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Posts tagged ‘strategies’

Tip of the Week: Black History Month Resources 2014

Okay. I gotta be honest.

Much of what you are about to read is a year old. My thinking hasn’t changed much since February 2013 and well . . . I’m not sure I could write it a whole lot better anyway. So the message and much of the text is the same. The resources are updated.

Enjoy.

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To be honest, I’m a bit torn about the whole idea of Black History Month. The concept started back in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” That particular week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

The hope was that the week would eventually be eliminated when black history became fundamental to American history teaching. In 1976, the federal government followed the lead of the Black United Students at Kent State and established the entire month as Black History Month. President Ford urged Americans, and especially teachers and schools, to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

The hope was that essential people, events, and places, routinely ignored, would be incorporated throughout the school year as part of social studies instruction.

But I’m torn. Read more

Tip of the Week: C4 Framework and Free Stuff

After years of sitting on the margins of instructional practice, social studies is getting a makeover. The Common Core is calling for the teaching of literacy through the integration of fiction and non-fiction into our instruction. In August 2013, the National Council for the Social Studies published the complementary College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

Both the Common Core and College, Career, and Civic Life standards support a different approach to teaching and learning social studies than what we saw as part of No Child Left Behind. Instead of focusing on memorizing specific content measured by multiple choice tests, students are now being asked to do social studies – to think historically, to solve problems, to read, write, and communicate. As teachers, we are being asked to find a balance between foundational knowledge and the authentic use of that knowledge.

But it can be difficult. What does that balance look like in actual practice?

To help you, we came up with something that we’re calling

the C4 Framework. Read more

Teaching reading in the social studies is no longer optional

Teaching reading as part of your social studies instruction is no longer optional. It just isn’t. Whether you agree with the Common Core movement or not, doesn’t matter. Good social studies instruction has always required the integration of reading and writing. The Common Core standards are simply confirming what great history teachers have always believed and practiced.

And in Kansas, where I live and breathe, many of the Common Core reading and writing pieces are embedded directly into the new state Social Studies standards document. The state assessment, due out as a pilot this coming spring and in full-blown mode by 2015-2016, will measure discipline-specific reading and writing skills. It’s not about memorizing content anymore.

Asking your kids to read and write as part of the discipline is no longer optional. In my mind, consciously deciding to not integrate reading and writing as part of your instruction is educational malpractice.

But I also understand that because it’s been optional up till now, many teachers who want to integrate reading and writing strategies are unsure about what that sort of instruction looks like. So a few suggestions and resources.

First suggestion? Read more

Tip of the Week: Reading Like a Historian Videos

You may be getting tired of hearing about the work of Sam Wineburg. I do talk about his stuff a lot. I do.

But it’s because the stuff created by Wineburg and others over at the Stanford History Education Group is so good. I’m sure you’ve all been to their site and looked at the 80+ lesson plans – all structured around the concepts of high level historical thinking. I’m sure you’ve all been to the newer Beyond the Bubble historical thinking assessment site.

But perhaps all of you have not seen the the very useful Reading Like a Historian videos. The SHEG people have put together a great series of videos that demonstrated what historical thinking looks like.

Read more

Tip of the Week: Black History Month Resources 2013

To be honest, I’m a bit torn about the whole idea of Black History Month. The concept started way back in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” That particular week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

The hope was that the week would eventually be eliminated when black history became fundamental to American history teaching. In 1976, the federal government followed the lead of the Black United Students at Kent State and established the entire month as Black History Month. President Ford urged Americans, and especially teachers and schools, to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

The hope was that essential people, events, and places, routinely ignored, would be incorporated throughout the instructional year as part of social studies instruction.

But I’m torn.

Read more

Getting your history geek on

I love history.

I love reading it. I love talking about it. I love arguing about it.

So when 40 middle school history teachers show up at my door for four days of talking and reading and arguing history, it’s like the best day ever.

We started our Century of Progress Teaching American History summer session today and I am so pumped! We’ve got four days together with some great presenters and activities planned. But, really, how cool is this? Four days with history teachers and scholars? It’s a perfect week.

The overarching theme this week is the American West. We’ve got Dr. Matthew Booker and Dr. Stephen Aron as our scholars and Tim Bailey as our instructional methods guy. Booker teaches at North Carolina State and focuses on western environmental stuff and Aron, from UCLA, is an expert on the borderlands. Tim is from Salt Lake City, was the 2009 Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year and has some great strategies to share.

I’ll be posting stuff throughout the week with an attempt at finding a balance between content and instructional strategies. But we’ll also be posting lots of resources on our project web site. Be sure to head over there to download handouts and other goodies. You’ll also find videos of presentations and links to web sites that we’ll be using.

Matthew just mentioned that he loves this sort of week because

it lets me get my history geek on!

So I’m not alone. If you’re a history person, this is the place to be this week. Check back often!

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