The start of a successful year involves some creativity on the part of teachers to get to know all of their students in a low stress learning environment. Infographics can sometimes liven up any class if the content is something students can relate to because they can make personal connections with the themes.
An infographic which fits the bill is 100 years of change. Here two years in America's past are compared-1913 and 2013. Though students have probably studied events from those periods, they may not have a clear picture of the everyday differences in those two time periods for the average citizen. This visual is full of rich details, but not overwhelming in language. Such a format allows full participation from everyone: English language learners, students with special needs, English only students, and the gifted. Having students discuss the changes in small groups will also build language proficiency of ELLs.
Once the class has had time to explore the visual, the teacher can move on to making projections as to what life might be like in 2113. The teacher with the class can select the categories to be studied and then leave the choice of category to be reviewed up to the class with the understanding that student groups will be limited to 4 or 5 AND will be of mixed talents (cooperative learning). All results will be shared with the class in any format that the members of the groups agree upon.
Why not have students also create the class rubric for scoring the? :) This approach leads to a buy-in by all.
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