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#nche2016: Elementary history instruction and why we should care

Second session here at #nche2016.

Taking Back Elementary Education: Advocating for History to Improve Reading Comprehension by David Klemm. Great topic. Something we need to be talking about. But remember folks that it’s still just 8:00 in the am.

Basic idea is that reading in context is huge. He started by sharing an excerpt about baseball as an example. Read more

Up with the birds (and Elliott West) at #nche2016

Dang. These NCHE folks are serious.

It’s 6:45 – that’s am – and we’re already deep into it. I love the histories but a 7:00 start? But if there’s anyone I would roll out for at 7:00 am, it would be Elliott West. I love this guy. History stud.

The Contested Plains. The Essential West. The Last Indian War.

So I am as pumped as I can be this early in the morning. He starts off by addressing the audience as “we hardy few.” So true.

And continues with a question: Read more

Using Graphite: App smashing in the social studies classroom

If you’re not spending time on the Graphite web site, uh . . .  what are you doing instead? Because I’m gonna suggest that you’ve got a problem with your priorities.

Looking for a handy site that helps you locate useful apps, games, and websites that also provides ratings and reviews? That also includes teacher feedback? That has awesome search and sorting functions? That organizes all of its goodies by Common Core – giving you the chance to find activities aligned to ELA literacy standards for history?

What you’re looking for is Graphite

. . . a free service from nonprofit Common Sense Education designed to help preK-12 educators discover, use, and share the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their students by providing unbiased, rigorous ratings and practical insights from our active community of teachers.

Their team of professional educators – early childhood development experts, doctorates in education, and teachers with hands-on classroom experience – rates each website, game, and app on Graphite based on their detailed rubric. Every product on Graphite is rigorously reviewed to dig deeper into what and how your students will learn with it.

Start with the basics. Head straight 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

Library of Congress online conference archives

Last fall, the Library of Congress hosted its first online conference. Education experts and subject matter specialists presented 15 different sessions discussing resources and teaching strategies for using primary sources in the classroom.

And it was awesome. But I have to admit . . .  I didn’t actually attend the thing. I didn’t have time during the actual day to sit through the different webinars. So I missed it.

But it was still awesome.

Because the LOC posted all of the webinars online. Meaning I could pick and choose, listening to the presentations when I had time. And I’ve slowly worked my way through them. The cool thing is that you as well. If you missed the conference or perhaps hadn’t even heard about the goodness that was the first ever LOC online conference, it’s not too late. Read more

Tip of the Week: Assessing historical thinking made easy

Several years ago, I had the chance to be part of a learning community facilitated by Bruce Lesh. At the time, Bruce was teaching high school in Maryland and traveled to Kansas for a week as part of our Century of Progress TAH grant.

He shared a ton of great stuff including his idea of History Labs and the process of historical thinking. Like many of us, part of his social studies world view included ideas from Sam Wineburg. Wineburg uses the semantics of sourcing, contextualizing, and corroborating. He also talks quite a bit about kids working to “read between the lines” as part of that analysis process.

Bruce altered that language a bit and used the words text, context, and subtext to describe student thinking skills. The basic idea is the same but I like the alliteration / re-use of the word “text” and how that can help kids remember what their task is when making sense of evidence. Since then, teachers in the group have continued to use his vocabulary.

Many of the TAH project participants continue to meet four times a year to share ideas and hone their skills. Yesterday was day four of the year and among other things, we celebrated the birthday of Thomas Jefferson and hosted a historical political campaign t-shirt design contest. Read more

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