One of the advantages of doing what I do is the chance to meet and talk with lots of great social studies teachers. Whether it’s traveling around doing on-site trainings or leading workshops in ESSDACK’s own facility, the opportunities to brainstorm ideas and learn new things are abundant.
Earlier this week, I spent the day working with a small group of middle school teachers. The conversation shifted to literacy strategies and what works best to help students read and write in the social studies. Andrew Trent, teacher from Clay Center and colleague on the state assessment writing team, shared a strategy that I had never seen before.
Titled Tic Tac Tell, the strategy is very simple to implement but Read more
As we move into a social studies world that is asking kids to collect evidence, organize evidence, create products, and communicate results, writing skills are becoming more and more important.
But for the last ten years or so, at least in the state of Kansas, we’ve asked kids to focus instead on memorizing content. So now when we’re asking our middle school and high school students to not just write more but to use evidence while proving assertions, we get a lot of blank stares.
My suggestion? 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
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?