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Posts from the ‘C4’ Category

Powerful China Educator Toolkit from Chicago Field Museum

On occasion, I have been accused of being too US history centric at the expense of world history, civics, and econ. And it’s possible.


At times.

Yeah, okay. It’s true. But seriously . . . come on. It’s the Civil War. Lewis and Clark. Teddy Roosevelt. Gordon Parks. The Amazon Army in southeast Kansas. Freedom Riders. Who doesn’t love those stories?

But I am working to get better at finding stuff that is useful across the disciplines. So I was excited to get a press release from the Chicago Field Museum about what looks like some very cool and useful Chinese history and cultural instructional resources. If you teach middle or high school world history, this is definitely worth a look.
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Tip of the Week: New York Public Library Digital Collection

Finding primary sources and evidence to use as part of the teaching and learning process can be a massive timesuck.

Back in the day, all we had was whatever showed up with the textbook supplementals. If we were lucky, we might have access to some semi-realistic jackdaw collections. And because the pool was so shallow, there were usually two outcomes. You found something you could use almost immediately or you didn’t find anything at all.

But now with so many digital options available, having too many resources can sometimes be just as bad as not having enough. It can be difficult knowing where to start and how to search for what you need. Which resources can help me find what I need?

Of course, there are the no-brainers. Read more

Save the Last Word for Me discussion strategy

I spent some some last week with a group sharing strategies around the blended learning concept. It was compelling conversation, I walked away smarter, and had the chance to meet some interesting people.

But one of my biggest walkaways was a strategy that the forum’s facilitator used to jumpstart the discussion.

He called it the Last Word. Others in the group used the term Final Word. No matter what it might be called, I thought it was a perfect fit for strengthen the speaking and listening skills of social studies students. So if you’ve used Last Word, post some comments on changes you’ve made or things you like about it.

New to Last Word? Read on, my friend. Read more

Don’t be a dog person

I’m a dog person. I can get along with cats if I have to but all my life, it’s been dogs. My first dog, shared with my five brothers and sisters, was a German Shepard / Collie mix named Tuffy. And just so you know, Tuffy was the best dog ever.

Several years ago, my wife and I adopted a rescue dog that we named Rowdie. Rowdie’s a Jack Russell who is currently running a very close second to best dog ever. Definitely way better than a cat.

Cats ignore you, are snooty, and absolutely refuse to roll over and play dead.

But I said something like that once to a person who owned cats and was quickly put in my place: Read more

Top Ten Posts of 2015 #8: Using evidence and primary analysis worksheets

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!


There’s a cool buzz running through the history education world.

Primary sources. Documents. Using evidence. Solving problems. Historical thinking. And that’s a good thing. But I know that it can be difficult sometimes trying to figure out how to use primary sources.

First piece of advice?

Don’t worry so much about primary vs. secondary sources. Start thinking about evidence, about data, instead of focusing just on one sort of document over another. Because if we’re asking great questions, kids will be using all sorts of documents and sources to solve the problem.

I’ve always tried to preach the idea of having kids answer great questions and using a variety of evidence to help them answer those questions. So it’s not just primary sources. It needs to be all sorts of evidence – so kids might need to be using secondary sources. That might be tertiary sources such as a textbook or Wikipedia.

But kids are still using evidence and data to solve the problem. We need to be training our kids how to use that evidence – evaluating, sourcing, and asking questions about audience and purpose. So it’s not really about training them so that they can read primary sources after they graduate – it’s about the long term . . . training them to make better decisions because they now have the ability to evaluate evidence and ask good questions about all sorts of things: Read more

Thinking Historically: Strategies for Literacy Integration

It seemed like half the state of Kansas was in Wichita yesterday for the annual KSDE conference. Good times. I made new friends, met old ones, and learned a ton of new stuff.

Like any conference, part of my day was spent participating in presentations and hanging out at the ESSDACK booth. But I also got the chance to lead a conversation about the integration of social studies and literacy skills. It was a fast and furious 50 minutes with the goal of introducing folks to a variety of ideas and tools.

The full room chatted about push / pull factors that explain why people moved west in the 1850s and why people moved out of Detroit in 2009. We shared ideas about how to use Google Cardboard with kids. And we explored ways to use a couple of L shaped pieces of paper to help students see details in primary sources.

So . . . yeah. Good times. Put a bunch of social studies nerds in one place and everything is right with the world. Check out the preso below and be sure to head over to the Social Studies Central page for handouts, materials, and additional resources. Read more