Just a quick post today about a very powerful strategy that’s pretty easy to integrate into your instruction. I had the privilege of sitting in on Scott’s 7th grade classroom last week when he used this activity with his kids.
Scott and his kids had just started a unit on territorial Kansas and he wanted students to get a sense of the tension that was building at the time around the issue of slavery.
His school is in the Topeka area and all of students have been to the state capital. And all of them, whether they remembered or not, have seen the massive John Steuart Curry mural of John Brown. At 11.5 feet tall and 31 feet wide, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the painting and Scott really wanted his kids to spend some quality time analyzing the content in the mural. Read more
Seriously. If I start dozing off, somebody should nudge me. It’s after lunch Day Two and it’s gonna be a struggle. But I am in a decent sounding session – thinking historically with world history documents. So I’m sure I’m gonna be okay.
I’m constantly hearing from 6th grade teachers who are struggling to find and use primary sources with ancient history content and am hoping Matt Elms and Doug Behse are going to help.
Matt and Doug, from a middle school in Singapore, are sharing their strategies for historical thinking with ancient world history. Much of what they do is based on the work of Sam Wineburg and his stuff at the Stanford History Education Group. They also use a scaffolding tool they call SCAN. They noticed kids whipping through primary sources. And were concerned.
SCAN helps Read more
I’ve spent the last few weeks having a great time with teachers and iOS 7, learning tools and sharing ideas. During a conversation yesterday, another social studies guy and I started talking about ways to use cell phones as instructional tools. He mentioned a photo he had recently seen with Abe Lincoln holding a cell phone.
And, yes, we went there.
Who was Lincoln texting on the way to the play?
But that image did lead to a much more appropriate conversation. As in . . . if historical characters would have had access to an iPhone, what would have been on it? And could we use that sort of question with kids to help introduce content or to assess learning?
We figured yes. So I quickly fashioned a graphic organizer that you can use to help kids brainstorm and discuss historical content. Read more
I’ve had the privilege of working with 40 middle school social studies teachers this last week. It’s the last few days of a three year Teaching American History grant and, yes . . . some teared up a bit towards the end. It’s been a great ride. We’ve all learned a ton – both content and pedagogy.
This week, we had the incredible privilege of working with three history studs - Mark Fiege, Elliott West, and Thomas Andrews – while also learning more about the best ways to incorporate their history content into actual lessons.
Master Teacher Nathan McAlister walked us through a variety of learning activities including panning for gold, cutting up buffalo, and arguing pros/cons of fracking during a city council meeting.
One of the smaller activities we did was a bit simpler and much easier for you to drop directly into your instruction.
Called Fact Pyramid Because Box, Read more
Several years ago, I wrote a quick Tip of the Week highlighting a handy graphic organizer called Cubing. It was basically an easy way to ask kids to think about a specific topic using a variety of cognition levels or to help them summarize their thinking after reading and before writing.
At the time, I provided a simple cube template that you could print out and use with your kids. And you can still use the template, it still works.
But thanks to my new buddy at Tracie’s Favorite Places via #sschat, I was introduced to a cool tool that can help you and your kids use the cubing graphic organizer idea in new ways.
Having kids write is a good thing. Let’s all agree on that. Learning to communicate in written form is a 21st century skill that is non-negotiable. But training them to write well . . . mmm, not so easy.
But using a Hamburger Diagram can help.
In terms of knowledge representation, a Hamburger Diagram is a teaching and learning tool designed to facilitate the selection and organization into a written report. In a typical Hamburger Diagram, five main sections are suggested: an introduction, three key factors, and a conclusion. It serves a similar function to a fishbone diagram, but is even simpler.
By limiting the essay to only three major factors, and providing only a small amount of space for each one to be explained, the Burger Diagram is a useful “scaffolding tool” for students learning to develop their essay-writing skills.
It’s also a useful way of ensuring that students think about structuring their essays in a logical format.
There are some online tools that students can use. ClassTools has one that allows kids to enter information directly on the hamburger and Super Teacher Worksheets has a couple of downloadable organizers.