Saturday, 17 August 2013

Fleeting (or Floating?) Resources

Unlike many teachers I LOVE planning. I love posing a question and trying to create a framework through which my class can work toward answering it, or at least demonstrate some understanding of the importance of it. I love the challenge, the creativity, the myriad new things I learn... I love it all.

(Of course, we all know that the best laid plans often go astray and that's OK. In fact often it's more than OK, it's fantastic, because it means the students have taken charge of their learning and are taking it where they need to go.) 

Anyway, back to what I was saying... I love planning. I'm regularly amazed at the brilliant resources we have at our fingertips these days.  Check out these great history sites I have discovered recently in my planning of a unit about the voyage and arrival of the First Fleet (For my non-Australian readers: the First Fleet refers to both the actual ships of the first fleet sent by England to Australia in order to transport convicts, and the stories associated with that era/series of events.):
  • Convict Records of Australia: this site gives access to the British Convict Transportation Register with sections about the crimes committed, the individual ships, a timeline, a search function AND best of all tables of data about the convicts that double as a maths resource. 
  • Convicts to Australia, A Guide to Researching Your Convict Ancestors: this site hosts a plethora of interesting links (to First Fleet and convict related information) and quirky little stories. If you don't happen to have any convict ancestors (or any of which you are aware) this site has a fun little app that allows you to create your own. Here's mine...
  • First Fleet Arrives 1788: this is an interesting YouTube clip that addresses the arrival of the First Fleet from a more Indigenous perspective. 
  • Sydney Living Museums: this organisation aims to educate Sydneysiders about history from an insider's perspective, and along the way have put together a fantastic web resource as well. I particularly enjoyed 'A day in the life of a convict'.
  • State Library of NSW First Fleet: this page is a wealth of information but the highlight for me is the animation of the First Fleet's journey on a world map. We watched this as a class, pausing at various points to add to our own maps and discuss why the First Fleet may have stopped at various places. We started the discussion by marking on a world map the various ways we thought the voyage might have gone and compared those predictions with reality. LOVE this animation.
  • My Place for Teachers: as you would expect this is linked closely with the television series. Some good information though.
  • First Fleet Provisions: this site gives a detailed provisions list. Fascinating!
  • First Fleet Convict Dataset: this is a very comprehensive and searchable dataset of the convicts on the First Fleet. Again, awesome cross curricular potential.
  • The First Australians: a brilliant treatment of the First Fleet's arrival from an Indigenous perspective. 
So many more to mention but these are a great start. I have more on my Pinterest 'Classroom Coolness: History' board. I'd love to hear about others. What's your favourite First Fleet resource?

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...

Standard 2.2 Content selection and organisation
Standard 2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people to promote reconciliation  between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
Standard 34 Select and use resources

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