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Posts from the ‘21st century skills’ Category

Tip of the Week: Use KidCitizen to engage K-5 kids & build 6-12 activities

So. Much. Learning.

Getting the chance to be part of the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference can be both overwhelming and inspiring. There are so many people to meet, so many new ideas, so many new tools to explore.

I feel smarter just thinking about it.

Two of the things I noticed while I was immersed in the 2017 History Nerdfest? There is a common language and expectation around the idea of historical thinking – that using evidence and primary sources and sourcing and having kids solve problems is a good thing. Second? There is a commitment to using technology as one of the tools for helping kids make sense of the world around them.

It wasn’t always like that. NCSS and its members have come a long way in embracing the power of tech tools as part of social studies instruction and learning. That’s a good thing. A specific example that focuses on historical thinking and technology are the very cool things that the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program is doing with sims and gaming platforms.

One of the coolest? Read more

History Nerdfest 2017: Using National Geographic Geo-Inquiries to empower students

Yes. I know. The 2017 NCSS conference is over. We’ve had turkey and pumpkin pie since then.

But events on the last NCSS day started to run together and I got seriously sidetracked a couple of times chatting with people that I ran into. So today you get the official final History Nerdfest 2017 post. And thanks to National Geographic, one of my favorites.

You know I love maps, right? National Geographic is all about maps. So anything NatGeo does is automatically awesome.

And their new Geo-Inquiry Process is awesome. Geo-Inquries are designed to help students understand how the complex and dynamic human and natural systems interact in order to help them make smart decisions. Using both “a geographic perspective and the Geo-Inquiry Process students begin to connect complex components, see patterns, and make connections that change their communities.”

It’s a five step process:

  • Ask
  • Collect
  • Visualize
  • Create
  • Act

The goal is to create students with an explorer mindset:

  • attitudes of an explorer – curiosity, responsibility, and empowerment
  • skills necessary for exploration – observation, communication, collaboration, and problem solving
  • knowledge areas – Our Changing Planet, The Human Journey, Wildlife, and Wild Places

Think PBL with a geographic perspective and an emphasis on action. The idea aligns well with the NCSS Inquiry Arc and our state standards – focusing on process rather than just content. This seems like the perfect tool for Read more

History Nerdfest 2017 Day Three: #sschat unconference conversation made me smarter

If you’re not using Twitter to access the #sschat hashtag throughout the year, I will politely suggest that you need start doing that.

Seriously. And if me being polite doesn’t work, you should do because I said so.

Using Twitter and the #sschat hashtag connects you with hundreds of super smart people who can make you smarter. It also connects you with people who need to know what you know so that they can get smarter. Win win.

And this morning at #ncss17, several of the organizers of #sschat put together a three hour unconference session where people could meet face to face. Many of us only know each other via Twitter and so it’s great putting faces with Twitter handles. The cool thing is that the learning is the same. We asked questions. We shared resources. We brainstormed ideas.

And we all walked away smarter.

The cool thing about #sschat is that Read more

History Nerdfest 2017 Day Three: Google Maps + Newsela = glorious mashup

This morning, I feel old.

As in, that old guy who gets up at 5:30 am, eats a hard boiled egg with black coffee, and wanders around the neighborhood mumbling something about early to bed, early to rise.

Saturday morning at #ncss17 is always a bit slow. And I probably actually am that old grumpy guy but this morning seems especially sparse. It’s ten minutes before the first session and there are four of us here. And no presenter. I need more coffee.

And of course, a couple of Newsela folks show up and it’s an awesome session. Cause . . . it’s maps and Newela.

I love Google My Maps and Newsela. Combining them together just makes sense.

JJ, the Newsela guy in charge this morning, kicked off our conversation by talking about what he called the “edtech ecosystem” that exists in our classrooms. I like that. There are healthy ecosystems and ones that aren’t as healthy. I love this idea.

So . . . Read more

Using the TPS Teachers Network album feature to make your kids smarter

Most of you are already aware of the vast amount of resources, lesson plans, and teaching materials available at the Library of Congress. You can spend hours and hours browsing through their Teacher page with its standards aligned lessonsprofessional development tools, and their primary source sets. Or on their blog designed for teachers.

Or their 15 other blogs, their ten Twitter accounts, seven Facebook accounts, and other social media tools. Or Today in History. Maybe their interactive digital iBooks. And if you get really lost, you can always just Ask a Librarian.

You get the idea. They have tons of stuff.

But you knew that already. But . . . what do you know about the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources program? The TPS program is designed to “deliver professional development programs that help teachers use the Library of Congress’s rich reservoir of digitized primary source materials to design challenging, high-quality instruction.”  It does this by funding all sorts of projects around the country through three regional offices that help train teachers and students in the use of LOC resources.

(So . . . side note. You’re looking for some loose change to provide professional development in your district? This would be the place to go. Seriously. As in . . . your district or organizations needs a few or more thousands of dollars to help teachers integrate historical thinking skills into their classrooms using primary sources kind of seriously.)

One of the programs created by the Western TPS regional office is a cool little something called the TPS Teachers Network. Think Facebook, Pinterest, and an modern email listserv all rolled into one and you get the idea of what they’ve got going on. It provides a way for you to connect with other social studies and history teachers to talk, share, and basically just nerd out about social studies stuff.

Joining the TPS Teachers Network is as simple as pie. And once you’re in, check out these handy Getting Started tips.

At its most basic, the TPS Teachers Network provides an opportunity to join groups discussing a variety of topics such as teaching English Language Learners, using videos in the classroom, the student as historian, and supporting literacy through the use of primary sources.

But my new favorite tool on the Network is Read more