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Posts tagged ‘primary sources’

Tip of the Week: Primary sources writing prompts aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy

If you haven’t spent at least a few hours at the TPS-Barat blog site, you’re missing out. They’ve got some amazing resources designed specifically to support hisitorical thinking. Using funds and support from the Library of Congress, the Barat Educational Foundation created a site focused on the effective use of primary sources in the classroom. Titled TPS-Barat Primary Source Nexus, the site has themed sets of primary sources, teaching strategies, online and face to face professional development, and tech integration tips.

Seriously. Be prepared to spend some time there. Plus you knows it’s all good cause the LOC is involved.

I recently ran across a little bit of their goodness that seems like a no-brainer.  As we shift our instructional focus to include more historical thinking process and literacy, using primary and secondary sources should be one of our prime strategies. But it can be difficult integrating the use of primary source images with literacy activities.

The good news?

TPS-Barat has got you covered. They’ve developed a whole series of writing prompts aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy that are designed for use with images and photos.

Read more

Is it ever okay to tamper with the past? Modifying primary sources to make them accessible

Maybe this is not as big a topic as I think it is. Maybe it’s just me. But it seems as if the idea of modifying primary sources in order to make them more “user friendly” for our students, especially younger kids, is kind of a big deal.

Maybe I’m wrong. As I travel around the country, I get the chance to work with lots of social studies teachers – who by the very nature of their position have a tendency to voice strong opinions about, well . . . just about everything.

Including among other things: K-State football, KU basketball, Democrat, Republican, Texas BBQ, Kansas City BBQ, and iPads vs. Chromebooks.

But no matter where I’m at the question of modifying or altering primary sources for student use in the classroom is a topic that gets everybody’s juices going. The concept is a pretty simple one. Use a primary document as an instructional tool but before handing it over to students, you edit the document – changing length or vocabulary or sentence structure or deleting unnecessary elements or whatever might hold kids back from being able to make sense of the document.

This, of course, is where the debate begins. What is unnecessary? Read more

Sample state assessment, historical thinking assessment tools, and useful primary sources

Update

Okay. I’m an idiot. Several (many) of you have noticed that I said that I attached Don’s presentation. But I never did. Now I have. It’s linked below and here. Kansas teachers? You need to download this to see what the state assessment beta version looks like. (Be sure to scroll down for the rest of the goodies.) The rest of you? Scroll down for the rest of the goodies. You’ll find them handy too.

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For the last few years, you’ve read about the process we’ve been working through as Kansas rewrites its social studies standards and state level assessment.

I’m convinced that the writing committee made up of teachers and state department staff developed a pretty awesome standards document. If you’ve been already for the the conversation, you already know that the focus has always been on finding ways to encourage process and historical thinking rather than simple memorization.

The real question, from the very beginning, has always been trying to figure out what the assessment will look like. How can you measure – at a state level with thousands of kids at different grades in a standardized way – historical thinking? How do you score it? What does the rubric look like? How can you train teachers to use the rubric consistently? Even at a classroom level, teachers are still working to figure this out. At the state level? Add the recent mandate that the elementary and middle school version of the test must now also act as the state writing assessment and it becomes a bit of a nightmare.

Thankfully Don Gifford and his crack staff of . . . well, just himself is on the case. Yesterday Don shared the latest vision of what the state level document looks like. And I can already hearing those of from places not Kansas clicking the Next button to head somewhere else.

But you need to hang around because Don and others have created and shared a series of resources that I think are useful for all social studies teachers. Read more

Tip of the Week: Constitution Day Resources 2014

It’s that time of year again. Constitution Day 2014. September 17.

You know the story. A group of guys from different parts of the country with different ideas of how to govern got together and came up with a pretty amazing document. My favorite Founding Father?

Ben Franklin. He’s kind of like the sleeper pick in your fantasy football league – everyone knows he’s out there but they ignore him because all the focus is on Jefferson or Madison or one of the other first rounders. But you draft him anyway cause you know he’s got the skills.

Ben was smart, irreverent, great with people, well-read, the ladies loved him, he had that whole kite / electricity / scientist thing working, and was by far the best part of 1776 and John Adams. What’s not to love?

And so it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign: Read more

3 ways to use artifacts in the social studies classroom (and build literacy skills)

It’s day one of our Social Studies PLC and I am pumped. It’s always a great time and I’m always learning something new. The core members of the group are from the Century of Progress Teaching American History grant project but in the last year, we’ve added a ton of new people.

New people equals new ideas. New strategies and resources. So . . . yeah, it’s gonna be fun.

We’ve settled into the habit of spending our mornings focusing on a specific topic. We’ll kick off this year the same way by spending the am talking about the best ways to use artifacts as teaching tools. There’ll be a variety of things that we gonna do including: Read more

Picturing US History: Building visual literacy

Using photos, videos, and other types of images is one of the most effective ways to hook kids into your content. Images can create emotion, explain events, generate questions, and help solve problems.

But sometimes it can be difficult integrating visuals into your instruction. What images to use? What activities work best? How can you align these activities with national and state standards?

Picturing United States History: An Interactive Resource for Teaching with Visual Evidence can help. Created by the folks at the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning at the City University of New York Graduate Center with funding support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the site is a digital project based on the belief that visual materials are vital to understanding the American past. Read more

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