Skip to content

Posts from the ‘primary sources’ 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 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: StoryCorps, emotional feels, and oral history tools

Are you looking for incredibly powerful oral histories? I mean, really super incredible powerful stories? Are you looking for a tool that allows you and your kids to create your own oral histories?

Then you need StoryCorps. You seriously need StroyCorps.

Need an example?

In 1964, Dr. William Lynn Weaver was one of 14 black teens who integrated West High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. At StoryCorps, he spoke about his experiences in the classroom and how difficult it was for him to get a quality education there. Dr. Weaver also integrated the school’s all-white football team, along with other black players, including his older brother, Stanley. Here, he talks about what it was like to play for the West High School Rebels.

We had teams who refused to play us because we had black players. There were always racial comments, uh, banners with the n-word, and, at one point in time, there was even a dummy with a noose around its neck hanging from the goal posts.

I remember we played an all-white school. The game was maybe only in the second quarter. My brother tackled their tight end and broke his collarbone. And when they had to take him off the field with his arm in a sling, that’s when the crowd really got ugly.

We were on the visitors’ sideline and they were coming across the field; so we backed up against the fence. I remember the coach saying, ”Keep your helmet on,” so I was pretty afraid. And then a hand reaches through the fence and grabs my shoulder pads. I look around and it’s my father. And I turned to my brother, I said, “It’s okay; Dad’s here.”

The state police came and escorted us to the buses. The crowd is still chanting and throwing things at the bus and, as the bus drives off, I look back and I see my father standing there and all these angry white people. And I said to my brother, ”How’s Daddy going to get out of here? They might kill him.”

This morning at #ncss17, Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, spoke and shared Read more

History Nerdfest 2017 Day One: Teaching Literacy Through History

I first met Tim Bailey several years ago when he was the Gilder Lehrman master teacher during our Century of Progress TAH project. And he was awesome. Our teachers loved his ideas and resources. During today’s afternoon #NSSSA17 session, I got the chance to learn more from Tim.

Tim highlighted several different ideas from the Gilder Lehrman Teaching Literacy Through History lesson plan database – all immediately useable.

I love a couple of his quotes:

  • Be a guide, not an interpreter.
  • Primary sources are the closest thing to time travel.

Tim started by sharing What we as social studies teachers should be doing: Read more