Skip to content

I’m smarter now.

No real theme here today at all. Other than I’ve been reading this stuff. And, yup, I’m smarter now than I was before.

 

A History Teaching Toolbox: Your next must read

Part of what I get to do is spend time browsing the Interwebs finding tools and resources that would be useful for history and social studies teachers. Sometimes I find new stuff like the very cool Smithsonian Learning Labs and sometimes I just keep going back to the classics.

Russel Tarr is one of the classics. His Active History site (along with his ClassTools and Tarr’s Toolbox) always has some new strategy or tool that I haven’t seen and it’s always something useful. I’m really not sure how he finds time to actually teach but he’s been doing this for almost twenty years.

He has a degree in Modern World History from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University and is currently Head of History at the International School of Toulouse, France. On his free time, he delivers training courses to history teachers in the UK and Europe, writes regularly for the national and international press on historical and educational issues, and is a prominent figure in the educational community on Twitter – where he is one the most followed history teachers in the world.

All of this to say that he knows what he’s talking about. And it just got better. Tarr recently published a book titled A History Teaching Toolbox: Practical Classroom Strategies.

It’s the perfect resource for busy classroom teachers looking for some new strategies with their students. You’re going to find more than 60 tried and tested activities and approaches organized into helpful categories and explained with step-by-step instructions and topic-specific examples to illustrate how they can be used immediately. A History Teaching Toolbox is written for both new and experienced teachers who want to engage their students in high level thinking and problem-based learning activities.

I ordered a copy last week and I’ve been browsing through it this afternoon. It truly is the type of resource that provides activities and suggestions that any 6-12 social studies teacher could implement tomorrow. It would also be a great book for PLCs and history departments – go through a chapter together, try out a few of the ideas, and come back together to tweak and adapt. I’ve posted a few table of content pics below to give you an idea of the scope Tarr covers in A History Teaching Toolbox.

tarr-toc1

tarr-toc2

So you’re gonna want to spend some time at his websites but then head over to Amazon for the old school print. Both totally worth your time.

Tip of the Week: 10 Primary Source Integration Ideas from the Library of Congress (Part Deux)

Three years ago, Mary J. Johnson, an educational consultant to the Library of Congress, created a two part article on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog highlighting primary source integration strategies. The first post of the two-part series offered ten suggestions for filling your room with engaging primary sources. I’ve adapted her second post highlighting ways that primary sources promote systematic critical thinking and posted it below. These are starting points for you to adapt for your own grade level and content area.

The point? That the Library of Congress needs to be one of your go-tos, must use, constant companion tool of choice.

(And when you’re done here, be sure to head over and bookmark the excellent LOC blog Teaching with the Library of Congress.) Read more

Missing your Zaption? Try EdPuzzle

You may have already made the switch. If you have, quietly move along. You’re probably happy with EdPuzzle and there’s nothing to see here.

That leaves two kinds of people. Those of you still be looking for that perfect Zaption replacement. And those of you who never went down the Zaption road at all and have no idea what we’re talking about.

Quick recap:

At its most basic level, Zaption was a way for you to take a video clip from a variety of sources including YouTube, Vimeo clip, Khan Academy, and other educational video outlets and add interactive elements such as multiple choice questions, open response boxes, text, images, and drawings. Students responded to the elements you embedded. You tracked their responses using Zaption’s analytics feature. Everybody was happy.

You should have noticed the past verb tense going on. Zaption was a great tool for annotating videos and embedding formative / summative assessments tools into video clips. It was a great example of a push / pull edtech tool – giving teachers a way to push content and assessment out to students and a way for teachers to pull in work back from students.

But Zaption no longer exists, having sold out to something called Workday. No idea what Workday does but what it means for Zaption users is that a very cool tool won’t be available after September 30.

So.

If you’re a Zaption user who hasn’t found a Zaption replacement, I got you covered. And if you never used Zaption but the idea of integrating a very cool push / pull video annotation tool sounds like something you want to take out for a test drive, I’ve got you covered too. Read more

Good old Ben, Constitution Day 2016, and 17 teaching resources

It’s that time of year again. Constitution Day 2016. And I just haven’t gotten around to updating my C-Day list of resources. But I still feel pretty comfortable with my current list. So I hope you don’t mind but I’m recycling an old post that highlights some of my favorites:

———–

You know the story. A group of guys from different parts of the country with different ideas of how to govern got together and came up with a pretty amazing document. And we all have our favorite Founding Fathers. My fav?

Ben Franklin.

He’s kind of like the sleeper pick in your fantasy football league – everyone knows he’s out there but they ignore him because all the focus is on Jefferson or Madison or one of the other first rounders. But you draft him anyway cause you know he’s got the skills.

Ben was smart, irreverent, great with people, well-read, the ladies loved him, he had that whole kite / electricity / scientist thing working, and was by far the best part of 1776 and John Adams. What’s not to love?

And so it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign: Read more

Statistics as evidence: Using US Census data to support historical thinking

It’s becoming easier and easier to find primary source evidence online. And while many of you are stopping in at places like Google Public Data and GapMinder, it can still be difficult to find digital sources that specifically target the use of data and statistics. So most social studies teachers probably don’t integrate as many of those types of evidence as they should.

So it was great hearing today about the newly updated Statistics in Schools program for K-12 teachers and students from the US Census Bureau. Using current and historical data, the Census Bureau provides teachers the tools to help students understand statistical concepts and improve their data analysis skills. The program offers free online activities and other resources in geographyhistory, and sociology.

Over the past two years, Read more