Blogging U.S. History
This class has a blog, located at https://millerushistory.wordpress.com. We will use the blog in several different ways over the course of the year. You can open the blog and bookmark it, and place it on your desktop for ease of access.
“React” Post Comments:
Each student is required to make two comment on the blog in each unit. These comments count as part of the writing assignment portion of your grade. This means that over three weeks (roughly the average the length of a unit), you will need to write two comments in response to “React” postson the blog. React posts can take a variety of forms: current events that relate to history, art, images, or brief historical documents are all things that could be the subject of a React post. There will be at least two React posts a week that are eligible for you to comment on, so you will have lots of opportunities to respond–something will pop up that will make you think. Comments must be at least 225 words in length.
Images from class will be posted on the blog for you to look through. Also, there will occasionally be maps or other images that will be posted on the blog that you should reference for homework. These will be noted in your homework assignment sheet and clearly marked on the blog.
A few DOs and DON’Ts:
This blog is a great resource for you as a student. To use it effectively, you need to follow two rules:
- Write grammatically. Treat your writing on this blog the way you would your in-class writing. Write grammatically. Compose complete sentences. Use correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Proofread your comment before your post it. You should not write here the way you do on, say, Facebook. (You shouldn’t write ungrammatically on Facebook, either! But that is a separate post.) Internet abbreviations (IMO, TL;DR, etc) are not appropriate in this forum. Your commenting and posting here is graded. Your writing should reflect this.
- Be civil. At times, you will be responding to a post and to your peer’s comments on a post, and you may disagree with someone’s opinion in the comments. That is fine! It is even encouraged. But responses should be polite and civil. Imagine that you are sitting across from the commenter in our classroom. Imagine saying to her face what you are typing in the comment box. Don’t type something that you would feel uncomfortable saying to someone’s face in our class. Miller rules and expectations for how students should treat each other still apply here, even though it is digital communication. (If you ever wanted to see an example of how NOT to respond to a comment, read the comments on a popular YouTube video. They typically devolve into name-calling or worse.) “That’s stupid” is not a valid criticism. If you think someone is incorrect, or missing the point, explain why you think they are wrong, using evidence and logic to support your claim. Disagreements are good; when arguments are well-supported with good evidence and well-presented, they often expand everyone’s knowledge about the subject at hand. Petty arguments are dull, and advance nothing.
- You are generally free to select the themes that you want to write about, but the Blog Pieces should NOT be general summaries of the text.
- DO raise interesting questions/insights/comments about the Reaction Post. For example, if a text seems particularly biased, write about what you think that bias is, and how that bias might affect the information that the author is giving the reader. Or, if a text uses a particular concept in a way that is unexpected, write about why this surprised you, and what the author might mean by presenting a concept in that way. There are lots of different ways to go about writing a think piece—you simply need to find what surprises you in a text, or what angers you, or what interests you, and write about it.
- A Blog Piece is NOT a research paper. You are, of course, welcome to explore other sources, but I do not expect you to do so.
- DO support your arguments with specific examples from the text and explain the significance of these examples.
- DO incorporate outside evidence.
- Include at least one more of the following:
- Historical context,
- Intended audience,
- Purpose of document,
- Point of View of the author.
Analyzing maps, drawings, charts, and photos:
Images will be posted on the blog for you to look through. Also, there will occasionally be maps or other images like paintings and photographs. Visual items require a specialized analysis approach. Here are some recommendations:
- Identify the Setting,
- List all the characters or people,
- List all the symbols,
- Describe the action,
- Read all writing and dates in the visual—does the wording clarify the action?
- Determine who the audience was intended for the visual,
- What does the visual infer or imply,
- Is there a bias.