As the social studies and history disciplines move more to a “doing” model that focuses on developing thinking skills, it becomes even more important to incorporate different sorts of evidence into instruction. But sometimes in the rush to use a variety of evidence, we can get too caught up in the “all primary sources, all the time” school of thought.
Yes. We need to use primary sources as part of the process. But we don’t always think it through completely. We add primary sources without any conversation about how or why we should. How many primary sources? Which ones? Why not these? How do we balance perspectives? Should we balance perspective? Should we modify the documents? Why and how should we modify them?
In the October History Matters newsletter from the NCHE, Lee Eysturlid does a nice job of addressing these sorts of questions in his article title The Top 10 Considerations When Using Primary Sources with Grades 8-12.
I’ve summarized his ideas here but you need to head over there to get the full effect. Read more
Yup. Print out a YouTube video. Holy sweet Googly tech trick, Batman!
When you are watching any video on the YouTube website, the storyboard (the images that appear just above the play bar when slide your cursor along it) for that video is automatically downloaded in the background. The Print YouTube tool stitches all of those storyboard image frames into one large poster that you can then download as a PDF or print out.
To get started, you drag the Print YouTube bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar. Then open any video on YouTube, click the bookmarklet link, and the storyboard images are instantly generated. These storyboards offer a visual summary of videos and you can generate them for short videos as well as full-length movies.
But mmm . . . this seems like a perfect example of the question we should be asking every time we find out about a new tech tool: Read more
For the last few years, I’ve come to depend on my kids to keep me up to date on the latest pop culture stuff. Jake shares his favorite music and books. Erin makes sure I’m connected with fads such as the Hunger Games phenomenon and art trends.
The most recent update from my kids? The Hamilton musical.
If you don’t have my kids around to help you keep up with all of the latest happenings, here’s a one-sentence heads up. It’s a Broadway musical that follows Alexander Hamilton from the time he leaves the Caribbean to his death in that duel with Aaron Burr.
And, yes, I can hear you thinking all the way over here.
Broadway musical? Really? How is that gonna help me teach American history?
First, we should always Read more
The last day of any conference is always a bit bittersweet. You’ve had a great time. You’ve learned a lot. But, man, Sunday mornings are rough and a large piece of my brain is suggesting -loudly – that I should have stayed in bed.
Yeah, I know. #firstworldproblems.
But this session looks like it’s right in my wheelhouse. If using Google apps and tools to teach social studies doesn’t wake me up, then I’m in the wrong job.
We start by agreeing that Google is a great entry point for using lots of tools that helps students do social studies. Why should we be using Google?
- supports the reading of non-fiction and content texts
- encourages deciphering primary sources
- applying social studies concepts
- it’s more fun
They suggested buying their own website domain for using with kids. In fact, they suggest having two – a public one and private one for the teaching and learning. They can be connected but the private domain allows for specific filtering and controlling access. There was some discussion about why a separate private domain for individual classes adds value past what a district or school wide GAFE account might add.
They’re a Chromebook school so the Chrome Browser is already built into those laptops. But if you’re not using Chromebooks, using the Chrome Browser is still probably your best option if you plan on using tons of Googly things. Read more
If you aren’t familiar with Bruce Lesh, author of the very sweet book titled Why Won’t You Just Tell Us the Answer?, then . . . well, you need to be. The book highlights his experience as a classroom teacher struggling to find ways to get his kids to think historically. More importantly, how best to measure that type of thinking. His stuff is just incredibly practical and useful right away.
So I’m pumped to hear him share some ideas about quick, easy to use, writing assessments to gauge student thinking. Bruce started the session with an audio clip of a Scantron machine scoring multiple choice answer sheets. The more noise it makes, the “worse” teacher you are. Because that means students were missing lots of multiple choice questions. Like many teachers, he used to use that type of test to measure learning.
But at the same time that he was using MC and other traditional types of assessment, he was changing the way he designed his instruction to focus more on the processes of the discipline, on having kids think historically. Bruce continued by suggesting that quality instruction measured by poor assessment does more harm than good. We need to focus on both powerful learning activities with appropriately aligned assessments.
He’s preaching to the choir.
To set the stage for his Quick Write assessment idea, Bruce shared a bit about what he calls his History Lab idea. A History Lab has the following characteristics: Read more