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Posts from the ‘lesson plans’ Category

Use the big screen to generate a love of history (I’m looking at you Dunkirk)

When you buy your ticket to the Dunkirk – and you know you will – make sure that it’s to an iMax theater.

Because this is the type of movie that will kick you in the butt no matter what kind of screen you see it on so you might as well go all in with the super big surround screen. Christopher Nolan shoot the film with the iMax format in mind and it shows.

Dunkirk is an incredibly visually and emotionally compelling story that highlights an event that we as Americans rarely think about. I’ve always been a fan of using visuals and multimedia to help create emotional connections in the brains of students. Especially a story like Dunkirk that can help kids connect with our content.

So how might you use Dunkirk and other movies as part of your instructional strategy? Read more

It puts kids to sleep. And just so ya know . . . that’s a bad thing. (Plus 18 ways to make it better)

Shocker. Lecturing to students puts them to sleep.

Who could have guessed?

Well . . . I should have. But I didn’t. During my first few years as a middle school teacher and later, during some time I spent teaching in a college social science department, I lectured.

A lot.

Early on, I didn’t know better. I was taught that way in both K-12 and in my college content courses. There were no real alternatives provided in my ed classes. And I started teaching long before established mentor programs. It was just the way things were done.

By the time I had moved on to higher ed, I had figured out – with some occasional PD and lots of help from some great educators – that there are other alternatives to constant direct instruction. But I was subtly and then very overtly encouraged to lecture rather than use some of the methods that I knew worked because “you’re not teaching middle school anymore.”

Those memories came flooding back recently while I was reading an older article focused on higher ed teaching titled 20 Terrible Reasons for Lecturing. Several of the reasons listed are almost word for word to what I heard: Read more

O Say Can You See? Smithsonian’s blog. (And other stuff. Lots and lots of other stuff)

Have you ever had one of those days / weeks / months? I feel ya.

Back in the day, summer was one of the slower times of the year at ESSDACK mission control. But over the last few years, for a variety of reasons, June through the end of August has become a very exciting time. Lots of extended learning opportunities that we facilitate, travel to places outside member school districts, and our own very cool Podstock tech conference.

But I’ve been missing History Tech. It’s nice to be back. And what better way to get back home than to talk up one of my favorite online places. Read more

Commemorating the Great War with National Archives iPad app, resources, lesson plans

During the few hours that she has available between reading the Court of Thorns and Roses Series and finishing the Wii Zelda video game, my daughter spends a couple days a week as a volunteer intern at the National Archives Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene. She’s had the chance to organize a ton of donated primary sources, catalog teacher materials, and watched a general from Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division cut a cake in half with a sword.

So . . . she’s already having a better summer that most of us can hope for.

Today I got an email from her sharing a sweet new online tool that highlights some of NARA’s resources surrounding America’s entry into World War One. (NARA has so many different teacher tools available that it can be difficult keeping up with all of it. It’s nice having a member of the crack Eisenhower staff working on the inside to keep me up to date.) So I figured I’d pass on the NARA goodness.

The United States entered World War One on April 6, 1917. To honor the 100th anniversary, the National Archives created Read more

Google Street View, art, and quality social studies instruction

I never really thought much about using art as a social studies instructional tool. It was never something mentioned during my methods classes. We never studied it during my history content courses. And I never had much experience actualy creating art.

I mean . . . sure, I finger painted with the best of them. But it just didn’t occur to me to find ways to integrate art as part of my social studies instruction.

Then my kids came along. They loved creating all sorts of art. (The whale to the left is from my son’s primitive stage.) So I learned more about past and present art, I began thinking about the context of the artists, and I started seeing how art in all of its forms are great examples of primary sources.

The Smithsonian and the National Portrait Gallery strategies and lessons helped. I also fell in love with Google’s Arts and Culture site. So much goodness.

And now Google is making it even easier to find and view artwork for your lessons and units. Read more

Tip of the Week: Prepping kids for a complex world

Need a brain break? Ready for some current event / world culture / global literacy questions?

Here ya go. Six basic questions covering events of the day and an awareness of the world around you. (Check your work at the bottom of the post.)

1. In which of these countries is a majority of the population Muslim?
a. South Africa
b. Armenia
c. India
d. Indonesia

2. Which language is spoken by the most people in the world as their primary language?
a. Russian
b. Mandarin Chinese
c. English
d. Arabic

3. Which country is the largest trading partner of the United States, based on the total dollar value of goods and services?
a. Canada
b. China
c. Mexico
d. Saudi Arabia

4. Approximately what percentage of the United States federal budget is spent on foreign aid?
a. 1 percent
b. 5 percent
c. 12 percent
d .30 percent
e. 40 percent

5. Which countries is the United States bound by treaty to protect if they are attacked? (select all that apply)
a. Canada
b. China
c. Japan
d. Mexico
e. North Korea
f. Russia
g. South Korea
h. Turkey

6. True or False
Over the past five years, the number of Mexicans leaving the United States and returning to Mexico has been greater than the number of Mexicans entering the United States. Read more