My kids love it whenever they get the chance to use technology as part of the writing process. My job is to make sure that the tech use is meaningful and purposeful – when used correctly technology can help enhance and transform my lessons, provide real-world activities, and increase student engagement.
Jill Weber, Cheney Middle School
We all strive to develop students with the skills necessary to be successful after high school graduation. And national and local standards provide us with documents packed full of suggested benchmarks and commendable expectations.
The Common Core ELA writing standards encourage students to “use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.” The National Council for the Social Studies urges us to find ways for our kids to “take informed action” based on what they have learned.
What teacher doesn’t want that for their students?
We all want our students to write more. To develop solutions to authentic problems. To spread their voices beyond the classroom. But it can be difficult for classroom teachers to have a clear vision of what that might look like in actual practice.
The good news is that there is an abundance of multimedia resources available that support the creation and sharing of student storytelling products.
No, I didn’t see it.
So I can’t say with 100% certainty that The Emjoi Movie was as terrible as the critics say it was. But apparently . . . it really was terrible. Not even Patrick Stewart and Sofía Vergara could save it.
But . . . wait for it.
Using emojis as part of your instructional design can help improve student thinking and literacy skills.
I know. I know. You’re thinking that using little graphic images instead of text is no way to teach historical thinking and literacy. And you’d be right. But what if we used little graphic images, great guiding questions, proven historical thinking strategies together with reading and writing activities?
Now I think we’ve got something.
You can get an idea of the potential by taking a look at how Omaha middle school teacher Lance Mosier used emojis to help kids understand what life was like for soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Read more
I still remember the week of The Civil War by Ken Burns. It was early in my first teaching position as an 8th grade US history teacher in Derby, America. And it was amazing. So Ken and I have continued to hang out over the last few decades.
Jazz. Baseball. World War II. The Roosevelts.
And now . . . Vietnam.
But this one feels different somehow. Still mesmerizing. Still great production values. Still engaging. Still solid history. But maybe it just feels too recent to be comfortable history.
Vox writer Read more
We all love a good meme. Visual. Easy to understand. And just the right amount of snark.
But can we use them as part of our instructional designs? Or are they just a questionable way to spend way too much time online? Ask me that question five years ago and I probably would have said waste of time. Fun, sure. But a waste of time.
I’m starting to believe the combination of visuals and text needed to create a good meme can be used in a variety of ways.
So . . . today, a few meme / social studies / literacy integration ideas: Read more
Some of the best days of the school year are when I get the chance to spend time with the #ESSDACK social studies PLC. Yesterday was one of those days. We talked about a ton of things including the idea of Twitter chats as a professional learning tool. Most of the group already have Twitter accounts and some like , , , and are more serious users. But it was fun working together with the whole group to do a sample online chat with everyone in the room at the same time, exploring the power of scheduled chats. Lots of learning and discussion.
But I’m always amazed at the rabbit hole that you can fall into once you start with the Twitters. And yesterday was no different. As several of us were exploring different social studies hashtags, I ran across something called the World’s Largest Lesson.
The goal of the WLL is simple – support and foster the idea of Sustainable Development Goals.
Several years ago, a ton of world leadership folks got together and finalized 17 different things that will make the world a better place. They titled them the Sustainable Development Goals.
Basic stuff like zero hunger, quality education, reduced inequalities, peace and justice. Yeah. The biggies. Saving the world kinds of things.
The cool thing is that they also developed a plan for actually finding ways to make it happen. To follow through and find solutions.
Another cool thing? Read more
We all know the story. A group of guys from different parts of the country with different ideas of how to govern got together and came up with a pretty amazing document. It’s a great story with a pretty amazing cast. (I’m looking at you #Hamilton.) And we all have our favorite actors in that story. My fave?
He’s kind of like the sleeper pick in your fantasy football league – everyone knows he’s out there but they ignore him because all the focus is on Jefferson or Madison or one of the other first rounders. But you draft him anyway cause you know he’s got the skills.
Ben was smart, irreverent, great with people, well-read, the ladies loved him, he had that whole kite / electricity / scientist thing working, and was by far the best part of 1776 and John Adams. What’s not to love?
And so it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign in 1787: Read more