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Posts from the ‘ela’ Category

Hot chocolate. The Columbian Exchange. And pirates.

She says that it’s been both a blessing and a curse.

My daughter is in Washington DC waiting to start an internship at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The position was scheduled to begin on January 14. But . . . mmm, yeah. She’s had a couple of weeks of free time due to the inability of grownups to get along and do important things such as paying people and funding the government. And like 100s of thousands of others, she’s looking forward to getting in to work over the next few days.

The silver lining, of course, is that she’s had a few days to act like a tourist – touring monuments, exploring great little eateries, and visiting museums that have remained open. One of her new faves is the Folger Shakespeare Library. And to be honest, it’s a site I haven’t spent a ton of time exploring until she started texting photos and links to it.

One of the most interesting images for me as a history nerd? Read more

Notable Books, Notable Lessons: Putting social studies back into K-8

Full confession.

Elementary kids freak me out. They’re sticky. They smell funny. And they throw up. All the time. Seriously. All the time. Every day.

My wife teaches elementary kids. She. Is. A. Saint. And she tells me that her kids don’t throw up every day. I want to believe her but I’m not convinced.

The point? I could never teach elementary kids. But somebody needs to teach them social studies skills, concepts, and content. Without a strong social studies foundation in the early grades, it becomes more difficult to build strong historical thinking skills and content knowledge in middle and high school.

So if you teach K-8, or know someone who does, this book is designed just for you: Read more

Seriously? Am I the only one who didn’t know about the EPIC reading tool?

Remember that one time when all your friends went out, had a great time, came back, saw you sitting on your lonely bean bag, and acted surprised? “I thought someone asked you to come along,” they said. “We just figured you were in the other car,” they said.

Right. I love you too.

I felt a little like that about a week ago. I had just learned all about this great free online tool and was pumped. This tool is free. It’s easy to use. It helps connect social studies content with fiction and nonfiction resources. So I got up during our PLC’s show and tell time to share, asked if anyone else was using it, and I got thumbs up from literally everyone in the room.

Yup. I love you too.

I am glad that so many already know about it. And are using it. Cause it really seems like a great tool to have handy in your teaching tool belt – especially as we’re all trying to integrate more social studies and ELA. But where was I when everyone else was finding out about it?

So if you already know Read more

History Nerdfest 2017 Day Two: NCSS Notable Trade Books for elementary kids

I’ve got a Diet Pepsi, blueberry scone, a front row seat at the first session of the day, and the internet is working. Life is good.

We’re kicking off Nerdfest 2017 with the great folks from the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade Books committee. If you’re not familiar with Notable Trade Books, take a few minutes to head over and get a quick overview. The concept is simple. Browse through hundreds and hundreds of social studies related books. Select the best ones. Collect them all together into a downloadable PDF. Share with the world.

I’m going to highlight some of what they share about the latest trade books list with a focus on elementary level books. These are perfect for integrating social studies into your literacy and ELA lessons. Go back to the Trade Books page to download lists from previous years.

(Find detailed lesson plans for each book at the bottom of the post.) Read more

Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters book is disrupting my summer reading plans

I love my summer reading list.

You know the one. I put together a list of stuff I want to read over June, July, and August. Of course, not once have I ever been able to actually finish the list. I always get sidetracked by something. One summer, I got distracted and went on a whole Civil War tangent. Last year, it was old presidential election books like The Making of the President 1960.

This year’s distraction?

I just ran across the latest by literacy gurus Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. And I have to be honest, not that familiar with their work. I was part of a conversation several years ago that focused on their Notice and Note book. But I’ve gotten hooked by their current title: Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters.

Beers and Probst begin Disrupting Thinking with a quick story about a company called Read more