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Posts from the ‘lesson plans’ Category

Flipgrid is not a misfit toy: 10 ways that it can engage kids and improve historical thinking

A few weeks ago, I got hooked back into Flipgrid. I joined several years ago and messed with it a bit. Talked with others about it. Used it a few times. And then, like a lot of the new tools I get the chance to play with, I threw it on the pile with the rest of the Island of Misfit Toys.

Not that it was broken. Some other shiny thing caught my attention and I moved on.

Then last month I needed something quick, easy, and fun to use with a group of elementary teachers for a reflection activity. So . . .Flipgrid. And it was awesome. So I’m back.

Not sure what Flipgrid is? Read more

3 ways the National Humanity Center will make your kids smarter

The National Humanity Center has been supporting the humanities for over 40 years. That’s a good thing. Because they’ve had plenty of time to develop a ton of tools that can help make you a better teacher and your students a whole lot smarter.

Start with the NHC’s suite of lesson plans. All of their America in Class lessons have Read more

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: Using SHEG templates to create your own historical thinking lessons

We all love the Stanford History Education Group. Great lessons. Aligned assessments. Perfect balance between process and content. Focus on historical thinking skills. And just this week, a rebranding of the site and the addition of civic literacy tools.

But what happens if you can’t find what you need for your content in their list of 132 US and world history lessons? Go back to the lecture?

Nope. I’ve been preaching for years that we should be using the structure and process of those 132 lessons to create our own. Extra work? Sure. But if you follow the SHEG model, you know that what your kids are going to get is good for them.

But it can be daunting. What are the steps? What should go where? How should I create the questions? What documents to use?

Some of those questions were answered Saturday when 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