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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Twitter chats are your best friend. So why are you ignoring them?

“Twitter chats are your best friend.”

If you already know this and the two of you already hang out together, feel free to go find something else to do. You’re good. ( You might enjoy Smithsonian’s O Say Can You See blog or maybe head over to National Geographic slightly quirky but always fun All Over the Map site.)

But if you haven’t noticed the many Twitter chats taking place all around you, stay put cause you need to hear it again:

“Twitter chats are your best friend.”

I get it. For many of us, social media of any kind can be just one more thing that adds to the load. We may not understand how best to use it as an educational tool. Maybe we’re not convinced that it actually has a place in education. We haven’t seen a real use for it.

Or maybe we just aren’t sure how to go about it.

And so, at best, we ignore it. At worst, we rail against it.

For the record, I believe that social media and especially Twitter can have a positive impact on student learning. And I’m okay if you disagree about using Twitter in the classroom.

But . . . even if you choose to not use Twitter as a teaching tool, sit back and Read more

Happy Holidays!

A Christmas Story
1983

The Old Man
Aaah! “Fra-GEE-leh!” It must be Italian!
Mrs. Parker
Uh, I think that says FRAGILE, honey.
The Old Man
Huh? Oh, yeah.

must-be-italian

Have a great break!

Top Ten Posts of 2016 #9: Jill Weber and historical thinking bootcamp

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


Kansas - Jill Weber

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.


This is a long post, mostly Read more

Tip of the Week: 5 ways to maximize professional learning

Summer is a perfect time to rethink your professional learning goals. We all need to get better at what we do, to hone our craft, to find ways to improve our skills. In a recent interview, business author Tom Peters suggested that one way to “deal with the insane pace of change” is to “learn new things.”

Seems simple enough. But I think too often we approach our jobs without a growth mindset, without being intentional about “learning new things.” We ask our students to learn new skills and content. But because of time, support, or inclination, we don’t always do that ourselves.

So.

What can we do this summer to maximize our own professional learning? Read more

Chrome extensions: 13 you need to be using

It’s been a Googlely kind of week.

Much of what I’ve been doing for the last ten days or so is to have great conversations with teachers learning how to best use a variety of Google tools. The problem, of course, is that there are so many to choose from and so many ways to use them. But we’ve been having fun sharing ideas, lesson plans, and tips.

One of the things we always talk about are ways to take advantage of the Google Chrome browser. I was a heavy Firefox user until about two years ago. I liked Firefox but we switched over bigtime to a Google Apps for Ed environment here at ESSDACK and using the default Google browser just seemed to make more sense.

And like many Firefox users, I loved the ability to integrate add-ons and extensions. When I moved to Chrome, I looked for that same ability to customize my browsing experience. Google and the Chrome Web Store didn’t disappoint.

There a wide variety of free and useful browsers extensions available for the Chrome browser. So if you work in a GAFE school, are thinking about switching to Chrome, or already use Chrome but just aren’t sure what all the fuss is about, read on. Read more

I’m glad you’re here!

You’ll find all sorts of ideas, tools, and best practices in the social studies here at History Tech. So feel free to browse around, subscribe to the feed, or leave a comment. Read more