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Posts tagged ‘graphic organizer’

Tip of the Week: Canva – solution to the end of the year blues

As you count down the final days and hours, many of you are having students create final products and assessments. We often ask kids to create these end of year projects in textual form. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Writing is proof of thinking. But there are are other types of assessments that can also measure levels of thinking that we sometimes forget about, ignore, or just don’t know about.

The Instructional Arc of the National Council for the Social Studies and my own C4 Framework ask kids to solve problems and communicate solutions. Both are based on the national and state literacy standards that ask students share research and solutions in a variety of ways:

  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • Present adaptations of arguments and explanations on topics of interest to others to reach audiences and venues outside the classroom using print and oral technologies (e.g., posters, essays, letters, debates, speeches, reports, and maps) and digital technologies (e.g., Internet, social media, and digital documentary).

The problem seems to almost always revolve around finding and using a tool that free, easy to use, and that supports the Instructional Arc and literacy standards. One possible answer? Read more

Tip of the Week: PEEL graphic organizer

We want them to be able to make an argument using evidence, logic, and reasoning. And we want them to be able to do this in a variety of ways. But it’s difficult to create any sort of argument without some sort of written version first. So having our kids write is always a good idea. The problem? Sometimes our students just need something simple to get them started.

I recently ran across a pretty basic graphic organizer that has apparently been around for a while but because I’ve been so busy with the whole Wichita State beating University of Kansas then losing to Notre Dame basketball thing, I somehow missed it. If you’ve heard of it, feel free to head back to your bracket. If it’s as new to you as it is to me, hang around.

Called PEEL, the organizer is an easy to use tool that provides your students Read more

Tip of the Week: Sourcing Overlay Strategy

First things first. If you haven’t hung out at Russell Tarr’s Toolbox, you need to head over there when we’re finished here. Russell has been creating and sharing cool tools for social studies teachers forever and it’s all incredibly handy stuff. (You might have run across Russell’s ideas before on his Active History or ClassTools.net sites.)

About a month ago, I was on his site and ran across something that I thought was very cool. I’d been searching for ideas on how to help elementary kids source evidence. You know – author, date created, audience, intent, the sort of questions that are the foundation of historical thinking.

My goto strategy has been one shared by the Library of Congress that helps kids all the way down to kindergarten start the process of historical thinking – by training them to ask questions about primary sources. The LOC example focuses on the idea of Read more

Holiday Goodie Rerun V: Cubing

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read some of the top posts of 2014. I may decide to jump in with something current but if I don’t, enjoy this Holiday Goodie rerun.

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Cubing is a technique used by teachers around the country. It can help prepare students for reading or writing activities by having them think about a specific topic on six levels of cognition. It can also be used to focus on building vocabulary.

Cubing can be done on an individual level or as an entire class. Students use a six-sided cube to help them organize and record their thinking.

Steps for Cubing: Read more

Holiday Goodie Rerun I: Thought bubbles on photos

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read some of the top posts of 2014. I may decide to jump in with something current but if I don’t, enjoy this Holiday Goodie rerun.

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Several of us were talking a few days ago about different ways to design hook activities that would engage kids while also encourage writing skills.

My favorite is to use thought bubbles on paintings or photos. Thought Bubbles ask kids to imagine what the people in the image are thinking.

Start by finding a photo or painting depicting an event, idea or group of people that helps introduce your content. I used the famous Emmanuel Leutze painting of Washington crossing the Delaware as my starting point.

Read more

Symbols, symbolism, and a sweet T-Chart

Just a quick post today about a very powerful strategy that’s pretty easy to integrate into your instruction. I had the privilege of sitting in on Scott’s 7th grade classroom last week when he used this activity with his kids.

Scott and his kids had just started a unit on territorial Kansas and he wanted students to get a sense of the tension that was building at the time around the issue of slavery.

His school is in the Topeka area and all of students have been to the state capital. And all of them, whether they remembered or not, have seen the massive John Steuart Curry mural of John Brown. At 11.5 feet tall and 31 feet wide, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the painting and Scott really wanted his kids to spend some quality time analyzing the content in the mural. Read more

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