It’s cold. Seriously cold. So even if your building wasn’t already doing the COVID remote dance, the cold and snow probably chased your kids out of the building for at least a few days.
And connecting with your students is always difficult, current conditions are making it even harder.
Loom, a free, ready to use screencast recording tool, can help.
Simple to use. Simple to share. There’s a free version for teachers and kids. And it works great for both face to face classrooms and remote learning environments.
If you’re already using Loom, you may be in the wrong place. This post is for Loom newbies and how we can use the tool as part of effective social studies instruction. So maybe take a few minutes to browse through a list of History Tech posts highlighting historical thinking resources and strategies. (But you’re not gonna hurt my feelings if you skip past the quick Loom introduction and scroll down for the social studies examples.)
So what’s a screencast recording tool? Basically it’s a button you push that records your screen while at the same time recording your face and voice, saving them all together in a downloadable and shareable video format. And it does all of that in a matter of seconds.
Need a quick example? Read more
I know that Google will eventually rule the world. And right now I think I’m okay with that. Because, especially in the last ten months, Google tools have been a life saver.
You’ve got Classroom.
Arts & Culture. MyMaps.
Calendar. Forms. Slides. Browser Extensions. Add-Ons.
All useful tools that can help social studies teachers and students collect, collaborate, create, and communicate in ways that weren’t possible a few years ago. (Though I’m still bitter about that decision to blow off Expeditions. Seriously, Google?)
And, of course, my latest fave . . . Google Jamboard.
Originally created by Google to work with an interactive whiteboard (trust me, your school probably can’t afford the actual hardware), Jamboard software also works on laptops, Chromebooks, and mobile devices. Making it perfect as both a face to face and a remote instructional and learning tool.
It’s actually been around for a few years but I’ve noticed over the last few months as I’ve been using it with teachers that people aren’t that familiar with it. And you should be . . . because whether you’re teaching F2F or some sort of remote learning option, Jamboard needs to be part of your instructional toolkit.
How might you use it? Here are five ways that Jamboard can save your bacon: Read more
Maybe. Just maybe.
Maybe it’s not that our students are gullible. It’s that they’re too cynical. Maybe it’s not that our students don’t believe in the facts. It’s that they don’t know who to trust. Maybe it’s not that our students can’t think critically. It’s that perhaps they’re thinking deeply while interacting with the wrong resources.
I get it. The events of the last few weeks support the idea that we need more social studies. More civics. More difficult and controversial conversations. (Especially at the elementary level.) Couldn’t agree more. We do need more social studies.
But I’ve been in a lot of classrooms and know a lot of great educators. There is already amazing social studies instruction happening in lots of places. So maybe we need to step back, take a breath, stop talking about requiring civic exams in order to graduate, and be more intentional about building on the good stuff that we all know is already there.
What might that look like? Read more
I wrote this post about 18 months ago.
Back during the Before Times.
Back when, you know, things were normal and not so fricking . . . not normal. At the time, along with some amazing social studies rock stars, I got the chance to review and update the state standards document. That revised document was approved by the state board just days before all of this fricking . . . not normal stuff started. And I do think this newly approved, just rolled out document is better. It focuses on process while providing flexibility for local districts to decide on specific content.
And in many ways, it’s a fairly radical departure from what many state level standard documents look like. It’s got some suggestions on broad ideas and themes, some ideas on grade level scope and sequence. But no required history minutiae. No specific dates. Or people. Or events. We wanted kids to walk away with critical thinking skills that they can apply in a variety of contexts.
But now I’m curious.
If we had known then what we know now, would we have created something even more revisionist? As in, as the educational system is shifting towards a more blended, hybrid learning environment – one focused on problem-based learning, on a competency-based model rather than seat time – do the standards need to be pared down even more?
What truly is important for social studies students to know and be able to do? And do we even call them social studies students any more? Would Humanities students make more sense?
This Wayback Wednesday post focuses on 2018 Washington Post article that asked seven history gurus a simple question:
What are the most important things young people should be learning in school today?
Your homework is simple. Answer the question: Read more