This morning, I was poking around in the History Tech archives looking for some research on the best way to integrate literature into social studies instruction. And as often happens, I got sucked down a rabbit hole and ran across a different article I wrote five years ago and forgotten all about.
With the uncertainty of the next few months and the changes we’re being asked to make, the message seems appropriate to share today. Simply put, what we’ve always done in the past probably isn’t going to work today. Traditional types of instruction like 45 minute lectures or packets of worksheets asking kids to copy and paste answers from a textbook have never been good for kids. They become even less useful in a hybrid or remote learning environment.
A silver lining in what we’re all experiencing right now is that we have permission to do social studies differently. And not just permission. Depending on where you teach, you’ve got active support and encouragement from the powers on high to really rethink our instruction. (In Kansas, the state ed department published a 1000 page document detailing what that might look like. Feel free to jump in on that.)
Will it be easy? Nope.
Is it something we need to do? Yes . . . absolutely.
I’ve edited the five year old post a bit to update the resources at the end. But the message remains the same. Holding on to what we know won’t work is not doing our kids any favors. Be willing to lean into the hard work ahead, throw out the old, and embrace a situation with literally no walls that allows you the freedom to do all sorts of amazing things.
I knew the day was coming. There is a fairly extensive Read more
Today you get a two for one.
I recently got a question from a teacher that I’m pretty sure most of us are asking right about now.
“Where can I find quality history and social studies lessons that I can use either face to face or remotely?
I’ve got my quick favorites. SHEG. Library of Congress. National Archives. All can be adapted to a remote learning environment. But a few minutes of brainstorming and the list quickly grew.
So the first part of the twofer? Seven sites with tons of lessons you can use right away: Read more
It’s not often that you get the chance to meet and chat with any actual, real life hero. To make sure I didn’t miss my opportunity, I camped out on the floor right by the exit giving me a better chance to grab a spot at the front of the line.
John Lewis was speaking at the National Council for the Social Studies 2016 national conference and scheduled to sign copies of the last book in his amazing graphic novel series, March. There was only about a kazillion people in the audience and I didn’t want to miss out on getting my copy signed. So I made sure that as soon as Congressman Lewis finished his presentation, I was in position to hustle to the front of the autograph line.
I wanted to the chance to thank for Mr. Lewis for his service. He fought for his country, like many others, risking life and liberty to help ensure that America lived up to her promises.
Several years ago, I posted a quick article highlighting the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. It was a good reminder for me about the power and impact of executive orders. As you begin to plan for the upcoming school year, don’t shy away from using primary sources like photographs that document uncomfortable topics. Lean into them.
Today? A Monday Memory flashback post from 2017.
You all know photographer Dorothea Lange. If not Dorothea herself, you’ll recognize her famous candid photos taken during the 1930s highlighting the struggles of Americans suffering during the Great Depression. Her iconic Migrant Mother and the series of photos around that image depict the desperation many felt during the period.
Later in 1942, she was hired by the US government to capture images of the relocation of Japanese-Americans affected by President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. Thousands of American citizens were being stripped of their civil liberties, their businesses, and their homes before being placed in internment camps scattered around the country.
Lange was originally opposed to the idea but accepted the task because she thought “a true record of the evacuation would be valuable in the future.” But after reviewing her photographs and their portrayal of the Japanese American experience, the military became concerned how the images of the internment program would be received by the public.
So government leaders Read more
Long time readers know how much I love maps. I don’t really know for sure when the infatuation started but Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton may have had something to do with it.
I ran across Katy recently for the first time in years as I was sorting through bookshelves containing some old books. For those of you too young to have read Katy and the Big Snow as a child, a quick recap.
Katy is “a brave and untiring tractor” who pushes a bulldozer in the summer and a snowplow in the winter, making it possible for the townspeople of Geoppolis to do their jobs. In this particular story, Katy drives around all over the town – north, south, east, and west – with her snow plow, opening up the town so that citizens could complete a variety of different public and private tasks such as delivery the mail, putting out a fire, and shopping at a grocery store.
It’s a great book for a lot of reasons but one big reason is there’s so much to look at, especially in the margins. I loved that book growing up.
The best part of the book, I’m sure we’ll all agree, Read more
With Netflix (or is it Amazon Prime? Maybe both?) offering free access to movies depicting events of the civil rights movement and the African American experience, you’ve got a great excuse to come in from the 98 degree heat.
Watch some great history. Learn some stuff. And extra bonus?
Get some free stuff.
I posted this article back in 2015 after the movie Selma came out in theaters. And saw a great connection between the film and the amazing collection of free lessons and videos from Teaching Tolerance.
The free stuff was awesome then. And it’s still awesome now.
I finally got the chance to see Selma over the weekend. And afterwards, I tweeted out that it’s a “must see.” Having had a chance to digest a bit and talk with others who’ve seen it, I’m still convinced. The movie does a great job of Read more