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Posts tagged ‘writing’

TED-Ed Clubs. Yup. TED-Ed just got better.

I’m convinced that the TED-Ed tool is one of the most under-utilized online tools ever. Where else can you incorporate sweet TED videos, YouTube videos, a variety of assessment tools, automatic scoring, flipped classroom theory, online collaboration, instant feedback to teacher and student, the power of crowds, and get it all for free?

That’s right. Nowhere else.


Step one:
Head over to TED-Ed and start using it.

Step two:
Check out their latest feature. TED-Ed Clubs. Read more

Tip of the Week: Tic Tac Tell

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

Evidence-based terms in social studies

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

Comic book heros teaching civic principles

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

12 reading and writing resources for teaching social studies

Feeling a bit uneasy about how to respond to the Common Core Literacy Standards for History / Government? Struggling with what that looks like? Need a few ideas and suggestions for integrating reading and writing into your social studies instruction?

Check out the 12 web sites below to get a head start: 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


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