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Top Ten Posts of 2016 #10: Tip of the Week: Teaching Bias, Historical Thinking, & Home Alone

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


I’ve talked about Kevin Roughton a couple of times. Kevin’s a middle school teacher in California and is doing some cool stuff with his instruction. We’ve been talking the last few days about some earlier Historyball posts and during the conversation, he shared an interesting lesson he uses to teach historical bias and to encourage document analysis.

I asked if I could share and Kevin said sure. And I started thinking . . . what would this look like for me? Can I adapt this to fit what I do?

Because we often struggle trying to envision this sort of activity in actual practice, I think teachers sometimes revert back to what they know and feel comfortable with. And that’s not always a good thing. What we feel comfortable with isn’t always quality instruction.

So today’s tip? Read more

Tip of the Week: Seven Social Studies Strategies for Back to School

Yup. It’s that time of year already. The annual Back to School Ideas in a Social Studies Classroom post. And I know some are already back in the classroom but most of you crank up this week or next.

So. Here ya go.

Use what you can. Adapt what you can’t. Add your own ideas in the comments.

What not to do

Before we get going with what we know works, it’s probably a good idea to think about what doesn’t. Read more

Top Ten Posts of 2015 #6: Back to school ideas for social studies teachers

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten posts of 2015. Enjoy the reruns. See you in January!

——-

We have two very simple unbendable, unbreakable rules in our house. No Christmas music allowed before Thanksgiving. No talking about school before August.

It’s August. So . . . we’re talking about school.

Spoiler alert.

If you’re not already at school, you’re heading there soon.

You probably already knew that. And you probably already have some idea of what you and your students will be doing during the first few days of school. But it’s always nice to have a few extra tips and tricks in your bookbag to start off the school year.

So today? The sixth annual Back to School Ideas in a Social Studies Classroom post. Use what you can. Adapt what you can’t. Add your own ideas in the comments.

What not to do

Before we get to the good stuff, it’s probably a good idea to think about what doesn’t work. Read more

Tip of the Week: Back to school ideas for social studies teachers

We have two very simple unbendable, unbreakable rules in our house. No Christmas music allowed before Thanksgiving. No talking about school before August.

It’s August. So . . . we’re talking about school.

Spoiler alert.

If you’re not already at school, you’re heading there soon.

You probably already knew that. And you probably already have some idea of what you and your students will be doing during the first few days of school. But it’s always nice to have a few extra tips and tricks in your bookbag to start off the school year.

So today? The sixth annual Back to School Ideas in a Social Studies Classroom post. Use what you can. Adapt what you can’t. Add your own ideas in the comments.

What not to do

Before we get to the good stuff it’s probably a good idea to think about what doesn’t work. Read more

Tip of the Week: Teaching Bias, Historical Thinking, & Home Alone

I’ve talked about Kevin Roughton a couple of times. Kevin’s a middle school teacher in California and is doing some cool stuff with his instruction. We’ve been talking the last few days about my earlier Historyball posts and during the conversation, he shared an interesting lesson he uses to teach historical bias and to encourage document analysis.

I asked if I could share and Kevin said sure. And I started thinking . . . what would this look like for me? Can I adapt this to fit what I do?

Because we often struggle trying to envision this sort of activity in actual practice, I think teachers sometimes revert back to what they know and feel comfortable with. And that’s not always a good thing. What we feel comfortable with isn’t always quality instruction.

So today’s tip? A quick example of how you can help kids understand bias while looking at evidence and to encourage high levels of document analysis.

1. Start by Read more

Tip of the Week – Historical Paper Models

Yes. The title is History Tech and the assumption is that we focus on technology that requires . . . well, electricity. Computers and iPads. Video games and Web 2.0 tools. Online primary sources. Fun gadgets that help kids learn history.

But today we’re going old school.

I got a message a couple of months ago from Kevin Roughton, a teacher out in Riverside, California who’s doing cool stuff. I promptly stashed it in my “That’s awesome, save it for later” file. I was reminded of the message after a conversation I had recently with Keil Hileman, another great teacher who works in DeSoto, Kansas.

Both suggested that one way to engage kids in content is to use historical paper models.

That’s right. Paper. Pencils. Crayons. Scissors. Glue. Scotch tape.

Old school.

There are some very handy sites that allow free downloads of models that kids can print, cut out, color and put together. I’m a big believer in Google SketchUp and virtual models but paper seems like another way to include some hands-on activities as part of your instruction. We often forget how much kids like to use their hands.

A few sites to try:

  • Canon’s Creative Park has almost 50 historical models for download including such things as the Colosseum, the Parthenon and Saint Peter’s.
  • Free Paper Models has a whole list of links to a wide variety of goodies.
  • PaperToys has a smaller selection but includes other things besides buildings such as the Santa Maria.

Technology doesn’t always have to be battery-powered. Give these a shot and let me know how it goes.

Have fun!

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