Ever wonder what it would be like if an historical figure had access to social media, such as Facebook? That's a question I posed to my 4th grade inclusion Social Studies class when we introduced Pennsylvania's history and its founding by William Penn.
Lots of those dudes and dudettes back then had to obviously rely on letters and long trips on ships (we're talkin' MONTHS!) to get information back and forth. Kids today live in an instant gratification world, where frustration can errupt when a text takes more than 3 seconds to send. Showing them history's roots of communication of important events can be mind blowing to them because of the world we live in today.
I had heard of using Facebook or Teacherbook to create an online account as an historical person, but I had the idea to actually create a space in our classroom that would become an interactive Facebook page....on a blackboard. I decided to corner off a bit of the classroom to create what I think William Penn's Facebook page would have said and consisted of, if he were to use it. By simply using chalk, I updated his status (daily or every few days), added friends, changed his profile picture, and created a timeline of events to teach historical concepts.
I then created a " (student) likes this" strip for each child in the class, complete with "thumbs up" symbol and told the students to check the board during their morning routine or snack and "like" statuses or pictures as they wanted. I have to say, the result was pretty darn cool. As simple as it was, the kids loved seeing all the Facebook icons and lingo intertwined with learning authentic facts.
The prep work is a bit daunting, but once you do the dirty work....laminate that shizz, slap some magnets on the back (adhesive magnets bought in a pack of like, 500 at Staples), and keep it in an envelope for each year!
1. Pick a person from the unit you are teaching that this could apply to. I happened to pick William Penn because we have an entire unit and assessment dedicated to him during the 1st marking period
2. Google a general life timeline of that person. I used Wikipedia, but I know any crazy person with a computer can edit the site as they wish. Check for accuracy!
3. Write/type/organize that person's life separated by years- birth, school, early careers, marriage, historical significance, important events, death- these will become your "status updates"
4. Did your person say anything rad? William Penn is credited with a lot of mind-blowing quotes......these became status updates when I was in a pinch
5. Add "friend requests" to your person's wall as people entered that person's life. Accept friend requests and add to their "Friends" bank---start with that person's parents as friends!
6. Relationship status/school information should be accurate- use years and pictures
7. Create a general running timeline off to the side of the "profile" so students can see an on-going timeline of events
8. Use Google Image to find Facebook icons
9. Use washi tape to block off sections of "profile" (found at Staples)
Here are some pics from my William Penn page. Didn't take many, but you get the general idea. Who could you make a Facebook page for???
Here's a Word document I made for my "student" likes strips and some icons. Feel free to use and edit as needed! Historical Facebook