It’s the middle of June.
I’m guessing most of you are not missing your classroom yet. But if you’re like most teachers, eventually you’ll need a history fix. You’ll need to start planning for next fall. You’ll need to pick up a book or a journal to learn something new.
And when you do, come back here because here’s the link you need: Read more
I get the chance to work with all sorts of teachers, across the state and around the country. We’re all different. But when the conversation turns to teaching and learning social studies, I often hear the same thing:
“I have to lecture (or have students read their textbooks out loud, create outlines from the chapter, complete fill-in-the-blank worksheet packets, or watch a 30 year old video converted from 16 mm film) because the kids have to know their facts. It’s not fair asking them to think historically without the basic facts.”
I get it. And I don’t disagree. Kids do need the facts. But I think for too long we’ve just assumed that acquiring foundational knowledge and historical thinking are two distinct and different activities. We fill up their heads with facts and then, if we have time in the school year and after the state assessments are over, then . . . we can try some of that historical thinking stuff.
We need to stop doing that.
The brain is not a basket that we can just fill up with stuff. The brain is a bucket full of holes. The brain works very hard to find ways to forget things and if something is not important enough to be useful, it’s gonna find its way out one of the holes.
Our task is not to fill brains with facts. Our job is Read more
You probably won’t find a ton of US history on the four sites listed below. Cause, well . . . they’re British. But trust me, there are tons of things for just about everyone.
Really. Especially if you’re looking for Ancient, World, European, geography, games, activities, online tools, lesson plans, then you need to take the time to check these out. Read more
The 1948 movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre worded it a bit differently but I’m sticking with Mel Brooks and the classic Blazing Saddles:
“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!
It’s a great line.
But in 2013, it would be wrong. In 2013, badges are a big deal. And used appropriately, badges can help us do our jobs better. Read more
One of the best things about working with social studies teachers is that I get the chance to see all sorts of great ideas and strategies. Several weeks ago, I watched a teacher use something called a SAC or Structured Academic Conversation.
It’s a discussion / debate strategy that I haven’t seen used before. And it worked great so I figured I would share it with you.
History and social studies classes are perfect places for debate. And we’ve all used debates as part of what we do. I’m a big supporter of the idea of having kids research and use that research to create persuasive arguments. I especially like the Fence Sitter idea.
But with these types of class activities, it’s easy for students to lose sight of the objective and get very competitive, focusing more on winning the argument rather than about what they should be learning. And I admit, I’m probably the worst. I love a good social studies argument. And I love to win.
Cause I’m right.
The Structured Academic Conversation can help with this problem. Read more