It’s that time of year. The MACE tech conference in Manhattan opened its doors this morning and I’m loving it. It is about as nerdy a place as you can find – in a good way, of course. Just a lot of smart people getting together and sharing tech ideas / resources. I always learn so much and meet so many cool folks.
(Cody, my marketing boss at ESSDACK, would want me to mention our own very nerdy tech conference called Podstock. He would want me to let you know that Podstock is July 16-18 at the Old Town Conference Center in Wichita. He would also want me to share that early registration with a $50 discount ends June 1 and that the pre-conference is already about 75% full.
But it seems a bit weird to share information about our tech conference while I’m attending another tech conference, so I’ll probably just tell Cody that I did talk about Podstock held in Wichita on July 16-18 and hope he buys it.)
So the focus here is on the great sessions I get to attend and the ideas that I run across. I’ll share as much as can. Have fun! Read more
I’m not saying Rewordify is the silver bullet that will solve all of your problems with difficult text and primary documents. But it comes pretty dang close.
As we’re asking our kids to do more reading, especially of primary sources, it is also becoming more difficult to find leveled text and grade appropriate documents. The people at the Stanford History Education Group and others are suggesting that we need to modify the stuff we give our kids, making the information more accessible. That’s not always easy to do – it takes time and can be difficult finding replacements for struggling readers.
Rewordify can help. Read more
I don’t think my daughter would mind me telling you that she loves Marvel Comics. I also don’t think she is the only kid out there that loves Marvel Comics. Or DC Comics. Or the X-Men. O superheroes in general.
A lot of your kids are huge into comic books and graphic novels. I’ve said it many times, most recently regarding the Hunger Games series:
Some suggest that we shouldn’t have to use pop culture to teach social studies. I disagree. I will use pretty much whatever it takes to engage kids in content. And if the relationship between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale hooks students into a better understanding of civic and geographic concepts, we ought to be all over it.
The same thing can be said about the whole Marvel Comic world. It just seems like a great way to integrate reading and writing skills into your instruction. But I haven’t played in that world enough to put ideas and lessons and materials together so they can be used in the classroom.
The good news? Read more
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
We’ve always asked our kids to read. Informational text. Primary sources. Non-fiction. Fiction. Poetry. We’ve always asked our kids to write. Summaries. Research. Reviews. Reaction papers.
At least, that’s been the theory. Good social studies and history instruction has always included these things but I think that sometimes we can forget how critical reading and writing skills are to what we do. The Common Core, for better or worse, has been a good reminder for us. We need to have our kids read, write, and communicate much more.
The problem for many of us?
Uh . . . what does that look like again?
You’ve heard about iCivics before.
If you haven’t, quick overview. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor help created a very cool civics website with video games, teaching resources, and other standards aligned materials.
And it just got better. They’ve added Drafting Board.