If you’re a teacher in a Google Apps for Education school and you’re not using Google Classroom, just a quick suggestion.
You need to be.
Especially if your students have a lot of online access with carts or in a 1-to-1 setting. I know that there are similar tools out there already but because Classroom integrates all of the Google tools so easily it’s a no-brainer for just about any face to face, flipped, or blended class.
(Need a little support getting started? Head over to Social Studies Central and browse through some suggestions and support articles.)
And this week, Google Classroom just got more awesomer. So there’s not a lot of reasons left for not using it.
Google gave Classroom a quick visual makeover with a new simplified design for creating and posting assignments, announcements, and questions and for viewing assignment details. The design encourages quick and easy access for teachers and students.
And it’s more than a simple visual change. Based on teacher requests, Google has made some pretty sweet updates.
Several months ago, I was in beautiful Fremont, Washington, a community north of downtown Seattle. My son had just graduated from Seattle Pacific and we had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring the metro area. We had already done all of the typical Seattle touristy things – Pike’s Market, Space Needle, the icky wall of chewing gum.
While looking for lesser known attractions, Jake suggested Fremont. Every Sunday, Fremont hosts a huge flea market / delicious food truck / arts and crafts extravaganza that attracts thousands. I went for the food and stayed for the old books and super cool old maps.
While browsing through one particular booth looking for artistic inspiration, my daughter ran across a box full of old photographs. No names. No dates. So we practiced our primary document sourcing skills, deducing that they must have been taken in the late 1940s / early 1950s by American soldiers and their families. Scenes of the Eiffel Tower, festivals complete with lederhosen, and celebrations with uniformed Americans were prominent.
Erin selected a pile of the most interesting images – picking quite a few that seemed to be from the same camera roll and photographer.
Okay. Your daughter found some old photos. And . . . so what?
It took me a while to figure out the so what. The so what started to develop when she became intrigued with several of the images, particularly with one that showed what seemed to be a Gothic cathedral. Read more
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
Nope. Not a baseball cap. Not a visor. Not a bowler, beanie, beret, or bucket hat.
As in History Assessments of Thinking.
I know you’ve been over to both of the Stanford History Education Group’s sites – Reading Like a Historian as well as their Beyond the Bubble page. Both are incredibly powerful examples of what instruction and assessment can look like when we focus on historical thinking processes rather than just foundational knowledge.
At Reading Like a Historian, you can find lessons in both US and World history that support the use of evidence and literacy skills. Beyond the Bubble has a whole series of short, easy to deliver, and easy to measure assessments of historical thinking.
History Assessments of Thinking.
It’s okay if you’ve been using them without knowing what they were actually called. Cause they’re still awesome. But they’re arranged by the historical thinking skill they measure – Sourcing, Contextualization, Corroboration, Use of Evidence, and Background Knowledge, And so because they’re organized by skill rather than chronologically, it can be difficult to find just the right HAT that fits your instructional needs.
Until now. Read more
Karen Ogen gets the credit for creating an easy to use, visually appealing list of interactive sites aligned by content area. Larry Felazzo gets the credit for sharing Karen’s work. You get the credit for using the list with your kids.
Head over to Larry’s site to get Karen’s link and be sure check out some of Larry’s other interactive site links.
Still not enough? Try some of these: Read more