When you were in school, did you ever create a “historical” document and then dip it in tea/coffee to give it the appearance of being old? It is great fun and is an activity that really helps bring history to life for students. And now, thanks to new technology, you can take this activity to the next level of coolness.
For my students, we began the activity as per usual. I created a shared Google Doc that outlined the project for the students. We went through this document together to ensure everyone understood the instructions.
Then, the students created their letters. Next, we “aged” them. Students wanted to burn the edges, as they did in previous classes with other teachers, but I said “NO!” to fire in my room. Instead, I used small bins filled with coffee – smelled great and did the trick!
I have to say that the results were DYNAMITE! I know this is a tried-and-true, old school activity. But, the students really had fun and stepped up to produce GREAT letters.
The next step for us was sharing the letters with four peers – the letters reflected certain points-of-view about the U.S. Revolutionary War and the readers were to guess the POV and support their ideas with evidence from the text.
So far, the same-old, same-old. Then, we took things to another level with the Aurasma app (now HP Reveal). If you haven’t heard of Aurasma, then prepare to have your mind blown. You already know about QR Codes, where you click on a code and are taken to a website. Well, Aurasma does the same thing, but instead of a code, Aurasma turns anything into a link.
So, what I did was turn the historical letters into links to student-made Google Documents. With the Aurasma app, you click on a letter and it takes you to a Google Doc which provides more information about their letter – who the writer was, what the audience was, the POV, etc. There was also a reflection piece where students wrote about what they would do different next time, why they made particular choices, etc. It took the idea of an old document and gave it so much more depth.
What is cool about Aurasma is you can make any project deeper and more interactive. Students create a poster? Link it to a video or explanatory website. Science fair project? Link it to videos of actual experiments conducted. Really, the only limit is your imagination.
If you do come up with cool ideas, PLEASE share them with me!!
Aurasma is simple to use and there are great tutorial videos online to help you get your head around it. Check it out today!