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Posts tagged ‘instructional strategies’

Tip of the Week: 3 Visual Thinking Strategies

As social studies teachers, it’s easy to get caught up in textual evidence. And that’s not always a bad thing – there are all sorts of sweet primary and secondary sources that we should be using with our kids.

But sometimes we don’t do enough to train students to focus on visual evidence. Photographs, maps, video games, charts, infographics, movie clips. These types of resources can be powerful pieces of the puzzle. So today? Three easy to use strategies for training kids to close read visual evidence.

The goal in all three strategies is to move kids along the continuum from simply seeing something to creating deeper meaning. When I work with students – no matter what strategy we’re using or what kind of evidence we’re looking at – I want them to jam into their brain these basic questions:

  • What do you see?
  • How can you organize what you see into patterns?
  • What do the patterns tell you?

So here ya go. Three strategies to help your kids see better. Read more

Created Equal: Films, lesson plans, powerful conversations

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle brings four outstanding films on the long civil rights movement to communities across the United States. As part of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)’s Bridging Cultures initiative, Created Equal will encourage communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in America and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge deep racial and cultural divides in our civic life. Four outstanding documentary films, spanning the period from the 1830s to the 1960s, are the centerpiece for this project. Each of these films was supported by NEH, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation.

These four films illustrate the majesty of the civil rights movement: Millions of ordinary brave Americans rose up, said ‘no more,’ and changed the nation forever.
Gwen Ifill

Read more

5 ways Google Earth can save your bacon

Google probably doesn’t need my help selling any of its products. But I usually end up sounding like an intern from the marketing department at least once a week. I love their stuff.

I especially love Google Earth.

And the more I travel around, the more I discover that many social studies teachers are not fully aware of the different ways Google Earth can save their bacon. As in, engaging and useful teaching strategies that are aligned to Common Core Literacy and College, Career, and Civic Life standards.

So today? Five awesome ways to use Google Earth in your classroom: Read more

12 reading and writing resources for teaching social studies

Feeling a bit uneasy about how to respond to the Common Core Literacy Standards for History / Government? Struggling with what that looks like? Need a few ideas and suggestions for integrating reading and writing into your social studies instruction?

Check out the 12 web sites below to get a head start: Read more

Tip of the Week: 5 Great Ways to Start School for Social Studies Teachers

I spent part of this week working with elementary and secondary social studies teachers as part of the pre-school activities. It’s always a good time because, well . . . it’s just me and social studies teachers. So we get to talk about the fun part of the core curriculum – history and social studies stuff.

But we always get sidetracked somewhere during the day because the conversation drifts over to the first couple days of school. What activities work best for kicking off the year? I stole some of their ideas, added a couple of my own, and pasted them below. (Be sure to add your suggestions to the comments!) Read more

What tech makes the cut?

I’m sitting in the Wichita airport, waiting on a delayed flight to Houston. With the rain pouring down, I start looking for things to do. Read the paper. Watch a little video. Catch up on email. Clean out my backpack.

I usually try and make some decisions about what to put into the backpack before I leave. I ran out out of time before this trip. And I’m realizing now why it’s a good idea to re-pack after every trip. I got some stuff in there I really don’t need this time.

It’s always difficult trying to decide what to take on a trip and what to leave behind. I really, really hate carrying too much stuff. Seriously. Hate it. But I also worry about all of those times when I needed some little tech gadget on a trip and I had left it behind.

So. What to pack? Read more

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