I got an email several weeks ago about a new online teaching tool called Listen Current. It sounded interesting but threw it on the back burner because of other stuff going on at the time. I got the chance to play with Listen Current this week and I’m thinking that I should have looked at it a lot sooner.
Cause it is very sweet.
According to their own propaganda, Listen Current “makes it easy to bring authentic voices and compelling non-fiction stories to the classroom. We curate the best of public radio to keep teaching connected to the real world and build student listening skills at the same time.”
Basically that means that Listen Current provides access to audio clips from National Public Radio and other public networks from around the world that cover both current events and historical topics. The clips are short and easy to use with students. But that’s not all that the site can do for you.
I just got an email from a teaching buddy (Thanks Theresa!) letting me know about a great deal going on right now. For a limited time, you can receive a free teaching toolkit for use with the movie 12 Years a Slave. It’s a difficult video to watch but an incredibly important video to watch. And the free kit gives you some handy resources to help make the instruction as useful as possible.
Educator’s Toolkit Includes:
- Full Length DVD copy of the movie (edited version, parental approval suggested)
- Copy of the Penguin Paperback Book
- Printed study guide
- Letter from director Steve McQueen
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has partnered with New Regency, Fox Searchlight, Penguin Books, and the filmmakers to make copies of the acclaimed film, book, and study guide “12 Years a Slave” available to America’s public high schools. This nationwide educational initiative was the brainchild of director Steve McQueen and Montel Williams, and now “12 Years a Slave” educator toolkits are available to all public high school teachers timed to the 2014-15 school year.
The movie is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life.
Get the toolkit here.
You can also get just the study guide here.
It’s day two of the Best Practices conference. I love this sort of stuff – the conference isn’t that big but that just means a lot more conversation and working together. So we all are walking away smarter.
This morning’s session is focused on training elementary kids to think like a historian. Lyndsay and Amy are from Olathe, Kansas and are sharing how engaged kids are when they’re asked to solve problems using historical evidence.
They’re big fans of Sam Wineburg’s Stanford History Education Group site and are showing how third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers can use the resources on the site. I especially like the SHEG Historical Thinking Chart and the posters that explain the skills kids need to make sense of evidence.
I’m a huge believer in the power of visuals to encourage critical thinking and to support long-term retention. As social studies teachers we need to do a better job of finding ways to integrate visuals such as art and propaganda posters into our instructor.
Stuck for ideas and resources?
Try the Smithsonian.
Finding online primary sources is never easy. While there are many online archives and tons of primary sources, we don’t always know where those archives live. Even if you can find a helpful archive online somewhere, it can be difficult tracking down exactly what you’re looking for. (This page might help a little.)
And I’m not sure today’s find is gonna help. But it is a very cool place to find primary sources that are incredibly interesting. Created and maintained by Salon, the site is called The Vault. You gotta love the site’s tagline:
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
So definitely continue to use to sites such as the Library of Congress, National Archives, and World History Documents but be sure to fav The Vault as well. Because you are going to run across stuff that is perfect for hooking your kids into a specific topic and for building content knowledge.
Some recent examples? Read more