It ranks right up there with the Holiday season, KC Chiefs football, and the first weekend of the college basketball tournament. It’s National Council for the Social Studies conference week. I’m lucky enough to get front row seats and am trying to live blog my way through it.
I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Dan Krutka. While in the Kansas area and now at the University of North Texas, Dan has always been a huge supporter of social studies and integrating tech. And the cool thing is he’s here at #ncss18 talking about how to use picture books to support elementary social studies best practices. Even better? My new friend Dr. Michelle Bauml from Texas Christian University is here as co-presenter.
I’m smarter just being in the same room.
They start with the basics. Why should we be using picture books to help teach social studies?
- emphasis on math and reading so very little for social studies specific instruction
- textbooks are old and boring
- need for teaching introducing historical thinking to kids
- lots of children’s lit already being used as teaching tools
We moved on to a brand new site for me called the Historical Thinking Project. Created by the Canadian government, the project highlight six historical thinking concepts and a ton of resources. The concepts are especially useful because we can use them to help develop essential questions around the content in picture books.
- Establish historical significance
- Use primary source evidence
- Identify continuity and change
- Analyze cause and consequence
- Take historical perspectives, and
- Understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations.
Dan and Michelle simple steps to designing a lesson using the concepts and book content: Read more
I’m trying to crawl my way out of an Interwebs rabbit hole this afternoon. I tumbled in pretty deep while researching an upcoming presentation on teaching controversial topics in the classroom.
And it’s impossible at this point to try and reconstruct the paths I’ve gone down. But basic in a nutshell . . . I got distracted by the huge number of fiction and non-fiction resources that started turning up that seemed perfect for supporting instructional designs focused on conversations on race, immigration, or gender.
So the rabbit hole was not completely unrelated. It’s all still stuff connected to my original topic – though somehow I did end up landing on the FiveThirtyEight polling page and the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium Through My Eyes YouTube video.
I also ran across a few belief statements from New York’s Bank Street College of Education that align perfectly with why teaching controversial issues is so important.
What potentialities in human beings – children, teachers, and ourselves – do we want to see develop?
- . . . gentleness combined with justice in passing judgments on other human beings.
- The courage to work, unafraid and efficiently, in a world of new needs, new problems, and new ideas.
How cool is that? As a big believer in the power of books to connect emotion and content, I love how these statements support the power of fiction and non-fiction in the social studies.
So I figured that I might as well share some of what I found, starting with a few of the books I ran across and then a list of lists. A quick warning, allow yourself some time for browsing – you may be here a while: Read more
Elementary kids freak me out. They’re sticky. They smell funny. And they throw up. All the time. Seriously. All the time. Every day.
My wife teaches elementary kids. She. Is. A. Saint. And she tells me that her kids don’t throw up every day. I want to believe her but I’m not convinced.
The point? I could never teach elementary kids. But somebody needs to teach them social studies skills, concepts, and content. Without a strong social studies foundation in the early grades, it becomes more difficult to build strong historical thinking skills and content knowledge in middle and high school.
So if you teach K-8, or know someone who does, this book is designed just for you: Read more
Long time History Tech readers already know this. Every summer, I make a list of books I plan to read between now and September. Long time History Tech readers also know this. Not once, not ever, a couple of times I came close but never ever, have I actually finished the list.
There’s always been something. I get distracted with a new book that comes out or some event happens that pulls me in a different direction. But some day . . . some day, it’s gonna happen. I’m trying to be realistic this year. Part of me says; yes, this summer it’s gonna happen – you’re going on a long anniversary trip to a tropical beach without the tech. Tons of time for book reading while sipping cool beverages under an umbrella.
The other part of me says; not a chance – as soon as you get home, the World Cup starts and the rest of June and part of July are shot to h, e, double hockey sticks. So we’ll see. (But it does help with the reading goal that the US team apparently forgot how to play the game and didn’t qualify, giving me less reason to watch. Go Iceland.)
The whole idea here got started moons ago when I first started teaching and some very smart people encouraged to not take the summers off. They’re the perfect time for learning, they said. Read a book, they said. Maybe two or more, they said.
So I did. And they were right. We need to keep learning, keep asking questions, keep moving forward. And what better time for that than between now and September? Some summers I start with a specific theme. This year? Not so much. Just a few books that look interesting or fun to read.
Here’s the 2018 list – fingers crossed: Read more
This year may be a little tough. My July is scheduled full of days that I get to spend with social studies teachers around the country. But my hopes are high.
Regular History Tech readers already know this – every summer since I finished my first year as a middle school US history teacher, I’ve put together a summer reading list. Several teachers down the hall had taken me into their inner circle and suggested, very strongly, that I needed to do more during the summer months than life guard and paint houses – that growing professionally over the summer was a non-negotiable. This professional growth might include some sort of face to face professional learning opportunity but it definitely included creating a personal reading list.
Best. Advice. Ever. It’s really more than just a reading list – it’s the idea that teachers need to continually work on honing their craft and a summer reading list is a practical way to make that happen. So . . . I picked some books with content. Some with process. Some for fun. And started the fall semester smarter than when I left in the spring. So have been doing it ever since.
The problem is that I have never, not once, not ever, finished my summer list. And July obligations and an extensive honey-do list makes it unlikely that 2017 is the year I actually cross the finish line.
But I’m still creating the list. Cause . . . you know. It could happen. I could finish. I’m not kidding around this year. Seriously.
There’s no real theme this summer. Just a few books that look interesting and that should make me better at what I do: Read more
During the glory days of the Teaching American History projects, we handed out books like candy. We’d read. Argue. Reflect. Move on to the next. And I’m sure there were some who didn’t enjoy that process as much as I did. I understand that we all learn in different ways but it’s just hard for me to imagine life without books to read and talk about.
Plain and simple truth? You can never have enough books.
Keith Houston in his recent book titled, wait for it . . . The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time, advises readers to Read more