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Posts tagged ‘gilder lehrman’

Guest Post: Jill Weber and historical thinking bootcamp

Jill Weber gets it. She’s a middle school teacher honing her craft in Cheney, Kansas and she is rocking it.

Finding the balance between foundational content and process. Problems to solve. Evidence to analyze. No obvious answers. Academic discomfort. Groups to work in. Hands on. Physical movement. Obvious passion for the subject.

She’s one of those teachers that I would have wanted for my own kids to have when they were in middle school. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with her for almost six years.

She jumped in feet first to our second Teaching American History project back in 2010 and then transitioned into the ESSDACK social studies PLC. She was awarded the Kansas Council for the Social Studies 2016 secondary mini-grant and is the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year. And she shares a ton of her stuff on A View of the Web.

One of her recent posts caught my eye and asked if I could re-post it here. I love her idea of starting off the school year with a historical thinking bootcamp. She wants her middle schoolers to understand what they’re getting into and spends six days training her kids in the basics of thinking and reading like historians.

This is the sort of thing that I think all good social studies teachers are doing but I like that Jill has been very intentional about planning for this type of learning to happen. And while her focus is on middle school and Kansas / US history, this is stuff that all of us need to be doing.

So use what you can and adapt where needed but put these ideas into practice. Read more

#nche2016: Nathan McAlister and Teaching Literacy through History

I can say that I knew Nathan before he became famous. He and I worked together in our first Teaching American History project. A few years later in 2010, he was selected as the National Gilder Lehrman Teacher of the Year. He was and still is a middle school teacher at Royal Valley Middle School. And just so you know, he’s awesome.

So when I decided to attend this session and found out that Nathan was the presenter, well . . . double bonus.

At its core, the Teaching Literacy through History is an interdisciplinary professional development program that uses primary documents and historical texts to improve K–12 education. GLI wants to come to your school or district to help create lessons and curriculum. Read more

46 free history lessons aligned to Common Core

Free. Aligned to reading, writing, and communicating skills. Written by Gilder Lehrman teachers of the year so you know they’re quality.

What’s not to like?

Gilder Lehrman always has good stuff. If you haven’t already created a free teacher’s account over there, you really need to get on it. The list below is just a sample of the 46 lessons and units you can get on their Teaching Literacy Through History page: Read more

Tip of the Week – Gilder Lehrman Teacher of the Year

I think the Gilder Lehrman folks do a great job of pushing the idea that it is possible, and important, to teach American History well. I especially like the work they are doing to support their annual Gilder Lehrman History Teacher of the Year program.

And it’s not just because last year’s state winner from Kansas, Nathan McAlister from Mayetta, went on to win the honor of National History Teacher of the Year. And it has nothing to do with the fact that he won $11,000 and a whole boatload of teaching materials. Or that Nathan, two of his students and their parents got an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC to accept the award from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. Or that he got a personal tour of the Supreme Court building and a special meeting with Justice O’Connor.

Or even that Nathan brought me back hand-picked souvenirs from DC and his tour.

Really.

I like the History Teacher of the Year program because it gives us a chance to highlight and encourage those people who do a great job of teaching American history. And now I like it even more.

Gilder Lehrman has changed the way that they start the selection process by allowing anyone to nominate teachers for the award. Yeah, I know! Anybody can nominate a great history teacher! Parents, friends, colleagues, supervisors. The retired lady from down the street who volunteers on Tuesday to help make copies. You can all do it. So . . . get on it.

This year, the award focuses on K-6 teachers. (Elementary and secondary teachers alternate years.)

Criteria:

  • A full-time elementary school teacher of grades K-6 who teaches social studies where there is a major focus on American history (including state and local history).
  • At least three years of classroom experience in teaching social studies with a focus on American history.
  • Evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom that addresses literacy and content beyond state standards.
  • Close attention to primary documents, artifacts, historic sites, and other primary materials of history, including oral history.
  • Thoughtful assessment of student achievement and progress.

Nomination Process:

Nominations for the National History Teacher of the Year can be made by a student, parent, colleague, supervisor (including department head, principal, superintendent, curriculum director), or other education professional familiar with the teacher’s work.  State winners receive $1,000 and an archive of books and other resources for their school. Each winner is honored in a ceremony in his or her home state.

To nominate a teacher and learn more about the award, visit www.gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy or contact the Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year coordinator at nhtoy@gilderlehrman.org or 646-366-9666.

You can also contact your own state coordinator or contact me with questions.

The nomination deadline is February 1 so get on it.

(Be sure to forward this on to tons of people. The more great teachers we find, the better!)

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Nathan McAlister is National Teacher of the Year!

Sweet!

Several months ago I bragged on my friend, Nathan McAlister from Royal Valley Middle School, who had just been selected as the state Gilder Lehrman History Teacher of the Year.

And just last week we were informed that Nathan has been selected as the Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year.

He and several of his students will be traveling to Washington DC for the official ceremony in mid-October and Sandra Day O’Connor will present Nathan with his award. Too cool!

Working state representative for passage of student bill

There were many excellent candidates just within Kansas and I know that there are great teachers all over the country. For Nathan to be selected is huge. But he definitely deserves it.

Vickie Wold, a colleague of Nathan, had this to say in her nomination letter:

Nathan has changed what defines history at Royal Valley. Where once reading the chapter and answer the questions was known as history, cannons now fire on the playground, dueling pistols sound in the parking lot, Civil War soldiers’ legs are amputated and the White House burns to the ground north of the football field across from the sod house being built by students.

If you are a parent of one of his students, you might be delivering sod or a covered wagon on your day off. Or you might be coming to the school to help sew costumes for the many reenactments performed by RVMS 7th and 8th grade students.

Mr. McAlister eats, breathes, and sleeps history.  He is truly enthralled by discovering  some new bit of information from the past and helping his students, as well as other staff  members, discover their own new bits of history.


Nathan with students during state congressional hearing

Kansas, and the country, could not have found a better teacher to represent all that is right about history profession. Congratulations, Nathan!

Gilder Lehrman Teacher of the Year

The Gilder Lehrman Institute has always been a big supporter of American History education. They’ve got great online resources and host fantastic week-long free summer seminars for teachers. And for the last few years, they’ve been sponsoring a nationwide program to identify the best history teachers in the country through their Teacher of the Year program.

As the state Gilder Lehrman rep for the program, I get the chance to meet some really incredible teachers who are doing super things in the classroom. The program flips back and forth between honoring elementary and secondary teachers every year. This year, the focus is on secondary teachers.

And I’m proud to introduce Nathan McAlister, middle school teacher from Royal Valley Middle School, as the 2010 Kansas Gilder Lehrman Teacher of the Year.

Vickie Wold, a colleague of Nathan, had this to say in her nomination letter:

Nathan has changed what defines history at Royal Valley. Where once read the chapter and answer the questions was known as history, cannons now fire on the playground, dueling pistols sound in the parking lot, Civil War soldiers’ legs are amputated and the White House burns to the ground north of the football field across from the soddy house being built by students.

If you are a parent of one of his students, you might be delivering sod or a covered wagon on your day off. Or you might be coming to the school to help sew costumes for the many reenactments performed by RVMS 7th and 8th grade students.

Mr. McAlister eats, breathes, and sleeps history.  He is truly enthralled by discovering  some new bit of information from the past and helping his students, as well as other staff  members, discover their own new bits of history.

I’ve had the chance to work with Nathan in a variety of settings over the last few years and have been in his class observing his interaction with students. One of the cool things he and his kids last year was to introduce a bill into the Kansas legislature and see it work its way through the House and Senate.

And though I missed the Civil War leg amputation day, I know that what he does works. Nathan is the kind of teacher that I want my kids to have as their teacher . . . so congrats, Nathan, you’re a great pick for Teacher of the Year!

(Nathan is now eligible for the National Teacher of the Year award which will be announced in the fall. You can view all 50 of the 2010 state History Teachers of the Year on the Gilder Lehrman site.)

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