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Posts tagged ‘primary sources’

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

World War One posters and artwork

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.

Read more

The Vault: Super awesome primary source blog and resources

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

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