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 was busy online with a small group of elementary social studies teachers yesterday afternoon when my phone started buzzing. I ignored it for a bit but after a teacher in the group sent me a private message in my Zoom window, my attention shifted. And then, of course, was distracted until late last night and into this morning.
Your role as a social studies teachers has never been more important. Or more difficult.
I was able to take part in a special #sschat session last night and walked away amazed at the power of a social studies PLN. The topic?
“How do I teach tomorrow?”
So many incredible teachers and so many amazing conversations. Blew. Me. Away. There was so much conversation going on, I’m heading back to the chat archive this evening to catch up on all I missed.
(And if you haven’t been part of an #sschat or don’t follow the hashtag, head over to their chat archives and starting getting smarter. Not sure how to do that? Start here.)
One of the amazing things that developed during last night’s chat was the crowdsourced creation of a Google spreadsheet with tons of resources. If you’re looking for ways to talk with with your kids about the events of yesterday and the events that will be taking place over the next few weeks, you need to head over and check out the combined work of hundreds of teachers: Read more
The Constitution and its amendments seem pretty straight forward. The old girl is over 200 years old and has, for the most part, held up well. But helping kids understand the fragile nature of the ideas and practices embedded in the document can be difficult . . . especially when they see, hear, and read about attempts to ignore or circumvent those ideas and practices.
It’s been a long year. Especially if you’re a social studies teachers. (Government teachers, how ya doing?)
So perhaps it’s appropriate that we celebrate Bill of Rights Day every year on December 15. We get the cake and candles out. Shoot off some fireworks. Sing some old union organizing songs. Replay scenes from the Hamilton musical. Do it up right.
Wait . . . what? How many of you didn’t know that today is Bill of Rights Day? Read more
I know we’ve already started down the path of the 2020 elections. But now it’s getting serious. We’re deep into the primaries and we’re actually counting votes.
So if you haven’t yet jumped into teaching about what’s coming next fall, now’s the perfect time. And History Tech has got you covered. Today, we’ve got seven handy online resources that’ll provide lessons, information, maps, graphs, and all sorts of other election goodness. Read more
Most of you have probably settled deep into holiday break mode. Getting up a little bit later than normal. Watching football. Eating too much. Catching up on your reading. Trying to decide if The Mandalorian is worth your time. Enjoying family and friends. Not really thinking about the back to school schedule that cranks up in January.
But if you need a break from all of the free time, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-live five of the most popular History Tech posts from 2019. Enjoy the reruns!
We’ve chatted before about ways to introduce, talk about, and integrate controversial topics on our classrooms. Today I’m flashing back to a conversation I had with Charles Vaughan, a high school teacher from South Carolina. Ten months ago, he shared some of his experiences and thoughts on incorporating political topics into his instruction.
Some of what he referenced seems relevant this week as the congressional impeachment inquiry continues to ramp up. Quoting from an article in an Atlantic titled The Case for Contentious Classrooms, Charles highlighted the importance of what he calls a political classroom:
“Schools teach many things. For the most part, though, they have not not taught students how to engage in reasoned, informed debates across society’s myriad differences.”
He also shared some thoughts based on a book titled The Political Classroom by Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy. During an interview titled Politics in the Classroom. How Much is Too Much? on NPR, McAvoy asks: Read more
I’m starting to get the feeling that we’ve reached critical mass. When I work with social studies teachers around the country, I always make sure they’re familiar with the work by Sam Wineburg and the Stanford History Education Group.
SHEG’s Reading Like a Historian lessons and Beyond the Bubble assessments are the kinds of non-negotiable tools that belong in every teacher’s toolkit. But for the longest time, it seemed as if very few teachers had actually heard about the SHEG site. Of course, as soon as these teachers had the chance to explore the available tools, they were blown away.
Lately I’ve run into more and more teachers who are already familiar with the site and are finding very cool ways of integrating SHEG resources into their instruction. Maybe we’ve reached the point where most teachers have heard about the SHEG goodness and we all love it. (If you’re still not sure what sorts of SHEG lessons and assessments are available, for Pete’s sake, stop reading and head over to check it out.)
If you are using SHEG resources, I feel a little like a TV infomercial host this morning when I say, “but wait . . . there’s more.”
Because SHEG has some new stuff. Read more