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Posts tagged ‘graphic organizer’

History Nerd Fest 2013 – Historical thinking in ancient times

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

Tip of the Week: iPhone from the past

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?

Too soon?

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 So I quickly fashioned a graphic organizer that you can use to help kids brainstorm and discuss historical content.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

Tip of the Week: Fact Pyramid, Because Box

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

Cube Creator

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.

Read more

Tip of the Week – Hamburger Diagram

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.

Have fun!

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Tim Bailey – Cool Beans Primary Source Summarizer

Tim Bailey is good.

He was the 2009 Gilder Lehrman History Teacher of the Year. He teaches at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City. He’s written several books for Scholastic that provide some great primary source teaching activities.

And the awesome thing is that he’s here in Hutchinson working with our Century of Progress teachers.

One of the participants put it quite nicely when she said:

Cool beans.


Today he’s sharing an activity that helps kids analyze and summarize primary source documents. I’m gonna try and explain how you can use it, because . . . well, it’s cool beans.

It’s a multi-step process that takes some time but the end result is a kid who can look at document and develop a summary in their own words.

Start with a short document and paste it into a graphic organizer like the one above. Put kids in groups of two or three and ask each kid to select ten words from passage. A couple of rules – no words they don’t understand, no more or less than 10. Pulling the keywords from the text is the crux of the exercise – it’s what the writer actually means.

Once each kid highlights their own ten words, each small  group must negotiate a set of ten for their group. You can then lead a discussion with the whole class to get a sense of what sorts of words the different groups selected. Give each group the chance to re-do their list if the choose.

Each group then uses these ten words to write their summary. To do this, they can use just the word bank of their 10 words. They are allowed to use “connecting” words but otherwise can’t go off the list. They also don’t have to use all of their 10 words. The goal is to create a summary that should be no more than 1/3 of the original text,

Kids share out their summary, including the number of words. The teacher should help guide kids to better understand this particular part of the project. The final step is to ask kids to re-write the summery in their own words – “in plain, old English.”

The first time you do this, the goal is not so much a clear document analysis but an understanding of the process. Doing this several times will solidify the process so that you can begin to hand kids documents and they’ll be able to do this themselves.

A couple of tips:

1. Model the steps for your kids. Literally do a think-aloud so that kids can hear you think through the process.

2. Use smaller documents or small chunks of documents the first few times through the process.

3. You may need to do some vocabulary work before you start this process to clarify specific words in the document.

4. Not a tip but a question. Could you do this somehow with maps? Photos?

As I watched Tim work through the process with project teachers this morning, I saw how powerful this summarizing tool could be for history students.

Cool beans, indeed.

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