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Posts tagged ‘historical thinking’

History Nerdfest 2017: Using SHEG templates to create your own historical thinking lessons

We all love the Stanford History Education Group. Great lessons. Aligned assessments. Perfect balance between process and content. Focus on historical thinking skills. And just this week, a rebranding of the site and the addition of civic literacy tools.

But what happens if you can’t find what you need for your content in their list of 132 US and world history lessons? Go back to the lecture?

Nope. I’ve been preaching for years that we should be using the structure and process of those 132 lessons to create our own. Extra work? Sure. But if you follow the SHEG model, you know that what your kids are going to get is good for them.

But it can be daunting. What are the steps? What should go where? How should I create the questions? What documents to use?

Some of those questions were answered Saturday when Read more

Using the TPS Teachers Network album feature to make your kids smarter

Most of you are already aware of the vast amount of resources, lesson plans, and teaching materials available at the Library of Congress. You can spend hours and hours browsing through their Teacher page with its standards aligned lessonsprofessional development tools, and their primary source sets. Or on their blog designed for teachers.

Or their 15 other blogs, their ten Twitter accounts, seven Facebook accounts, and other social media tools. Or Today in History. Maybe their interactive digital iBooks. And if you get really lost, you can always just Ask a Librarian.

You get the idea. They have tons of stuff.

But you knew that already. But . . . what do you know about the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources program? The TPS program is designed to “deliver professional development programs that help teachers use the Library of Congress’s rich reservoir of digitized primary source materials to design challenging, high-quality instruction.”  It does this by funding all sorts of projects around the country through three regional offices that help train teachers and students in the use of LOC resources.

(So . . . side note. You’re looking for some loose change to provide professional development in your district? This would be the place to go. Seriously. As in . . . your district or organizations needs a few or more thousands of dollars to help teachers integrate historical thinking skills into their classrooms using primary sources kind of seriously.)

One of the programs created by the Western TPS regional office is a cool little something called the TPS Teachers Network. Think Facebook, Pinterest, and an modern email listserv all rolled into one and you get the idea of what they’ve got going on. It provides a way for you to connect with other social studies and history teachers to talk, share, and basically just nerd out about social studies stuff.

Joining the TPS Teachers Network is as simple as pie. And once you’re in, check out these handy Getting Started tips.

At its most basic, the TPS Teachers Network provides an opportunity to join groups discussing a variety of topics such as teaching English Language Learners, using videos in the classroom, the student as historian, and supporting literacy through the use of primary sources.

But my new favorite tool on the Network is Read more

What does a great historical inquiry question look like?

Just finished a great two days with Rich Cairn from the Collaborative for Educational Services. Together with a small group of middle and high school teachers, we spent the time working to figure out effective ways to engage English Language Learners with social studies inquiry methods. Rich is in charge of Emerging America, a Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources project.

Part of what he does is to help teachers across Massachusetts – and now Kansas – use Library of Congress resources to make inquiry learning accessible to all learners. During our time together, we addressed a wide variety of topics – challenges faced by English Language Learners, challenges faced by teachers of EL students, ways to use graphic organizers to support language acquisition, using the LOC website, researching the history of immigration policies and court cases, and generally have an awesome time.

A small part of our conversation focused on the use of essential and compelling questions. Here in Kansas, we’ve been pushing compelling questions for a while. They play an important part in our current standards and are the key to a great inquiry-based lesson.

Question. Evidence. Solution. Communicate the solution. It all starts with a great problem to solve.

And during our conversation Rich shared a sweet definition of what a great historical inquiry-based question should look like in that process. He was happy to share it.

So . . . if you’re looking for a list of characteristics of what a compelling / essential / overarching / inquiry-based question should look like, here ya go: Read more

Tip of the Week: Edji and 5+ ways emjois can improve historical thinking skills

No, I didn’t see it.

So I can’t say with 100% certainty that The Emjoi Movie was as terrible as the critics say it was. But apparently  . . . it really was terrible. Not even Patrick Stewart and Sofía Vergara could save it.

But . . . wait for it.

Using emojis as part of your instructional design can help improve student thinking and literacy skills.

I know. I know. You’re thinking that using little graphic images instead of text is no way to teach historical thinking and literacy. And you’d be right. But what if we used little graphic images, great guiding questions, proven historical thinking strategies together with reading and writing activities?

Now I think we’ve got something.

You can get an idea of the potential by taking a look at how Omaha middle school teacher Lance Mosier used emojis to help kids understand what life was like for soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Read more

Primary sources, personal stories, and thank you Internet

It’s always fun having my kids around during the summer. We chat about books, take short trips, discuss politics, argue about gardening techniques, and they make fun of my love for the Kansas City Royals.

The youngest one heads back to school in Minnesota in a few weeks. She’s been busy this summer selling snow cones and working in the local library. And . . . wait for it . . .

. . . she’s also spent two days a week as an National Archives unpaid intern at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene. How cool is that? The other day, she got the one on one backstage pass tour of stored artifacts. She knows I love the golf so she made sure to share how, among other things, she held Dwight’s Augusta National member’s green jacket. And his favorite golf hat.

You know. Just rubbing my nose in it.

But she’s also come home excited about Read more

It puts kids to sleep. And just so ya know . . . that’s a bad thing. (Plus 18 ways to make it better)

Shocker. Lecturing to students puts them to sleep.

Who could have guessed?

Well . . . I should have. But I didn’t. During my first few years as a middle school teacher and later, during some time I spent teaching in a college social science department, I lectured.

A lot.

Early on, I didn’t know better. I was taught that way in both K-12 and in my college content courses. There were no real alternatives provided in my ed classes. And I started teaching long before established mentor programs. It was just the way things were done.

By the time I had moved on to higher ed, I had figured out – with some occasional PD and lots of help from some great educators – that there are other alternatives to constant direct instruction. But I was subtly and then very overtly encouraged to lecture rather than use some of the methods that I knew worked because “you’re not teaching middle school anymore.”

Those memories came flooding back recently while I was reading an older article focused on higher ed teaching titled 20 Terrible Reasons for Lecturing. Several of the reasons listed are almost word for word to what I heard: Read more