As we continue to talk about ways to integrate literacy skills and social studies content, I often get the chance to chat with elementary teachers about the process. It’s always an interesting conversation and always seems to include some sort of comment that questions the ability of grade school students to think historically.
It’s not that K-5 teachers think historical thinking can’t happen. They’re just not sure what it can look like. So if you have questions or know someone who might have questions about what historical thinking looks like at the grade school level, we’ve got you covered.
(And you secondary folks? Don’t be afraid to browse through the list. There’s a lot of crossover.)
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
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
We have two very simple unbendable, unbreakable rules in our house. No Christmas music allowed before Thanksgiving. No talking about school before August.
It’s August. So . . . we’re talking about school.
If you’re not already at school, you’re heading there soon.
You probably already knew that. And you probably already have some idea of what you and your students will be doing during the first few days of school. But it’s always nice to have a few extra tips and tricks in your bookbag to start off the school year.
So today? The sixth annual Back to School Ideas in a Social Studies Classroom post. Use what you can. Adapt what you can’t. Add your own ideas in the comments.
What not to do
Before we get to the good stuff it’s probably a good idea to think about what doesn’t work. Read more
Is there a better way to start the week than by spending all day talking and learning about more effective ways to do social studies? You’re right. There isn’t. I had the sweet chance to spend yesterday with a small group of social studies teachers as we discussed ways to use five under-appreciated Google tools to teach social studies.
Most of us are familiar with the typical Google tools: Search, Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms. Been there. Done that. But there are lots of other very cool tools that often slide in under the radar that we need to be using. And I’m convinced that the following Google goodies will make your life easier and your students smarter. Read more
What could you do with one million minutes of historical YouTube video clips? If I’ve done my arithmetics correctly, that’s almost 7000 days or just over 19 years worth of video goodness. What could you do with that many video clips?
Deliver a base of foundational knowledge. Hook students into content. Develop writing prompts. Supplement instructional. Create a playlist of subject and period specific clips. Generate interest in a topic. Design a PBL unit around a series of related videos.
If your brain isn’t already bouncing off the walls in your head with other possible ideas, head over to the AP and Movietone YouTube channels to check out thousands of online video resources. I will guarantee that you’ll leave the vault with all sorts of possibilities.
According to their press release, the Associated Press and British Movietone, one of the world’s most comprehensive newsreel archives, are together bringing more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. Showcasing the moments, people and events that shape the world, it will be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform to date. Read more