So, Where Am I Going With the Lesson? KWasosky

 

political-cartoon-res

Cartoon creation by: Kim Wasosky

 

 

Well,  creating this module has been a very interesting project. I have learned so much throughout the process and have finally put together a complete module, or project more or less. I have added an extension lesson as an additional lesson to coincide with my first lesson on the Transcontinental Railroad. My extension lesson is for the students to create a political cartoon based on the time period and the information they gained through the research for the first lesson (module).

I have completed my module and have two students lined up who said they would complete the lesson for me. I think it grew into a much bigger lesson than I thought. I am not sure they will want to do it, but I will still ask them if they are interested in trying it all out. I will add them as members to my Transcontinental Railroad course and let them move around and see what they think. I want to ask them for some feedback on what they think of it, once completed.

From my classmates, if they feel like looking through it, I would like some specific feedback on whether or not it would accomplish my objective the way it is set up. Any constructive critiquing would be helpful. Monty, it took a long time to get the lesson set up just the way I wanted it. When putting together modules for online-learning, will it get easier and require less time in the future, or does it always require so much time? I really like the idea of having lessons online. We have an online textbook for my class and I assign work to students on homebound or those that are out sick and upload my notes to them so they don’t fall behind. Since taking this course, I have created a folder within one of my classes for a student who is receiving homebound instruction. I upload notes, the test, the link to the text and she is basically taking my class online except that she prints off the completed work and sends it in to me. I can most likely in the future, have it all done online and cut out the middle-man if I set up virtual hours where she could ask questions and we could have some discussions.

There are definitely some possibilities for my course here.

Thank you for your patience. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. By the way, Debbie Myers, I decided to take you up on the Google Draw for my lesson extension. It was fun to create.

Final TPACK Lesson-KWasosky

 

tracks

Final TPACK Lesson 

Students will be identifying different perspectives of people in America that were affected by the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The population of learners for this lesson consists of a whole group of twenty-two seventh grade students in my U.S. History class. The lesson will occur with some face-to-face interaction and some online interaction between the students and myself. The students were asked to answer a question, “Was the Transcontinental Railroad a positive or negative force in America?” prior to the beginning of the unit on Westward Expansion. In this lesson, the students will engage in online research utilizing provided links to gain information about the different perspectives of each group of people. They will organize their information in a graphic organizer which will be accessed online. They will draft an essay on their finding which will also include whether or not they have changed their opinion after the research. Students will partner up and share their essays with one another for peer editing collaboration before submitting a final, polished essay for assessment to me through Google.docs.

The main Content (C) of this lesson is for students to clearly identify in what ways different groups of people in America were affected by or during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The groups of people being examined are: Homesteaders/Ranchers, Native Americans, Immigrant railroad workers, Railroad company owners, citizens on the east and west coasts of the U.S. Students will gain insight to this information through the planned websites listed for them to use for the lesson.

The main Pedagogy (P) is based on three of Marzano’s research-based strategies. The first strategy to be addressed specifically targets note-taking to pull out useful information on each group of people listed. The second strategy will involve cooperative learning in which the students will peer-edit for a partner and receive constructive feedback on written work before drafting a final product. The last strategy involves using graphic organizers to sort out the acquired information and recording it in an organized chart to help them analyze the depth of the effects on the people they are researching. This lesson will be best carried out with some face-to-face interaction when discussing online engagement with others. Modeling of procedures on how to achieve student goals are necessary to assure clarity of directions.

The main Technology (T) for the lesson is the utilization of google.docs to share information with each other for using the organizer to collect information, writing an essay, peer-editing response and sharing the final draft with me. A secondary use of technology involves using the schoology platform to engage in the lesson from the start, gain access to all organizers, websites as well as enter the response to the initial question.

The Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)

Seventh grade students using graphic organizers while researching historic information under clearly defined headings offers needed guidance to focus on specific information related to each category when note-taking. Students will be provided with a rubric for their final assessment essay. Cooperative activities such as peer-editing are beneficial for constructive feedback and suggestions for production of a well-created final assessment.

Support: Students produce information in which they can see in an organized form and determine the outcome of how each group was effected by the construction of the railroad. This allows them to develop an essay that clearly identifies the initial question and will or will not validate their initial prediction or opinion. As stated in Marzano’s Instructional Strategies, utilizing cooperative learning is a way to confirm their thoughts with their peers through feedback.

The Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)

Using schoology and Google docs will be the primary place for students to gain access to the lesson module and links to gain content knowledge throughout the module. The module includes all websites, note-taking organizers and organizer activity which allows the students to work at their own pace on their own time without the constraints of a face-to-face classroom. It is within the parameters of schoology and Google docs that the students will gain access to the content,  easily be able to share, comment and suggest edits to their partner’s work. The first assignment for students it to use schoology to add their opinion to the discussion board before beginning any research. This is Marzano’s ninth strategy which incorporates questioning before the lesson has begun.

As the instructor, I will set strict criteria of expectations when having online discussions with one another. Guidelines of acceptable language and behaviors will be addressed prior to the lesson. If students have questions, I will be available to them through schoology messaging which is also where the discussion boards will be set up. I can prevent students from seeing other posts until they post themselves. This will assist me in seeing what opinion each student actually has without copying someone else’s thoughts. It also allows a check on appropriateness of the posts. On the contrary, when students are discussing their findings with each other, I won’t block posting because that could halt communication altogether.

Modeling of how to share work with another, as well as suggesting editing and comments on work, will be done prior to the lesson in a face-to-face class.

Support: Students feel more confident in completing assignments when they work with others in a non-threatening environment. Marzano’s sixth strategy of working cooperatively to achieve learning goals. They have stated that working cooperatively helps when editing written work because of issues such as spelling, grammar and capitalization are difficult without the “extra pair of eyes looking it over.”

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)

Using schoology as the platform allows the instructor and the students to come together in one place for all learning materials for the module itself. The lesson is explained, the note-taking organizers and concept map activities are available on the site for access at any time. The students simply upload forms that are to be filled out while working with the content to their google docs and  submit them so I can monitor that they are getting the information necessary to complete their tasks. Having all forms and directions in a central location is important for students so they can get help, re-read instructions and gain access to all forms. Should a student need to start over, it is easy to go back to schoology and download another form.

Support: Utilizing ideas from Marzano’s strategies numbers two and seven. Students will be clearly instructed on how to follow the directions to reach their goals. After the initial question, they will have an interest to find out more (hopefully) and will follow the steps to complete their objectives of research, note-taking, writing, and gaining more insight to the various perspectives of people affected by the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

The prior knowledge of how to use the available technology will allow them effectively apply the pedagogical strategies to record and assess new content information gained through research and note-taking. They will finally use the technology to gain feedback which allows each student to produce a written assignment that demonstrates deeper learning.

Support: The fusion of the technology, pedagogy, and content will blend well for this lesson because the students are somewhat familiar with schoology and how to access courses and modules located there.  Following the website links will lead them to the information they are seeking, and utilizing Google.docs to fill out their organizer is something they can easily complete because of their prior knowledge of how it works. Developing written assignments on Google.docs is an activity that has been done before, so they should be able to carry out the technology-end of the lesson without issue. There is a plethora of information to be gleaned from the provided websites to easily gain access to information which should be used to complete the organizer to help students determine the effects on each group in relation to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The content is new to them, so using familiar resources is a logical step to help them engage in deeper understanding of each group’s situation.

My Seventh Graders and Self-Regulated Learning KWasosky

the_cycle_of_srl

In an ideal class, I have faith in my students to be able to create great things and experience a deeper learning of others’ perspectives through this module. I would love to hand them the assignment, explain the rules of engagement in the discussion forum, and answer any questions they have before beginning. I would then be excited to say, “Okay, Go!” It would be incredible for them to have all work turned in showing growth in learning the material through their conversations with each other and each part of the module thoroughly completed well and on time. I would even be happy to see them reflect through their essays on what they have learned through the process that touched them on a personal level. However, I don’t believe most seventh grade students which I teach will be able to adhere to the principle of being responsible and setting goals to move through the module without guidance. I believe I can give due dates for different activities and they can carry out a modified form of SRL, if that can even be possible. After all, SRL must be student regulated, right?

I am torn when it comes to addressing SRL in my module. Does it need to be addressed? Absolutely it does. Although, I am not sure how to go about teaching it.  I thought about how I can model  SRL principles by expressing to my students how I plan their lessons each week. For instance, I would explain what goes into creating what I think we should accomplish and try to meet those goals. If we don’t meet them, then I have to re-calibrate my date to be sure that there is a clear understanding of the material. I feel that would be a good example for them to visualize the process of beginning a lesson with them in class and then determining the timeline I expect to have a lesson finished and begin another and so on. I could also model self-reflection by explaining how I assess my job teaching them after getting results from their assessments. I do short-term self-reflection of how I am doing when I have conversations with them in class about the content. Asking probing questions that offer a glimpse of their understanding of the content.

Within the module, I could have them keep a record of what time they began an assignment and what time they finished. Have them self-reflect on what knowledge they gained that can be used later in their assessment essay. Since I believe that most of my students are not practiced self-regulated learners that skill will have to be incorporated and practiced often for them to achieve it. I am a little concerned that as seventh graders, full mastery of self-regulation may not be possible because they don’t possess the maturity to carry it out. Any thoughts from my colleagues about seventh graders being able to achieve that goal of SRL would be appreciated. Do you think it is possible?

Revised TPACK K Wasosky

venn-diagram-blended

 

Revised TPACK Lesson Description

Students will be identifying different perspectives of people in America that were affected by the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The population of learners for this lesson consists of a whole group of twenty-two seventh grade students in my U.S. History class. The lesson will occur with some face-to-face interaction and some online interaction between the students and myself. The students were asked to answer a question, “Was the Transcontinental Railroad a positive or negative force in America?” prior to the beginning of the unit on Westward Expansion. In this lesson, the students will engage in online research utilizing provided links to gain information about the different perspectives of each group of people. They will organize their information in a graphic organizer which will be accessed online. They will draft an essay on their finding which will also include whether or not they have changed their opinion after the research. Students will partner up and share their essays with one another for peer editing collaboration before submitting a final, polished essay for assessment to me through Google.docs.

The main Content (C) of this lesson is for students to clearly identify in what ways different groups of people in America were affected by or during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The groups of people being examined are: Homesteaders/Ranchers, Native Americans, Immigrant railroad workers, Railroad company owners, citizens on the east and west coasts of the U.S. Students will gain insight to this information through the planned websites listed for them to use for the lesson.

The main Pedagogy (P) is based on three of Marzano’s research-based strategies. The first strategy to be addressed specifically targets note-taking to pull out useful information on each group of people listed. The second strategy will involve cooperative learning in which the students will peer-edit for a partner and receive constructive feedback on written work before drafting a final product. The last strategy involves using graphic organizers to sort out the acquired information and recording it in an organized chart to help them analyze the depth of the effects on the people they are researching. This lesson will be best carried out with some face-to-face interaction when discussing online engagement with others. Modeling of procedures on how to achieve student goals are necessary to assure clarity of directions.

The main Technology (T) for the lesson is the utilization of google.docs to share information with each other for using the organizer to collect information, writing an essay, peer-editing response and sharing the final draft with me. A secondary use of technology involves using the schoology platform to engage in the lesson from the start, gain access to all organizers, websites as well as enter the response to the initial question.

The Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)

Seventh grade students using graphic organizers while researching historic information under clearly defined headings offers needed guidance to focus on specific information related to each category when note-taking. Cooperative activities such as peer-editing is beneficial for constructive feedback and suggestions for production of a well-created finished work.

Support: Students produce information in which they can see in an organized form and determine the outcome of how each group was effected by the construction of the railroad. This allows them to develop an essay that clearly identifies the initial question and will or will not validate their initial prediction or opinion. Utilizing cooperative learning is a way to confirm their thoughts with their peers through feedback.

The Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)

Using schoology and Google docs will be the primary place for students to gain access to the lesson module and links to gain content knowledge throughout the module. The module includes all websites, note-taking organizers and organizer activity which allows the students to work at their own pace on their own time without the constraints of a face-to-face classroom. It is within the parameters of schoology and Google docs that the students will gain access to the content,  easily be able to share, comment and suggest edits to their partner’s work. The first assignment for students it to use schoology to add their opinion to the discussion board before beginning any research. This is Marzano’s ninth strategy which incorporates questioning before the lesson has begun.

As the instructor, I will set strict criteria of expectations when having online discussions with one another. Guidelines of acceptable language and behaviors will be addressed prior to the lesson. If students have questions, I will be available to them through schoology messaging which is also where the discussion boards will be set up. I can prevent students from seeing other posts until they post themselves. This will assist me in seeing what opinion each student actually has without copying someone else’s thoughts. I won’t use this measure when students are discussing their findings with each other because that would halt communication altogether.

Modeling of how to share work with another, as well as suggesting editing and comments on work, will be done prior to the lesson in a face-to-face class.

Support: Students feel more confident in completing assignments when they work with others in a non-threatening environment. Marzano’s sixth strategy of working cooperatively to achieve learning goals. They have stated that working cooperatively helps when editing written work because of issues such as spelling, grammar and capitalization are difficult without the “extra pair of eyes looking it over.”

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)

Using schoology as the platform allows the instructor and the students to come together in one place for all learning materials for the module itself. The lesson is explained, the note-taking organizers and concept map activities are available on the site for access at any time. The students simply upload forms that are to be filled out while working with the content to their google docs and  submit them so I can monitor that they are getting the information necessary to complete their tasks. Having all forms and directions in a central location is important for students so they can get help, re-read instructions and gain access to all forms. Should a student need to start over, it is easy to go back to schoology and download another form.

Support: Utilizing ideas from Marzano’s strategies numbers two and seven. Students will be clearly instructed on how to follow the directions to reach their goals. After the initial question, they will have an interest to find out more (hopefully) and will follow the steps to complete their objectives of research, note-taking, writing, and gaining more insight to the various perspectives of people affected by the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

The prior knowledge of how to use the available technology will allow them effectively apply the pedagogical strategies to record and assess new content information gained through research and note-taking. They will finally use the technology to gain feedback which allows each student to produce a written assignment that demonstrates deeper learning.

Support: The fusion of the technology, pedagogy, and content will blend well for this lesson because the students are somewhat familiar with schoology and how to access courses and modules located there.  Following the website links will lead them to the information they are seeking, and utilizing Google.docs to fill out their organizer is something they can easily complete because of their prior knowledge of how it works. Developing written assignments on Google.docs is an activity that has been done before, so they should be able to carry out the technology-end of the lesson without issue. There is a plethora of information to be gleaned from the provided websites to easily gain access to information which should be used to complete the organizer to help students determine the effects on each group in relation to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The content is new to them, so using familiar resources is a logical step to help them engage in deeper understanding of each group’s situation.

Module Activity KWasosky

 

concept-map

For my module, I set up a concept map and then asked myself, what does this activity accomplish? I am a serious note-taker and I have to think about how students would best organize notes created in the module. The concept map that I created, I believe, would be an activity they could use to identify the specific reasons why the Transcontinental Railroad project was a positive or negative force and for whom. I would incorporate this activity after the note-taking and before the essay as another way to get a clear understanding of the perspectives of the groups they chose to research. I feel that this activity would allow them to look deeper into the content by analyzing more specifically why certain groups were affected the way they were. Technologically, they would they would still access this information through the Internet from the sites I have shared with them or the sites they have chosen to research on their own. I will have my concept map available in the module for the students to upload to their google docs and fill in to share with their partners and me to see that they have properly completed the task.  As part of my pedagogy for this piece, I will continue to monitor and remind them of using “acceptable” sites for their research and to avoid sites that may not be dependable for their type of work. I want this to be an exploration, as I am interested in what they will discover on their own through the process.

The Four Instructor Roles and Challenges Facing them in the Online-learning Environment KWasosky

editor_growth_and_contribution_program_logo

Teaching and learning is decidedly different when comparing and contrasting a traditional classroom environment with that of online learning. Because of the lack of non-verbal cues and expression from other students enrolled in the same course and that of the professor, the emotion and emphasis on specific ideas must be relayed differently.

With regard to pedagogical instruction, the instructor must carry out or delegate several roles. The instructor must first of all design the course in the manner to best reach the learners. That task in itself, for a new instructor, can be very time-consuming and will most likely include a great deal of adjustment throughout the course until the instructor figures out what works best and what does not. I can see myself in this predicament, as I do it all of the time in a traditional classroom as well. (What works for some, doesn’t necessarily work for others)

The next role would be as an inspiration to the learners to excite them about what they are about to engage upon in the course and help them hold on to that interest throughout the entire course from beginning to end. A intriguing hook is a great way to reel them in, but online, I feel it may be more difficult to keep them on the line and looking for more without a lot of effort by the instructor. Since emotions are harder to convey to surge interest, the instructor must utilize other measures to keep them coming back for more. I’m not sure what this is when it comes to my module on perspective, but I will figure it out. I was just reminded while writing this that my students may not find the topic or information as engaging as I do. So, I will have to find a way to make it so.

As the feedback giver the instructor as to continuously offer comment and critique to the work created and submitted by the learners. This not only allows the instructor to guide the learner in the right direction, but it allows for the learners to understand that someone is monitoring and “right there” to assist should there be questions. I think that students love hearing your thoughts on their work. The more often you can give them feedback, the more they are interested in continuing on with a clearer direction for completing their tasks.

Lastly, as the interaction-facilitator, the instructor has to determine and inform the learners of what the discussion and feedback rules are from peer-to-peer. Clearly defined rules are important, especially with 7th graders. When teaching my students to peer-edit, we have a specific set of rules that cannot be broken. Those are: critique constructively and be specific in what needs to be changed and why. I feel those rules can also apply in an online learning course, but discussion which can be easily curbed in a traditional classroom, needs to be addressed carefully in an online environment. Informing the students that the instructor has access to all discussion among the students is a positive way to keep them on the right track. The instructor can also pose specific questions and thought provoking ideas to the student to address in their work as part of the facilitation process.

Within the above roles, online instructors can promote and oversee the student-content, student-student, and student-instructor interactions throughout the course.

The many challenges facing the instructors are in any online environment would be, to me, carrying out all aspects of the roles. As a new instructor, it seems overwhelming, but as time and experience passes, it may become more the norm and automatic for the instructor. In the later situation, the instructor can focus on the learners themselves and how to best reach them for each individual course. Tweaking of the different approaches to the individual students will always be addressed for obvious reasons.

I will play several roles listed above to some extent. I am the designer of the course and thus will guide the students through what my expectations are for them while completing the module.  I will facilitate the discussions to a point. I want to be a presence, but I don’t want to control all of the conversation. I wish to throw a possibility out there such as, “Discuss any group that may have no benefit from the railroad and decide if that is acceptable to those that do benefit?”

Revised TPACK Lesson Description K Wasosky

venn-diagram-blended

              TPACK Lesson Description

Students will be identifying different perspectives of people in America that were affected by the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The population of learners for this lesson consists of a whole group of twenty-two seventh grade students in my U.S. History class. The lesson will occur with some face-to-face interaction and some online interaction between the students and myself. The students were asked to answer a question, “Was the Transcontinental Railroad a positive or negative force in America?” prior to the beginning of the unit on Westward Expansion. In this lesson, the students will engage in online research utilizing provided links to gain information about the different perspectives of each group of people. They will organize their information in a graphic organizer which will be accessed online. They will draft an essay on their finding which will also include whether or not they have changed their opinion after the research. Students will partner up and share their essays with one another for peer editing collaboration before submitting a final, polished essay for assessment to me through Google.docs.

The main Content (C) of this lesson is for students to clearly identify in what ways different groups of people in America were affected by or during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The groups of people being examined are: Homesteaders/Ranchers, Native Americans, Immigrant railroad workers, Railroad company owners, citizens on the east and west coasts of the U.S. Students will gain insight to this information through the planned websites listed for them to use for the lesson.

The main Pedagogy (P) is based on three of Marzano’s research-based strategies. The first strategy to be addressed specifically targets note-taking to pull out useful information on each group of people listed. The second strategy will involve cooperative learning in which the students will peer-edit for a partner and receive constructive feedback on written work before drafting a final product. The last strategy involves using graphic organizers to sort out the acquired information and recording it in an organized chart to help them analyze the depth of the effects on the people they are researching. This lesson will be best carried out with some face-to-face interaction when discussing online engagement with others. Modeling of procedures on how to achieve student goals are necessary to assure clarity of directions.

The main Technology (T) for the lesson is the utilization of google.docs to share information with each other for using the organizer to collect information, writing an essay, peer-editing response and sharing the final draft with me. A secondary use of technology involves using the schoology platform to engage in the lesson from the start, gain access to all organizers, websites as well as enter the response to the initial question.

The Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)

Seventh grade students using graphic organizers while researching historic information under clearly defined headings offers needed guidance to focus on specific information related to each category when note-taking. Cooperative activities such as peer-editing is beneficial for constructive feedback and suggestions for production of a well-created finished work.

Support: Students produce information in which they can see in an organized form and determine the outcome of how each group was effected by the construction of the railroad. This allows them to develop an essay that clearly identifies the initial question and will or will not validate their initial prediction or opinion. Utilizing cooperative learning is a way to confirm their thoughts with their peers through feedback.

The Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)

Using schoology and Google docs will be the primary place for students to gain access to the lesson module and links to gain content knowledge throughout the module. The module includes all websites, note-taking organizers and organizer activity which allows the students to work at their own pace on their own time without the constraints of a face-to-face classroom. It is within the parameters of schoology and Google docs that the students will gain access to the content,  easily be able to share, comment and suggest edits to their partner’s work. The first assignment for students it to use schoology to add their opinion to the discussion board before beginning any research. This is Marzano’s ninth strategy which incorporates questioning before the lesson has begun.

As the instructor, I will set strict criteria of expectations when having online discussions with one another. Guidelines of acceptable language and behaviors will be addressed prior to the lesson. If students have questions, I will be available to them through schoology messaging which is also where the discussion boards will be set up. I can prevent students from seeing other posts until they post themselves. This will assist me in seeing what opinion each student actually has without copying someone else’s thoughts. I won’t use this measure when students are discussing their findings with each other because that would halt communication altogether.

Modeling of how to share work with another, as well as suggesting editing and comments on work, will be done prior to the lesson in a face-to-face class.

Support: Students feel more confident in completing assignments when they work with others in a non-threatening environment. Marzano’s sixth strategy of working cooperatively to achieve learning goals. They have stated that working cooperatively helps when editing written work because of issues such as spelling, grammar and capitalization are difficult without the “extra pair of eyes looking it over.”

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)

Using schoology as the platform allows the instructor and the students to come together in one place for all learning materials for the module itself. The lesson is explained, the note-taking organizers and concept map activities are available on the site for access at any time. The students simply upload forms that are to be filled out while working with the content to their google docs and  submit them so I can monitor that they are getting the information necessary to complete their tasks. Having all forms and directions in a central location is important for students so they can get help, re-read instructions and gain access to all forms. Should a student need to start over, it is easy to go back to schoology and download another form.

Support: Utilizing ideas from Marzano’s strategies numbers two and seven. Students will be clearly instructed on how to follow the directions to reach their goals. After the initial question, they will have an interest to find out more (hopefully) and will follow the steps to complete their objectives of research, note-taking, writing, and gaining more insight to the various perspectives of people affected by the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

The prior knowledge of how to use the available technology will allow them effectively apply the pedagogical strategies to record and assess new content information gained through research and note-taking. They will finally use the technology to gain feedback which allows each student to produce a written assignment that demonstrates deeper learning.

Support: The fusion of the technology, pedagogy, and content will blend well for this lesson because the students are somewhat familiar with schoology and how to access courses and modules located there.  Following the website links will lead them to the information they are seeking, and utilizing Google.docs to fill out their organizer is something they can easily complete because of their prior knowledge of how it works. Developing written assignments on Google.docs is an activity that has been done before, so they should be able to carry out the technology-end of the lesson without issue. There is a plethora of information to be gleaned from the provided websites to easily gain access to information which should be used to complete the organizer to help students determine the effects on each group in relation to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The content is new to them, so using familiar resources is a logical step to help them engage in deeper understanding of each group’s situation.