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Posts tagged ‘common core’

Elementary writing prompts aligned to the Common Core

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. As a long suffering Kansas City Royals fan, it was frustrating watching them yesterday as they lost Game 5 of the ALCS. Seriously. One run? Come on, boys.

But that disappointment was balanced out by an incredibly powerful learning opportunity – spending the day with a group of educators in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program. One of the cool parts of the day was chatting with Mara Grujanac, director of the Barat Educational Foundation

If you haven’t spent at least a few hours at the TPS-Barat blog site, you’re missing out. They’ve got some amazing resources designed specifically to support historical thinking. Using funds and support from the Library of Congress, the Barat Educational Foundation created a site focused on the effective use of primary sources in the classroom. Titled TPS-Barat Primary Source Nexus, the site has themed sets of primary sources, teaching strategies, online and face to face professional development, and tech integration tips.

Seriously. Be prepared to spend some time there. Plus you know it’s all good cause the LOC is involved.

And my conversation with Mara uncovered a specific piece of goodness that seems like a no-brainer. Read more

College, Career and Civic Life standards webinars

Okay. Let’s be honest. Sitting through most live webinars is almost never a good time. Usually stuff you might find somewhere else. Simple talking heads. Poor production quality. Sitting through an archived webinar is only marginally better – for no other reason than you can fast forward through it.

But . . . there are some that are useful and practical – even if some of those other things are present. The NCSS C3 Framework webinar series is one of those.

The College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards was developed to serve two audiences: for states to upgrade their state social studies standards and for practitioners — local school districts, schools, teachers and curriculum writers — to strengthen their social studies programs.

The objectives of the Framework are to: Read more

7 strategies that support historical thinking with grade school kids

As we continue to talk about ways to integrate literacy skills and social studies content, I often get the chance to chat with elementary teachers about the process. It’s always an interesting conversation and always seems to include some sort of comment that questions the ability of grade school students to think historically.

It’s not that K-5 teachers think historical thinking can’t happen. They’re just not sure what it can look like. So if you have questions or know someone who might have questions about what historical thinking looks like at the grade school level, we’ve got you covered.

(And you secondary folks? Don’t be afraid to browse through the list. There’s a lot of crossover.)

Read more

Tip of the Week: 3 tech tool types that support distraction free literacy

It used to be called “writing across the curriculum.” Years ago, in Derby Middle School,  I remember WAC being the latest educational buzzword. And it was a good idea. Literacy – reading, writing, communicating – is something that should be happening in all the content areas. But for a lot of reasons, WAC theory and actual practice never seem to align.

Of course, good teachers have been integrating literacy skills into their instruction both before and after WAC. That practice is now encouraged and supported with the latest trend – literacy standards embedded as part of historical thinking and social studies best practice.

It’s still a good idea.

Our students should be reading, writing, and communicating in the specific social studies disciplines. And I know you’re having kids do it. But finding the right tools to support literacy can be difficult. Using paper and pencil is always available . . . though without options for easy collaboration, editing, and sharing. Google Drive provides options for that sort of stuff but it’s still not available in some districts.

And even if it is available, using Drive and other online writing tools are not always the ideal writing environment. It’s easy to get distracted – Look! A squirrel / Facebook / Flipboard / Social Media / Texts – and lose focus. We know that these distractions make it more difficult to come back to the writing process. And even if we are able to resist the blackhole of YouTube Grumpy Cat videos, we can get distracted by the bells and whistles of word processors, focusing so much on format and editing and process that we have difficulty getting words out.

So today? Some tools to help you and students stay focused on the task of writing. Read more

Literature, geography, and epic road trips

We’re putting the finishing touches on this year’s Kansas state social studies conference. Titled A Capitol Idea: Integrating History and ELA, the conference will focus on ways to support both social studies and language arts folks. We know that this sort of integration is critical to developing the skills our kids need to be successful.

(So . . . shameless propaganda. If you’re anywhere near the Kansas capitol building on November 2, you need to plan on being part of the conversation. And by near, I’m talking five or six hour driving distance. Seriously. It’s gonna be awesome.)

But our planning and discussion about combining literacy skills and historical thinking jogged my memory. I knew Pocketed an article about a month or so ago that highlighted American road trips using some sort of map. A quick search of my Pocket later and yup, there it was.

The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature’s Most Epic Road TripsRead more

Tip of the Week: It’s official. Zoom In just went live.

It’s official. Zoom In just went live. And you and your kids so need this.

I know that I’ve mentioned Zoom In before. But a year ago, the tool was still in beta. The signup process was a bit clunky and the lessons were still in development. So I was incredibly excited to find out that last month, Zoom In is officially official. The site has been remodeled, signup is a snap, and all 18 lessons are ready to go.

If you missed my earlier excitement about Zoom In, here’s a brief recap. Zoom In is a free, web-based platform that helps students build literacy and historical thinking skills through “deep dives” into primary and secondary sources.

Zoom In’s online learning environment features 18 content-rich U.S. history units that supplement your regular instruction and help you use technology to support students’ mastery of both content and skills required by the most recent state and national social studies standards: Read more


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