the stations, the students can be given a special pencil or certificate showing that they've made it to Freedom!
These are just some ideas to get you started on how you can bring this interactive learning experience into your library or classroom. While there are lots of links to online resources on this blog, I'll post some print resources you may want to use with my next entry. Please feel free to comment if you have questions about how to incorporate this game into your learning environment, or if you have more ideas you'd like to share!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Ask for Kids has some great search tips for students just beginning to learn how to search online. You can see them here . I'll give you an overview of what they say with some of my own advice here!
- Search with Keywords or Questions. Do you want to know more about Harriet Tubman? You can enter in something like, "Who was Harriet Tubman?" or even just "Harriet Tubman". Maybe you want to know more about other women like her, so you could enter "Women in Slavery". Think about what answer you want to find out, then just ask!
- Search for simple and direct terms. Just like I said above!
- Ask for only one thing at a time. If your question has two parts, ask them one at a time instead of together. For example, if you want to know who Levi Coffin was and where teh Underground Railroad stations were in Indiana, you can first ask "Levi Coffin". When you get the answer you wanted, go back and ask again for "where were the Underground Railroad Stations in Indiana?"
- Look for smart answers. At askforkids, they will list these at the top of the results page. Ask your teacher or parent about how to figure out if a resource is a "smart" one or not and eventually it will all make sense to you!
- If there is a drop down box, pull it down with your cursor. Askforkids wants to make sure that it's answering the right question for you, so it will give you a drop down box with a list of topics, just to make sure. Here is what they say about it: Pull the box down by clicking on the small arrow. Pick the choice you think describes best what you want to know. Make sure it is showing in the window when you let go of the arrow. Then click the Go button again and you will go to the Web site you selected. If you see several drop-down boxes, you might want to look at all of the choices. The answers you are looking for will almost always be contained in the choices given.
Practice, Practice, Practice!!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Begin the game by reading the fun little captions that each character in this "cartoon" says...it will help you when the questions come later! When you're done with each caption, click the arrow to go on to the next one!
Step Two: The Questions
Near the end of each "Episode", you'll click on a box to "Answer the Question". A question will be asked that relates to the previous Episode and you'll have four choices from a drop-down box. If you select the right one right away, you get a ton of points! If you miss, you can keep selecting choices, but you will earn fewer and fewer points with each answer.
If you don't know the answer, there are two things you can do for help:
- Click on Hints. This will take you to a page with three hints and you can pick which hint you want to "decode". The Hints will cost you between 1 and 3 points, depending on which one(s) you pick. An example of a hint to decode is for the question "What does John mean by the "drinking gourd"? Can you decode "Cu kaa cra repc, djedm cra 'Qaduqa' zyccup? If you do AND you get the right answer, it will only cost you one point.
- Click on Search. This will take you directly to the Ask for Kids search box and you can "ask" a question. It will give you back links to websites that may help you answer the question! It is also a great way to learn more about resources available online and how to find them. For example, the "What law was passed in 1850 that would explain why Jeb needs a pass in the North" is kind of hard! Rather than trying to search for the question, you may have MORE luck if you search through the answer options. If you "ask" about "The Fugitive Slave Act", you'll be taken to websites that let you know THIS is the answer. What a great way to learn! Click here to go to one of the websites that pops up when you search for it this way.
Step Three: what do you do when you're done?
Once you've completed the game, you'll have all kinds of fun facts about American Slavery to help you discuss what you've learned and the way you learned it. Teachers can find wonderful lists of classroom discussion aids from the Teacher's Guide! You can also move on to try these other awesome comic adventures from the Derby Series to "hone your internet research skills while investigating cool stuff":
- Iz and Auggie and the Invention Snatchers
- Ecology Strikes Back
- Iz and Auggie go to the Polls
- Mystery on Mars
- Revenge of the Lunar Fringe
- Crazy Couch Caper
OR, you can do THIS:
Take some time to explore the additional links I have on the right of this blog. You can learn more about interactive games on Black History and Slavery, read through the online resources that I list for additional information on the questions asked in the game, or spend some time searching the links I provided for kid-friendly search engines to find answers to other questions you might have. Remember, when it comes to searching for materials online, practice makes perfect!!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
About Signing Up
Parents will be happy to know that when kids sign up to play games on headbone, they will be prompted to enter their parents' email address as well as their own. The parents are then sent an email that lets them know their child has signed up and gives them information about privacy, the website, and a link to cancel their child's access if desired.
What makes this so special for learning?
This game is sponsored by the History Channel and can be played individually by children, or collectively as a "team" so that you can compare your earned points with other kids or teams across the country. The Scores and Rules are explained in a simple manner by clicking on the links. Also provided is a really great Teacher's Guide! The Teacher's Guide gives ideas for incorporating the game into classroom and is broken down into sections: Summary of the game, Planning and Preparation, Grades 4 and 5 (activities and discussions and learning objectives and curriculum), Grades 6, 7, & 8 (activities and discussions and learning objectives and curriculum), Links, and Resources.
What I think makes this game REALLY special is the way it can be used in either a school library or the children's area of a public library! The game does more than teach kids about the American Slave experience on the Underground Railroad, it gives them experience using the internet for research! I'll give more ideas for how to use this in a library setting in a later post, so keep reading!
The Game Questions
Okay, don't cheat, but I'm going to give you the ten questions this game asks its players right now...just to give you an idea of how hard they are!
1. Who was President at that moment (1850)?
2. What does John mean by the "drinking gourd"?
3. What were slaves called when they were transported on the Underground Railroad?
4. What law was passed in 1850 that would explain why Jeb would need a pass in the North?
5. Where is this "station"?
6. Who is Araminta Ross and why is there a bounty on her head?
7. What is the significance of the year 1863 in terms of slavery?
Each question has four options to pick from, clues to unscramble, and a link to a search engine for kids! All of the questions are provided in the Summary section, including Hints on the answer (that help give a hint on how to search for it!).
What is so fun about this?
The questions above may not be so much fun for a kid to explore, but this game is kind of like an interactive comic strip, with fun and colorful pictures to keep those fingers clicking onto the next question. Plus, when you try to get a hint, you get a great brain workout trying to unscramble the clues! Instead of just memorizing a bunch of dates and names, kids become part of a totally fun experience of trying to search for the answer, making it MUCH more likely that it will be remembered for a long, long time.