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Posts tagged ‘literacy’

Social Studies close reading vs. ELA close reading. It’s both/and not either/or

Okay. I’m going to have to be careful here. But I’m gonna start with this:

“Social studies teachers should not worry about having kids do ELA close reading activities. Social studies teachers should not be asked to do ELA literacy activities.”

Let the throwing of things and gnashing of teeth begin.

Because I’ve seen it happen. Because when I say that in front of people, they get cranky. The Common Core says we need to integrate the language arts / literacy standards into our social studies instruction. And when I say we shouldn’t do the bidding of the English department just so that they can check off their Common Core standards responsibilities, it’s like I’m saying we should be drowning puppies.

So before things get too out of hand, let me explain.

Read more

46 free history lessons aligned to Common Core

Free. Aligned to reading, writing, and communicating skills. Written by Gilder Lehrman teachers of the year so you know they’re quality.

What’s not to like?

Gilder Lehrman always has good stuff. If you haven’t already created a free teacher’s account over there, you really need to get on it. The list below is just a sample of the 46 lessons and units you can get on their Teaching Literacy Through History page: Read more

Twitter haiku: 17 syllables and 140 characters through US history

You gotta love the Twitter. Seriously. Even you choose to not use it at a personal level, there’s just too much stuff you and students can do with it.

Historical re-creations. Tweets as historical characters. Exit card activities. Assign homework. Virtual study rooms. Question and answer sessions with students. Connect with parents. With other teachers. With other classrooms. Provide study tips. Ask questions. Share ideas. Real time chats. Follow breaking news and current events.

And now?

History as haiku. Read more

Tip of the Week: Blackout Poetry

Okay. I know that movies about teachers rarely tell the whole story. You know the ones I’m talking about – movies like:

  • Stand and Deliver
  • Freedom Writers
  • Dangerous Minds
  • Mr. Holland’s Opus
  • Lean On Me

They rarely show the hours of grading, the phone calls from parents, IEP meetings, kids throwing up on your shoes, music program practice, endless committees, extra duties, coaching – though there does always seem to be some sort of happy ending.

But ya know . . . I still enjoy ‘em. My favorite? Dead Poets Society. Maybe because the ending is not quite as sugar-coated as the others. But what really sells it is Robin Williams’ poetry speech. You remember. Apple recently came out with a sweet commercial that uses the speech to see iPads.

I’ve been pushing the use of poetry as a high-quality instructional tool for a while now. Poetry incorporates much of what we know encourages high levels of learning – emotion, stories, word pictures, connection to content. And it hits tons of the Common Core literacy standards for History/Government. So Williams’ Dead Poets speech resonates.

One idea that I’ve been sharing with teachers but never really written about before is the concept of Blackout Poetry. But a recent post by Larry Ferlazzo describing The New York Times new online version of the strategy was a sign.

So. Here we are. Read more

Google Add-Ons

More and more of us are moving to tools such as Google Apps for Educators, Chromebooks, and mobile devices. We’re using the Cloud to create and share information. I’m not always convinced that’s a good thing, especially when the bandwidth is minimal and internet speeds are slow. But when it works, I love the ability to write and communicate stuff via the Interwebs.

And Google is working to make it even easier by launching add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets. This basically means that there is now a specific place dedicated to tools and features that can help you and your students do more with Google Drive. It’s basically a Google App Store just for those of us using Drive that’s gonna make our lives just a bit simpler.

Because the Add-On option is fairly new, there isn’t a huge number of choices yet. But Google is open sourcing this so expect more and more goodies to start showing up.

To use the Add-on option and to browse through all the options, Read more

Every Book is a Social Studies Book

I recently facilitated a conversation with elementary teachers that focused on using the C4 Framework in the K-5 social studies classroom. It was a great day – we talked about historical thinking and the use of evidence and integration of social studies with ELA and online resources and all sorts of cool stuff.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day was the time we spent talking about and practicing the use of social studies trade books in the elementary classroom. One of the resources we used was a great book called Every Book is a Social Studies Book: How to Meet Standards with Picture Books, K-6.

First thing, it’s not just for K-6. There is stuff in there for middle school and even some high school folks. Second thing, it’s a book you need to track down. The authors, Jeannette Balantic, Andrea S. Libresco, Jonie C. Kipling, have put together an amazing collection of discipline-specific strategies along with extensive collections of trade and picture books all aligned to 10 national NCSS social studies themes. Read more

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