I love my summer reading list.
You know the one. I put together a list of stuff I want to read over June, July, and August. Of course, not once have I ever been able to actually finish the list. I always get sidetracked by something. One summer, I got distracted and went on a whole Civil War tangent. Last year, it was old presidential election books like The Making of the President 1960.
This year’s distraction?
I just ran across the latest by literacy gurus Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. And I have to be honest, not that familiar with their work. I was part of conversation several years ago that focused on their Notice and Note book. But I was hooked by their current title: Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters.
Beers and Probst begin Disrupting Thinking with a quick story about a company called Read more
For years, experienced social studies teachers have been asking kids to solve problems using evidence. Teaching them to practice historical thinking skills to analyze primary and secondary sources. Training them to evaluate evidence. To create arguments using that evidence.
This sort of instruction and learning wasn’t always officially encouraged. Great teachers did it because they knew it was good for kids. But our recently created state standards, the Common Core Literacy standards, and the NCSS Framework all now support this kind of quality teaching. Historical thinking skills are cool again.
And that’s a good thing. But . . . Read more
I’ve always liked the idea of Likes & Wonders. Asking kids to think about art, for instance. Or during gallery walks of student products.
But I haven’t really thought much about the idea of using the same sort of thinking process during live presentations by students. So yesterday was a new learning experience for me when I got the chance to play a part in PBL guru Ginger Lewman’s two day Passion-Based Learning session.
Ginger was working with a small group of high school teachers, walking through some PBL steps and asking teacher groups to do sample presentations. Along with a few other ESSDACK folks, I sat in on one of the presentations as a “student” listening to the presentation.
And it was cool to see the Likes and Wonders idea applied to student presentations.
We’ve all seen it. A kid or group of kids get up. They do three or four or 15 minutes of a presentation. Chances are, the preso isn’t that good. And the classroom audience is completely disengaged. Kids in the audience have either already presented and don’t care anymore or they’re presenting next and are freaking out.
The whole point here is get kids to think historically and practice literacy skills. So what to do when presentations aren’t that good and the audience is nowhere to be found? Read more
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
Here in the great state of Kansas, we’re busy working to develop and implement a standards-based assessment tool that needs to measure a ton of things. Historical thinking. Reading. Writing. Problem solving. Connecting past with contemporary issues.
Oh . . . and civic engagement.
And not just the book learnin’ civic engagement as in . . . there are three branches of government and you need to vote and people can demonstrate and there is a Bill of Rights and it’s a good idea to help others.
Our Kansans Can state board vision requires civic engagement that involves students actually doing something. Getting out of the classroom. Increasing voter registration. Raising awareness and funds for malaria mosquito nets. Organizing a Breast Cancer 5K run. Creating and staffing an after-school club for latch key kids. Buddy programs that connect new students with current students.
So how do you measure that? What can that look like K-12? Yeah . . . well. We’re not completely sure yet. But lots of people are working on it – including official KSDE civic engagement guy and social studies guru Don Gifford. Don recently communicated some of his personal professional learning with Kansas educators and I want to share what he’s starting to figure out. Because it seems like the sort of stuff that can help not just Kansas teachers but Read more
I’ve been head over heels for virtual and augmented reality for the last year or so.
There just seems like there is so many different ways to use VR to connect students with content. There are emotional connections, the ability to build empathy, a chance to immerse kids into specific places, to connect past and present, to link geography with events.
This ability to build connections make the use of virtual reality tools such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear a no-brainer for social studies teachers. I posted a ton of VR and AR resources a few months ago that highlights some basic steps, resources, and tools that you can use to get started.
But one of the things several of us have been hashing around is that much of the VR and AR tools are consume only. The end user of most tools simply looks at or experiences something. The app does all the work.
A perfect example is the very cool Google Expeditions app. I love the tool and its ability to take your kids to lots of places. But it is very teacher driven and the content is pushed out to and consumed by the students.
The good news is that more tools are being developed that allow students to not just consume VR content but to create it as well. The Google StreetView mobile app has always had the capacity to capture 360 degree images but few educators knew about the feature and fewer took advantage of that option. And the Google Cardboard Camera app is designed to easily create 360 photospheres.
But one of my new favorite tools that encourage kids to create rather than just consume is a website called Read more