When I firsted started teaching 8th grade American History, there was no access to primary sources. There weren’t any online archives. DocsTeach? Nope. Stanford History Education Group? Nope. Library of Congress? Nada.
I made due with whatever supplementary materials showed up with my textbook and the few Jackdaw kits that I was able to track down and order. But here’s the thing . . . even if I had somehow gotten access to primary source documents, I’m not sure what I would have done with them. Like most social studies teachers at the time (and more than just a few today), I really didn’t have a clue of how to use primary sources as part of the learning process.
Even worse, I wasn’t really sure why I should be using this sort of evidence. What was the point? Every kid had a textbook. I had a teacher’s version of the textbook. I could lecture. I was set.
But with the help of some amazing mentors, I began moving more towards the idea that kids need to be active users of evidence while solving problems. And there is now a clear shift in social studies and history instruction towards this idea of historical thinking, using evidence, and problem solving. More and more teachers are using primary sources as integral pieces of the learning process.
There has been a cool supply and demand process happening over the last few years. Teachers want and need more primary sources. The internet has made those sources more available and accessible. More availability and accessibility means more teachers are using those sources. More teachers used to this availability of sources demand even more sources.
But there will always be questions about how to best use primary sources. A recent article by Discovery Ed’s Joe Sangillo does a nice job of highlighting five effective integration strategies. I’ve pasted a quick summary of Joe’s thinking but be sure to head over to Discovery Ed to get the full meal deal: Read more
My life pretty much revolves around technology. I just spent 15 minutes helping a colleague set up Messages on her Macbook. My family of four is constantly connected via a text group. (Latest conversation? Dogs during college finals.) I Skype and Google Hangout. I play video games – console and mobile.
I currently have six different types of smart devices within arm’s reach. I travel all over the country helping teachers integrate games and iPads and Chromebooks and web tools and GAFE into their instruction. I’ve got enough SAMR model examples to last for months.
So perhaps the title of today’s post seems a bit out of place.
But a recent article in InformEd has got me thinking. Titled Read more
I need some energy here. Caffeine is wearing off. But Barb Knighton is on fire. Barb is the NCSS 2013 elementary teacher of the year and rocking it. So I should be good.
She will not be sharing lessons but strategies that can be adapted to just about any grade level or content. She’s got six: Read more
Okay. Not an actual air museum. That would have been so incredibly cool but . . . no. Sadly, my classroom was an air museum in the metaphorical sense.
A little background might help here.
I’ve had the opportunity over the last several months to spend time in Liberal, Kansas working with the 7-12 social studies team on the creation of aligned unit curriculum maps. Lots of great conversations about historical thinking skills and big ideas and instructional strategies and well . . . lots of cool social studies stuff.
But until recently, it’s been in and out, one day at a time. Earlier this month? Multiple days back to back. And I know you know what that means. That’s right.
Enough free time for a visit to the Mid-America Air Museum. During World War II, Liberal hosted one of the largest B-24 training bases in the US and rightfully takes great pride in that fact. A museum was started. Planes were donated and according to the propaganda, it’s the largest aviation museum in the state and fifth largest in the country. Over 100 planes on display. And not just any planes. Some very cool planes:
- B-25 Mitchell
- F4 Phantom
- F-4 Tomcat
- Bell Huey helicopter
- F8 Crusader
I love planes. Especially military planes. So I was a bit giddy at the chance to spend some time at the museum.
But I walked away a bit disappointed. Read more