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
Hey. I get it. You’re busy. It’s the end of the year and stuff is starting to pile up. And so you might not have a ton of time right now for reading a new blog.
So here’s the deal. Just head over the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog and bookmark it. Subscribe to an email or RSS feed. Then forget it till this summer.
Then go back and read, read, read. Cause it will change your life. Seriously. I don’t often say stuff like that but the Library of Congress is just that good. And their online content is seriously awesome.
So what makes it so good? Read more
You may be getting tired of hearing about the work of Sam Wineburg. I do talk about his stuff a lot. I do.
But it’s because the stuff created by Wineburg and others over at the Stanford History Education Group is so good. I’m sure you’ve all been to their site and looked at the 80+ lesson plans – all structured around the concepts of high level historical thinking. I’m sure you’ve all been to the newer Beyond the Bubble historical thinking assessment site.
But perhaps all of you have not seen the the very useful Reading Like a Historian videos. The SHEG people have put together a great series of videos that demonstrated what historical thinking looks like.
It’s a double bonus type of day.
First, today is one of the last days of our Century of Progress Teaching American History project. So I get to spend all day with 41 middle school teachers and we talk about nothing except history stuff.
Today’s history stuff?
Chinese immigration during the late 1800s. And we’re tying in history content conversations with Joel Breakstone of the Stanford History Education Group. He’s sharing with us how to create lesson plans designed to train kids to think historically. There’s been some very helpful theoretical sorts of stuff focusing on historical thinking but also very practical suggestions about what a great lesson should look like.
Second, yesterday the Kansas Board of Education voted 9-0 to approve the proposed social studies standards. Some of us have been working on these for the last 20 months and to have them accepted for full implementation is pretty sweet.
Such a cool day! It’s like the perfect storm. New standards that focus on high level historical thinking skills and content/strategies that can help us meet those standards.
So I figured . . . why not share some of the goodies we talked about?