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
Mission US: “Up from the Dust” is the newest simulation from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and WNET with a focus on saving the Texas family farm during the Dust Bowl.
The mission provides young people with an experiential understanding of the enormous hardships facing Americans during the late 1920s and early 1930s, as they struggled against the joint catastrophes of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The game is divided into five parts, with a prologue offering background information and an epilogue extending the story of the main characters. A new feature in Mission 5 is a tool for gathering and organizing historical evidence to support explanatory and argumentative writing aligned to the mission’s learning goals.
Students assume the roles of Frank and Ginny Dunn, twins growing up on a wheat farm in the Texas Panhandle. The simulation begins in summer 1929, as the Dunn family is preparing to plant their wheat crop. During the 1929-1930 growing season, the stock market crashes and wheat prices begin a precipitous fall. Later, a drought adds to their problems. Over the next few years, the Dunns witness how the Great Depression affects not only their neighbors in Texas, but people all across the United States. They also experience how people came together, both through charity and government programs, to get through this challenging period in American history. Read more
We all love the History Channel. And we all love the Cooking Channel. So why not the History Cooking Channel?
Yup. The History Cooking Channel. A YouTube channel dedicated to exploring all things related to the 1700s – with a cool focus on cooking, food, baking, and eating.
It’s a perfect supplementary resource for you US and World history types. You get hundreds of quick videos highlighting how people cooked and ate during the 1700s. Kids can experience Read more
I spent a great day yesterday with about 300 social studies teachers chatting about all sorts of strategies that can engage learners. One of the things we discussed was the use Google Cardboard and virtual reality. Cardboard is a great way to explore all sorts of places around the world.
But part of our conversation, especially with elementary teachers, was that Cardboard requires a smart phone. For most grade school classrooms, cell phones will be difficult. And it’s not just elementary teachers that might struggle getting Cardboards and devices. Middle and high school teachers shared concerns about equity and access.
An alternative would be to focus on other types of virtual field trips. So today? A few suggestions: Read more
I have been waiting for this for so long. I know some of you have done the same thing – striking a bunch of matches, blowing them out, and letting the smoke waft through the room during conversations about battles or battle sims.
Because we know how powerful the sense of smell can be in connecting emotion and content. And when we can connect emotion and content, retention goes up. Comprehension goes up. But in today’s world of smoke alarms, lighting a box of matches in your classroom is probably not a good idea.
So you can imagine how cool it was when I ran across the Scent-O-Matic. Seriously. A company that lets you order a can of smells specific to a historical period or topic. I am loving this! Read more
Karen Ogen gets the credit for creating an easy to use, visually appealing list of interactive sites aligned by content area. Larry Felazzo gets the credit for sharing Karen’s work. You get the credit for using the list with your kids.
Head over to Larry’s site to get Karen’s link and be sure check out some of Larry’s other interactive site links.
Still not enough? Try some of these: Read more