Jill Weber gets it. She’s a middle school teacher honing her craft in Cheney, Kansas and she is rocking it.
Finding the balance between foundational content and process. Problems to solve. Evidence to analyze. No obvious answers. Academic discomfort. Groups to work in. Hands on. Physical movement. Obvious passion for the subject.
She’s one of those teachers that I would have wanted for my own kids to have when they were in middle school. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with her for almost six years.
She jumped in feet first to our second Teaching American History project back in 2010 and then transitioned into the ESSDACK social studies PLC. She was awarded the Kansas Council for the Social Studies 2016 secondary mini-grant and is the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year. And she shares a ton of her stuff on A View of the Web.
One of her recent posts caught my eye and asked if I could re-post it here. I love her idea of starting off the school year with a historical thinking bootcamp. She wants her middle schoolers to understand what they’re getting into and spends six days training her kids in the basics of thinking and reading like historians.
This is the sort of thing that I think all good social studies teachers are doing but I like that Jill has been very intentional about planning for this type of learning to happen. And while her focus is on middle school and Kansas / US history, this is stuff that all of us need to be doing.
So use what you can and adapt where needed but put these ideas into practice.
(Update: I’ve added these great ideas of Jill to my August 4, 2017 post titled 7 great social studies ideas for back to school.)