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Tip of the Week: PEEL graphic organizer

We want them to be able to make an argument using evidence, logic, and reasoning. And we want them to be able to do this in a variety of ways. But it’s difficult to create any sort of argument without some sort of written version first. So having our kids write is always a good idea. The problem? Sometimes our students just need something simple to get them started.

I recently ran across a pretty basic graphic organizer that has apparently been around for a while but because I’ve been so busy with the whole Wichita State beating University of Kansas then losing to Notre Dame basketball thing, I somehow missed it. If you’ve heard of it, feel free to head back to your bracket. If it’s as new to you as it is to me, hang around.

Called PEEL, the organizer is an easy to use tool that provides your students Read more

Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery

The Smithsonian has always been one of my favorite museum / museums. I suppose a person could add up how many museums, exhibits, and collections they have but who has that kind of time?

There is just so much you can interact with onsite but they also have an incredible online presence. And now, via a handy email from the iTunes people, I just found out that they’ve entered the mobile app world.

The iTunes App Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery is their latest cool tool. From the app description:

Ever wondered what it’s like to work at the Smithsonian? With the sudden and curious departure of her last intern, Museum Curator Isabella Wagner needs your help solving a mystery dating back to the Civil War. Could there be ghosts trapped in the basement of the National Museum of American History? Read more

Newseum is a no-brainer for all social studies classrooms

I’ve been on a current events kick lately. A recent newsletter from social studies guru Mike Hasley reminded me of another awesome news resource called Newseum. And apparently I’ve never really posted anything about Newseum here at History Tech.

Not sure how I’ve never gotten around to that. The Newseum is a very cool, actual museum located in Washington DC with a powerful online presence. Their mission is to “champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education.” And I know that you’ve got one or two other museum choices in DC but if you’re in the area, the Newseum is a very fun place to spend some time. Last time I visited, they had an awesome exhibit highlighting Pulitzer Prize winner photographs and the stories behind them. Amazing.

But the cool thing is that even if you can’t make it across the country for an actual visit, the Newseum has a Read more

A Model of Cognition in History

Several weeks ago, Manhattan, Kansas, middle school teacher Jesse Peters shared the latest book that focuses on historical thinking and assessment. Edited by Kadriye Ercikan and Peter Seixas, the book is titled New Directions in Assessing Historical Thinking and is a collection of 16 different essays. The essays highlight a variety of  perspectives from both Europe and the United States on how best to measure historical thinking.

It’s an interesting read – though incredibly nerdy at times – that gives some nice insight into current research and practice.

And an article by Bruce VanSledRight that talks about weighted multiple choice caught my attention. But it wasn’t the description of weighted MC that I walked away with. It was a simple graph, titled A Model of Cognition in History, that was my learning for the day.

It’s not really anything new but I think it’s a powerful visual that can make the whole historical thinking, balance of content knowledge and process skills, new way of instruction and learning thing more understandable to teachers. Read more

Remembering Lincoln

Update: March 24

I want to highlight the live, interactive virtual field trip, hosted by Discovery Education and Ford’s Theatre this coming Thursday, March 26 at 1 pm ET. Be sure to scroll down to get all the details.

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President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865, shocked the nation.

One week before, the Confederacy’s largest army had surrendered. Americans looked to the postwar future with a wide array of hopes and fears. Then came the assassination. Public reaction to Lincoln’s assassination varied widely. Some grieved. Some fretted over the future. A few celebrated. One hundred fifty years later, what can we learn from the reactions and reflections of citizens from across the nation, and even around the world?

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the assassination, Ford’s Theater has partnered with 15 different historical groups and created Remembering Lincoln. The goal of this digital collection is to localize and personalize the story of the Lincoln assassination for people around the United States and world.

Dave McIntire, middle school teacher at Wichita’s Independent School, acted as one of ten teacher representatives for the project and passed on some of the site’s details.

Remembering Lincoln seems like a great resource – not only for the interesting historical details but for the opportunity for using the site to encourage historical thinking skills. The focus of Remembering Lincoln is on sharing a variety of primary sources that document contemporary reaction to Lincoln’s death. There are four major pieces to the site: Read more

Tip of the Week: Using Artifacts to Teach Social Studies

I spent part of the past week in Topeka and Kansas City – not sure what was my favorite. On Wednesday, I climbed to the top of the Kansas State Capitol Building. It’s one of the few capitol domes that still allow folks to visit the very top. And it’s been since I was 13, on the traditional 8th grade field trip to Topeka, that I last climbed to the top.

For the record? Above the inner dome? With just that spindly looking set of stairs? Yeah. Still very spooky.

But the highlight was probably the chance to visit the Steamboat Arabia museum in downtown KC. Most of you probably won’t be able to make that trip but if you can, it’s a keeper. Quick overview – the Missouri River has Read more

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