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Posts from the ‘professional dev’ Category

Tip of the Week: Joe Harmon and shared Social Studies PLN goodness

I love Twitter. And I love Google.

So when Dr. Joe Harmon posted his idea on Twitter for a collaborative Social Studies resource Google folder, it was the perfect day. Taking advantage of my Twitter PLN and the awesome #sschat hashtag. Using Google Drive to share, view, and use teaching and learning resources. The only way it could have gotten any better was if Roy’s Pit BBQ had delivered some ribs and toast while I sat there getting smarter.

This is what the Internet was designed to do and what we should be using it for – connecting people and ideas in ways that make the world a better place. What does this look like in this specific case? Read more

5 New Year’s resolutions every social studies teacher should make

Yes. I am aware that most New Year’s resolutions are made a bit closer to New Year’s Day. But it’s still January, so I figure I’m good.

The good news is that a 2009 study found that 46% of participants who made New Year’s resolutions were likely to succeed – over ten times as much as those who decided to make similar decisions during other times of the year.

So . . . it’s not too late to make a few 2018 social studies resolutions. And I’m a big believer in constant self-evaluation. As in asking myself questions about my current practice: What’s working? What’s not? What should I change? What do my students need? What resource needs to be phased out? The middle of the school is a perfect time for those sorts of questions.

In that spirit, here are five New Year’s resolutions every social studies teacher should make: Read more

History Nerdfest 2017 Day Three: #sschat unconference conversation made me smarter

If you’re not using Twitter to access the #sschat hashtag throughout the year, I will politely suggest that you need start doing that.

Seriously. And if me being polite doesn’t work, you should do because I said so.

Using Twitter and the #sschat hashtag connects you with hundreds of super smart people who can make you smarter. It also connects you with people who need to know what you know so that they can get smarter. Win win.

And this morning at #ncss17, several of the organizers of #sschat put together a three hour unconference session where people could meet face to face. Many of us only know each other via Twitter and so it’s great putting faces with Twitter handles. The cool thing is that the learning is the same. We asked questions. We shared resources. We brainstormed ideas.

And we all walked away smarter.

The cool thing about #sschat is that Read more

Using the TPS Teachers Network album feature to make your kids smarter

Most of you are already aware of the vast amount of resources, lesson plans, and teaching materials available at the Library of Congress. You can spend hours and hours browsing through their Teacher page with its standards aligned lessonsprofessional development tools, and their primary source sets. Or on their blog designed for teachers.

Or their 15 other blogs, their ten Twitter accounts, seven Facebook accounts, and other social media tools. Or Today in History. Maybe their interactive digital iBooks. And if you get really lost, you can always just Ask a Librarian.

You get the idea. They have tons of stuff.

But you knew that already. But . . . what do you know about the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources program? The TPS program is designed to “deliver professional development programs that help teachers use the Library of Congress’s rich reservoir of digitized primary source materials to design challenging, high-quality instruction.”  It does this by funding all sorts of projects around the country through three regional offices that help train teachers and students in the use of LOC resources.

(So . . . side note. You’re looking for some loose change to provide professional development in your district? This would be the place to go. Seriously. As in . . . your district or organizations needs a few or more thousands of dollars to help teachers integrate historical thinking skills into their classrooms using primary sources kind of seriously.)

One of the programs created by the Western TPS regional office is a cool little something called the TPS Teachers Network. Think Facebook, Pinterest, and an modern email listserv all rolled into one and you get the idea of what they’ve got going on. It provides a way for you to connect with other social studies and history teachers to talk, share, and basically just nerd out about social studies stuff.

Joining the TPS Teachers Network is as simple as pie. And once you’re in, check out these handy Getting Started tips.

At its most basic, the TPS Teachers Network provides an opportunity to join groups discussing a variety of topics such as teaching English Language Learners, using videos in the classroom, the student as historian, and supporting literacy through the use of primary sources.

But my new favorite tool on the Network is Read more

What’s your social studies ROI?

ROI was never something I had to worry about back in the day. If I made to 3:30 with nothing getting set on fire and all 135 middle schoolers accounted for, I checked it off as a major success.

Return on Investment? ROI? I’m not even sure the term had been invented yet. And if it had, I would have had no idea what it meant and how the idea might apply to my classroom.

For anyone without the MBA degree, ROI is a basic business concept that measures the efficiency of an investment of time and/or money. The higher the ROI, the more efficient the investment. Spend $10 on lemons, sugar, and the time to craft a cardboard sign. Make $60 selling lemonade. The ROI is $50. Nice job.

Spend $10. Make $5. ROI is negative $5. Time to go back and rethink your business model.

And back in the day, ROI would not have been something that educators would have worried about. The business model of school was different. Kids showed up. Kids sat in rows. Teacher talked. Kids copied down what the teacher said. Kids memorized what they wrote down. On Friday, teacher asked students to write down what they memorized. Teacher assigned a grade. Repeat.

The world of school is different now. We’re not following the traditional model of kids in rows and teacher centered instruction. (At least we shouldn’t be.) And ROI needs to be a part of this new world.

Before you all jump in with Read more

So you love geography? Become a National Geographic certified educator

We all love geography, right? Maps. Human interactions with place. Movement. Impact on historical events and current affairs. More maps. Digital maps. Land forms. Microclimates. Changes over time.

What’s not to love? It’s just too cool.

So okay. Maybe you don’t love geography as much as I do. I suppose that’s possible. But . . . whether you love it a ton or just put up with it, I don’t think that we spend enough time helping kids see the connections between geography and the other social studies disciplines. And that’s a problem.

But I’ve got a solution. Read more