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Posts tagged ‘historical thinking’

Top Ten Posts of 2016 #9: Jill Weber and historical thinking bootcamp

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.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


Kansas - Jill Weber

Jill Weber gets it. She’s a middle school teacher honing her craft in Cheney, Kansas and she is rocking it.

Finding the balance between foundational content and process. Problems to solve. Evidence to analyze. No obvious answers. Academic discomfort. Groups to work in. Hands on. Physical movement. Obvious passion for the subject.

She’s one of those teachers that I would have wanted for my own kids to have when they were in middle school. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with her for almost six years.

She jumped in feet first to our second Teaching American History project back in 2010 and then transitioned into the ESSDACK social studies PLC. She was awarded the Kansas Council for the Social Studies 2016 secondary mini-grant and is the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year. And she shares a ton of her stuff on A View of the Web.

One of her recent posts caught my eye and asked if I could re-post it here. I love her idea of starting off the school year with a historical thinking bootcamp. She wants her middle schoolers to understand what they’re getting into and spends six days training her kids in the basics of thinking and reading like historians.

This is the sort of thing that I think all good social studies teachers are doing but I like that Jill has been very intentional about planning for this type of learning to happen. And while her focus is on middle school and Kansas / US history, this is stuff that all of us need to be doing.

So use what you can and adapt where needed but put these ideas into practice.


This is a long post, mostly Read more

Fake news is why you exist. And 12 tools that can help

Okay. Basic question.

“If I asked you to describe what you do every day as a social studies teacher, what would I hear?”

Let me rephrase that a bit.

“If I asked you to describe what you should be doing every day as a social studies teacher, what would I hear?”

Here’s my point. I think that we can get so caught up in the everyday that we sometimes forget why we exist. Grading papers. Taking roll. Going to meetings. Calling parents. Trying to keep middle school kids from setting things on fire. That’s a typical day in your life. I get that.

But I’m going to suggest today that we need to keep our eyes on the prize.

What’s the prize? Why do we exist?

The National Council for the Social Studies College, Career, and Civic Life Standards does a pretty good job of summing it up: Read more

History Nerdfest 2016 Day Three: Teaching with Primary Sources & Emerging Technologies

I’m still trying to put together all of the stuff from last weekend. There’s been so much goodness, it’s hard to keep up.

So today just a quick post highlighting one graphic organizer and a couple of links from Scott Waring and Cheryl Torrez. They’ve put together a nice site that pulls a bunch of ideas and resources into one place.

Start with the Teaching History tab to explore the Historical Process and some ideas for teaching with primary sources. You’ll find a ton of tech tools that can be integrated into social studies instruction on the Emerging Technologies tab and a great list of web links under Resources.

Scott and Cheryl also shared a new way for students that I haven’t seen before that they call the SOURCES framework. Read more

History Nerdfest 2016 Day Three: Using Virtual Reality to Build Content & Empathy

Okay. Some serious History nerd overload going on. It’s Saturday afternoon and I need the Diet Pepsi to kick in. But some amazingly awesome stuff today – started with the #sschat Unconference and some of my favorite Twitter folks, and then three sessions on gaming, using primary sources, and integrating tech into social studies.

Plus I got to meet Stephanie Greenhut, the creative genius behind the powerful DocsTeach site. How cool is that?

There may be just enough caffeine left for this session before heading off the Smithsonian African American Museum later this evening. Paul Howard and Neil Soloman from the local DC schools are sharing how they use virtual reality tools as a way to build both content knowledge and create empathy in their students.

They started with a story of having kids use a VR viewer such as a Google Cardboard to look at a simple 360 Photosphere of the Taj Mahal. The kids went nuts. Read more

History Nerdfest 2016 Day Two: Integrating Critical Race Theory into the US Hisotry Curriculum

Last night I had the opportunity to listen to John Stokes recount his experience as an early civil rights activist. Long story short?

In 1951, John was a high school senior at Moton High School in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Upset with the unequal educational facilities that existed as part of Jim Crow, he and other students staged a walkout and strike that later became part of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education  Supreme Court case. His account of that period and the connections Mr. Stokes made to the present was amazing, frightening, engaging, and compelling all at the same time.

march-book-three-coverAnd this afternoon, I had the chance to sit together with about 2000 other social studies teachers listening to Georgia Representative John Lewis talk about the events described in his graphic novel March.

So it’s very appropriate after hearing from these two Civil Rights heroes to participate in a conversation about Critical Race Theory and how we can use it to support class discussions of race / racism. Lauren Meyer from Yale is sharing “little nuggets” that teachers can use to integrate the topic as part of their instruction.

What is Critical Race Theory? Read more

History Nerdfest 2016 Day Two: Strategies to Engage Students in Sourcing Content

Okay. The title had already pulled me in but any session that’s playing the Hamilton soundtrack as you enter the room is destined to be awesome.

Ashley and Brian Furgione are talking this afternoon about ways to encourage and support different ways of sourcing evidence. Yes, they are married. And both are middle school teachers and teach US History / Civics in Florida.

They started with the question:

How can we help engage kids in using primary sources and asking great sourcing questions?

And shared some examples: Read more