Kicking Off An Innovative Personalized Learning Experiment

From Allison:
The following is a summer reading assignment given out to students last week to kick off the Advanced Placement US History course. History Teacher Laura Stott from Madison Public Schools, CT is part of an innovation project to experiment with personalized learning throughout the year with me. She wanted to send a message right from the very beginning that this AP course requires both critical examination, judgment, and reflection.
From Laura:
I want to make this assignment a strong start for the school year – providing the students with clear expectations and support as they move into their first AP class. However, I also want to encourage self-reflection and peer reflection, and provide ownership on the part of the students.
I’ve revised the assignment and the rubric, and I’m hopeful that the assignment will go from being one in which they review their summer reading at a factual level, to one in which the students are selecting a historical argument statement that interests them, and selecting a product that best highlights their information.

AP United States History Summer Reading Presentation

Reading Resources:

  • Chapters 1 and 2 in Give Me Liberty.
  • The Myth of the Unmanaged Landscape by Tobias Costa, Paul Grant Costa (PDF)
  • Changes in the Land by Bill Cronin (PDF)
  • Three readings from Chapter 1 of Voices of Freedom, our supplementary primary source reader:
    1. The Pueblo Revolt
    2. Father Jean de Brebauf on the Customs and Beliefs of the Hurons
    3. A Micmac Indian Replies to the French

AP Historical Thinking Skill

Creating and Supporting a Historical Argument

Select one of the below historical argument statements and gather supporting evidence. In other words, what examples and evidence can you find in your reading of Chapters 1 and 2 and the additional resources provided to prove these statements are true?

  1. Before the arrival of Europeans, native populations in North America developed a wide variety of social, political and economic structures based in part on interactions with the environment and each other.
  2. European overseas expansion resulted in the Columbian Exchange, a series of interactions and adaptations among societies across the Atlantic.
  3. Contacts among American Indians, Africans and Europeans challenged the worldviews of each group.
  4. Differences in imperial goals, cultures and the North American environments that different empires confronted led Europeans to develop diverse patterns of colonization.
  5. European colonization efforts in North America stimulated intercultural contact and intensified conflict between various groups of colonizers and native peoples.

Work with your partner to create a product which will communicate your findings. You have free range in choosing a product – political cartoon? Video? Map? Animation? Table? Museum exhibit? Timeline? Consider a product that will best communicate your historical argument statement and your evidence, and will also capture your audience’s attention (Clarity and creativity).

Review the rubric on the back of the page. You’ll get feedback from four places: your self evaluation, my evaluation, and the evaluation of two other groups.

Criteria Exceeds Expectations (24-25) Meets Expectations (20-23) Approaches Expectations (17-19) Misses Expectations (14-16)
Choice of product Product is an ideal match for the historical argument statement, demonstrates insight (independently drawing a conclusion or making a connection) Product is an appropriate match for the historical argument statement and helps to convey the group’s response. Product may not completely match with the historical argument statement or may not best convey the group’s response Product does not match with the historical argument statement and does not help to convey the group’s response
Quality of product Product is creative and well crafted, and demonstrates originality and planning. Product is well crafted, demonstrates planning. Product is crafted basically, demonstrates some planning. Product is poorly crafted, demonstrates rushed or no planning.
Evidence Detailed, accurate information from multiple sources; strongly supports the historical argument statement. Some detailed, accurate information from at least one primary and one secondary source; supports the historical argument statement. Accurate but vague information; leaves out essential information for supporting the historical argument statement; may rely entirely on one source. Vague and inaccurate information; misses major elements necessary for supporting historical argument statement; relies entirely on one source.
Clarity The full depth of the topic can be clearly understood by the viewers. The product grabs our attention and teaches us something new. The topic can be clearly understood by the viewers. The product stands alone and teaches us something new. The topic is confusing to the viewers. The product needs support or further explanation from you. It reviews information we already knew. The viewers can’t make out the topic of the product. The product can’t stand alone, and needs significant additional explanation from you. It reviews information we already knew.
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