Teachers can use the premade Solve a Challenge activities/puzzles as daily class starters. These cover a variety of history and civics topics and take from five to 15 minutes. Individual challenges are arranged around themes like "Becoming an American" or "Regardless of Race," so students could select the challenges that appeal to their interests. The variety of challenges and options within each offer many opportunities for choice-based civics learning in small chunks. Outside of these premade challenges, teachers could get students to use the Create a Challenge feature. This would work well as a final activity for a lesson or unit.
Teachers can also create classes within the website and add students, the benefit being the ability to track student achievement and offer feedback on student work. Premade assessments focus on reflections, rubrics, and results. Beyond class management features, the Lesson Plan section offers teachers loose templates of ideas that can be modified for skill and content. The Differentiation section provides ideas for ELL, special education, and enrichment strategies. Finally, the In a Pinch section reminds teachers that certain site activities are perfect for quick activities or sub lesson plans. Take note that each of these sections -- and the lesson suggestions they provide -- are basic, but the Resources section does offer some more in-depth resources directly from the Library of Congress.Continue reading Show less
Eagle Eye Citizen is a free website where students (and teachers) can solve and create civics and history puzzles based on primary sources from the Library of Congress. There are three different types of puzzles or challenges: Time after Time, Sort It Out, and Big Picture, and each connects directly to a historical thinking skill. Time after Time weaves in sequencing by tasking students with placing primary sources in chronological order. Sort It Out gets students to connect and contextualize primary sources by theme or topic. Big Picture focuses students' attention on the main idea and purpose as they gradually uncover an image. Each primary source links out to other resources (e.g., a transcript) to help students with comprehension. Ultimately, Eagle Eye Citizen tries to deepen student engagement with primary sources and to build some understanding of topics like women's suffrage, immigration, and civil rights along the way. The individual challenges are organized by theme, and there's a definite focus on diversity, democracy, and justice. Themes include "Girl Power," "It's All Rights with Me," "Constitution Evolution," "Fighting Against Barriers," and "Moving Forward," just to name a few. Students create profiles with avatars and screen names. They can see the activity of their peers (semi-anonymously due to the screen names), but students will likely share their names and compare performance -- which might add to the fun.
Eagle Eye Citizen gets students to see history through the lens of primary sources from the trusted Library of Congress. Students and teachers can solve or create three types of challenges from templates and a carefully curated -- albeit limited to the purpose at hand -- library of primary sources. There's a good focus on choice, feedback, and reflection as part of the learning process.
Some of the challenges may seem simplistic for high school or advanced classes, particularly the Big Picture puzzles. This is an issue, given the large focus on civics in high schools, especially senior courses. Teachers can, however, steer students to more challenging activities like Time After Time or Sort It Out, or look to the Enrichment section for ideas. However, these support sections are pretty limited. There might also be some difficulties differentiating. The text-based primary sources might frustrate some learners, and while optional clues provide support, it's possible that students could check out and just guess their way through. Vocabulary or audio support could make the trickier texts more accessible. This leaves Eagle Eye Citizen as a useful supplement for civics or history classes that takes care of some prep work for teaching primary source analysis; however, it'll require some modification to make sure this is accessible and challenging for all learners.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.
Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.
Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
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