While it is possible, I suppose, to teach social studies and history without primary sources, it’s probably not a good idea. And while there are more and more places to find primary sources, it can still be difficult to track down stuff that you can use.
It’s can be especially difficult finding newspapers.
Enter Google News.
Google News is already an awesome tool for finding resources for current events around the world. But if you know where to look, Google News is also great for finding old newspapers for use in your instruction.
Steps? Read more
Saturday morning. 8:00 am. Must. Have. More. Coffee.
Steven White and Hilary Harms should not go out and buy lottery tickets. Any one who gets selected to present on Saturday morning have no luck whatsoever.
But they have an interesting topic so they should be okay. I love using primary sources and I love using iPads. Perfect storm. Plus there’s only like 10 of us awake at this hour so we’re getting some one-on-one instruction.
Steven and Hilary are sharing ideas for using primary sources to create something called a multi-genre story.The idea seems to be that an ePUB book contains both text and multimedia elements. They’re starting by showing how this type of activity is aligned with Common Core ELA standards.
I’ll be honest. I don’t know much about Retronaut. I just found out about the site this week and am still playing it. So I’m not quite sure how to explain it.
Retronaut is an archive of historical photographs. But not just normal historical photographs. The site’s tagline is:
Retronaut – see the past like you wouldn’t believe.
The photos are, mmm . . . different. As in quirky. Kooky. Unexpected. As in Lenin without a beard, Hitler signing autographs, England’s Prince Charles performing a Cossack dance, Nixon with Robocop kind of unexpected.
But trust me. Do not go to Retronaut. It’s like a re-start of a NASCAR race with three laps to go. You know there’s gonna be a crash but you can’t look away. Retronaut will suck you in and you can’t get out. I have no idea where it gets its photos but they are addictive. Do. Not. Go. There.
I’m serious. It’s too late for me. Save yourself. Read more
It seems like every social studies teacher I talk to asks about reading and writing strategies. Everyone is freaking about Common Core ELA literacy skills for history / government. And I suppose that’s a good thing. Good social studies instruction should always include reading and writing activities.
But I believe that we sometimes overthink the whole process. Give kids engaging questions, provide some interesting evidence, and step out of the way.
An easy way to focus on document analysis and support writing skills is something I call Graphic Notes. A Graphic Note is a lot like a Thought Bubble but takes it a bit further. So you can use it as a hook activity or even as a type of assessment.
1. Start by finding a photo or painting Read more
I’ve talked about Kevin Roughton a couple of times. Kevin’s a middle school teacher in California and is doing some cool stuff with his instruction. We’ve been talking the last few days about my earlier Historyball posts and during the conversation, he shared an interesting lesson he uses to teach historical bias and to encourage document analysis.
I asked if I could share and Kevin said sure. And I started thinking . . . what would this look like for me? Can I adapt this to fit what I do?
Because we often struggle trying to envision this sort of activity in actual practice, I think teachers sometimes revert back to what they know and feel comfortable with. And that’s not always a good thing. What we feel comfortable with isn’t always quality instruction.
So today’s tip? A quick example of how you can help kids understand bias while looking at evidence and to encourage high levels of document analysis.
1. Start by Read more