Many of you are already aware of the Stanford History Education Group’s fantastic resources called Reading Like a Historian and Beyond the Bubble. If you’re not, you need to be.
Using his own ideas and research on what historical thinking looks like, Sam Wineburg and his staff created some incredibly useful lessons and assessments and started giving them away for free. Good stuff.
Each lesson starts with a compelling question, provides primary evidence, and asks students to use historical thinking skills to solve the problem. This sort of work is exactly what our state standards and what the National Council for the Social Studies encourages.
As more teachers are using the tools, one thing they’re asking is how the SHEG lessons and assessments fit into specific grade levels and Common Core literacy levels.
And now thanks to the Los Angeles school district, your wish has come true. Read more
I had the chance last week to spend a very fun afternoon with an energetic group of elementary teachers. I always enjoy chatting with K-6 folks. (I just don’t know how they get up every morning and keep going back. Because, seriously . . . grade school kids freak me out. They smell funny, they always seem to be sticky for some reason, and they throw up at the most awkward moments. So God bless anyone willing to spend all day, every day with anybody under the age of 12.) Part of our conversation centered around planning different units in a year long scope and sequence at various grade levels. And some of the discussion revolved around possible essential / compelling questions that might anchor each of those units. I don’t get the chance to have these kinds of discussions with K-6 people much – when I do, it’s always a good time. Once they start rolling, it’s hard to get them to slow down. We started with the basics:
What does a good compelling question look like?
And quickly moved on to the one that they really wanted to know:
Where can we find some already created?
Just a reminder. This is not just K-6. Compelling questions are something all of us need to be incorporating into unit and lesson designs. So . . . what do they look like? A great place to start is with the College, Career, and Civic Life document from the National Council for the Social Studies. The document does a great job of articulating the importance of a robust compelling question: Read more
Need a place to connect past with present? Need writing prompts? Need hundreds of articles about current events in an easy to access place? Need articles with leveled reading? Need a searchable databases that filter by keyword, grade level, Common Core reading anchors, and articles with machine scored quizzes?
If your answer to even one of those questions is yes, then I’ve got a list of tools just for you. All of them are web-based tools that use current events and contemporary topics to engage kids and all provide the chance for you to to encourage the development of skills required by the ELA literacy standards for History / Government. While at the same aligning to state standards that ask us to connect the past with contemporary events.
So why should we worry about current events? The simple reason is that connecting past and present is good for student retention and encourages critical thinking skills. Not to mention our state standards are asking kids to connect past choices, rights, responsibilities, ideas, beliefs, and relationships to “contemporary events.”
So today you get a few online tools and some helpful strategies that focus on current events: Read more
I waded into the shallow end of the Google Apps / GAFE / Chromebook pool last summer. In November, I dove off the high board as my office went all Google – mail, calendar, documents, the works.
I’ve been using Google Docs forever so it’s not like the stuff is completely foreign to me. But going all in . . . with all my stuff, emails, contacts, online? Yeah, there was an adjustment period.
But after a few months, I really am falling in love with the syncing of info and materials between all my different devices. I’ve also had a chance to start playing around with all of the different Google tools buried in my account.
My latest favorite? Google Keep. Basically Keep is Google’s version of
I’m in the beautiful state of Missouri at the 2015 METC in St. Charles. The #METC15 folks do a great job of creating a very positive learning environment centered around the idea of technology integration. So a good time for me to share some ideas and gather new stuff from others.
(I’ll be live blogging here throughout the day so be sure to refresh for most recent version.) Read more
I always enjoy the annual social studies nerd fest that is the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference. I learn a ton and I love the sessions. But it’s the chance to meet all kinds of people that I enjoy the most.
It seems like I’m always bumping into someone I know or someone who knows someone I know. Or . . . well, if you’ve had the chance to attend you understand. The people make the conference.
And it was in St. Louis in 2013 that I got the chance to meet some folks from the Center for Children and Technology, a division of the Education Development Center. The CCT people were there talking about a new online tool called Zoom In! and I happened past their booth in the vendor area.
My first impression?
Two words. Game changer.
Seriously. If you’re a middle or high school US history teacher, this is something that you need to try. I’m not kidding. Read more