For years, experienced social studies teachers have been asking kids to solve problems using evidence. Teaching them to practice historical thinking skills to analyze primary and secondary sources. Training them to evaluate evidence. To create arguments using that evidence.
This sort of instruction and learning wasn’t always officially encouraged. Great teachers did it because they knew it was good for kids. But our recently created state standards, the Common Core Literacy standards, and the NCSS Framework all now support this kind of quality teaching. Historical thinking skills are cool again.
And that’s a good thing. But . . . Read more
I’ve always liked the idea of Likes & Wonders. Asking kids to think about art, for instance. Or during gallery walks of student products.
But I haven’t really thought much about the idea of using the same sort of thinking process during live presentations by students. So yesterday was a new learning experience for me when I got the chance to play a part in PBL guru Ginger Lewman’s two day Passion-Based Learning session.
Ginger was working with a small group of high school teachers, walking through some PBL steps and asking teacher groups to do sample presentations. Along with a few other ESSDACK folks, I sat in on one of the presentations as a “student” listening to the presentation.
And it was cool to see the Likes and Wonders idea applied to student presentations.
We’ve all seen it. A kid or group of kids get up. They do three or four or 15 minutes of a presentation. Chances are, the preso isn’t that good. And the classroom audience is completely disengaged. Kids in the audience have either already presented and don’t care anymore or they’re presenting next and are freaking out.
The whole point here is get kids to think historically and practice literacy skills. So what to do when presentations aren’t that good and the audience is nowhere to be found? Read more
ROI was never something I had to worry about back in the day. If I made to 3:30 with nothing getting set on fire and all 135 middle schoolers accounted for, I checked it off as a major success.
Return on Investment? ROI? I’m not even sure the term had been invented yet. And if it had, I would have had no idea what it meant and how the idea might apply to my classroom.
For anyone without the MBA degree, ROI is a basic business concept that measures the efficiency of an investment of time and/or money. The higher the ROI, the more efficient the investment. Spend $10 on lemons, sugar, and the time to craft a cardboard sign. Make $60 selling lemonade. The ROI is $50. Nice job.
Spend $10. Make $5. ROI is negative $5. Time to go back and rethink your business model.
And back in the day, ROI would not have been something that educators would have worried about. The business model of school was different. Kids showed up. Kids sat in rows. Teacher talked. Kids copied down what the teacher said. Kids memorized what they wrote down. On Friday, teacher asked students to write down what they memorized. Teacher assigned a grade. Repeat.
The world of school is different now. We’re not following the traditional model of kids in rows and teacher centered instruction. (At least we shouldn’t be.) And ROI needs to be a part of this new world.
Before you all jump in with Read more
I spent yesterday in Topeka, working with KSDE social studies guru Don Gifford and a few others such as @MsKoriGreen and @NHTOYMc to develop the next state assessment. Still in alpha version with beta testing in 2018-2019 but lots of fun talking about what it should look like.
It’s gonna be very cool btw – student focused, locally measured, aligned to historical thinking / literacy skills, and problem based. Look for an update on latest test goodness soon.
So we were all over the place in our conversation. Part of our discussion centered on ways to integrate all of the social studies into the work students will be doing. Including geography. So my mind went to maps. Really cool historical maps. And what it might look like when we use really cool historical maps with kids. So I got a bit sidetracked and did a quick interwebs search for really cool historical maps.
Piece of advice. Don’t do this unless you’ve got more than a few minutes to kill. Cause you will end up in a rabbit hole of geography map goodness. Plus I saved you the trouble.
During my poking around, I ran across the Library of Congress Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps collection. It’s got all the cool historical mapness you’ll need today. Read more
We all love geography, right? Maps. Human interactions with place. Movement. Impact on historical events and current affairs. More maps. Digital maps. Land forms. Microclimates. Changes over time.
What’s not to love? It’s just too cool.
So okay. Maybe you don’t love geography as much as I do. I suppose that’s possible. But . . . whether you love it a ton or just put up with it, I don’t think that we spend enough time helping kids see the connections between geography and the other social studies disciplines. And that’s a problem.
But I’ve got a solution. Read more
Here in the great state of Kansas, we’re busy working to develop and implement a standards-based assessment tool that needs to measure a ton of things. Historical thinking. Reading. Writing. Problem solving. Connecting past with contemporary issues.
Oh . . . and civic engagement.
And not just the book learnin’ civic engagement as in . . . there are three branches of government and you need to vote and people can demonstrate and there is a Bill of Rights and it’s a good idea to help others.
Our Kansans Can state board vision requires civic engagement that involves students actually doing something. Getting out of the classroom. Increasing voter registration. Raising awareness and funds for malaria mosquito nets. Organizing a Breast Cancer 5K run. Creating and staffing an after-school club for latch key kids. Buddy programs that connect new students with current students.
So how do you measure that? What can that look like K-12? Yeah . . . well. We’re not completely sure yet. But lots of people are working on it – including official KSDE civic engagement guy and social studies guru Don Gifford. Don recently communicated some of his personal professional learning with Kansas educators and I want to share what he’s starting to figure out. Because it seems like the sort of stuff that can help not just Kansas teachers but Read more