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Posts from the ‘strategies’ 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

Social Studies Central teaching tools: These products can help!

One of the most enjoyable things I get to do is finding things that make life better and easier for teachers and students. Sometimes those things are online sites and tools. Sometimes those things are ideas that teachers share. And sometimes those things are products that are created here at ESSDACK.

Today I want to share three products that we’ve designed specifically to support social studies teachers in their own professional learning and as they teach historical thinking skills. Our goal is simple – find ways to help teachers learn in non-traditional ways. For years at ESSDACK, we’ve worked to create quality face-to-face professional learning opportunities.

But we also want to offer tools and products that encourage you to learn and work where and when is best for you. So I’ve created a few products that you can use as 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

Tip of the Week: Teaching the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, and Making Choices

Four times a year, I get the chance to be part of the ESSDACK social studies PLC. The PLC is an offshoot of our last Teaching American History grant with the same goal – improve our history / social studies teaching knowledge and skills.

And last Wednesday, we got ton of both from Sheryl of the awesome Echoes and Reflections site. Sheryl’s on a nationwide tour, providing professional learning opportunities across the country, sharing strategies, best practices, and resources for teaching the Jewish Holocaust.

It was a powerful and emotional day, aligning perfectly with our focus this fall on teaching controversial and uncomfortable topics. (You can still access our September Google Doc with teaching resources and ideas.) Sheryl used part of the day to highlight different sections at Echoes and Reflections but much of her focus was on how best to integrate the Holocaust into our instruction.

First things first, the Echoes and Reflections site is a must see. Read more

Graphic organizers are like power-ups for your English Learners (and just about everyone else!)

Graphic organizers aren’t new. I’m pretty sure that Ptolemy was using some sort of Venn diagram to explain longitude and latitude. And I’ve seen photos of cave drawings that looked a lot like cause and effect timelines.

They’ve been around a while.

But . . . I still think that we don’t use them enough. The visual and textual combination of a great graphic organizer is the perfect tool for connecting people, places, ideas, and events. We use them to make sense of new information, to show dynamic relationships, and to make connections to prior knowledge. All in a visual format that makes sense to our brains.

And as handy as they are for your mainstream students, think video game power-ups when you use graphic organizers with English Learners (EL) and multilingual students. A power-up gives a gamer extra strength, or a new weapon, more speed, and sometimes just the opposite – the game slows down while your character retains the same speed.

For your kids who are learning English or who might be reading / writing below grade level?

Graphic organizers = video game power-ups

When we integrate graphic organizers into our instructional designs, EL kids get extra power that can help them understand and grasp new ideas . Last week, I got the chance to learn with and from seven other teachers as we shared successful EL teaching strategies. And trust me, the information flow was pretty much one way – from the smart people in the room straight to me. But from that conversation, a few things became clear: Read more