It’s February 12. And we all know what that means.
“Time to go buy Valentine candy?”
Uh . . . no.
It’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthdate. Everyone knows this. Well, maybe not everyone. But for me, Lincoln’s birthday has always been one of the highlights of the year. Seriously. For as long as I can remember, February 12 has been a big day for me.
Lincoln has always been my favorite president. I can remember doing research, if you can call looking at his picture in the L volume of World Book Encyclopedia research, in first grade. And my appreciation for him has only grown since elementary school.
I grew up with the traditional rags to riches story of a self-made man, growing up in the wilds of the American west and becoming president. But he’s become much more complex as I’ve had the chance to spend time with him. Perhaps one of the most powerful professional learning experiences I have ever had was spending a week at Gettysburg College with historian Gabor Boritt.
Lincoln is more than just a tall guy with a really good media team. More than a guy who walked three miles in the rain to return six cents in chance and who split wood to make fences.
So today . . . ten things you probably didn’t know about Abraham Lincoln. Read more
I’m busy having a great time at Podstock 2013. It’s a sweet tech conference we put on every year in downtown Wichita that’s a ton of fun. And after last night’s vendor reception, I’m dragging just a bit. So . . . just a quick Tip this week.
Have you ever had a chance to check out the TED-Ed video tool? I’ve talked about it before and really think it offers some handy options for having kids mess with content outside of the classroom. Basically you take a TED or YouTube video, chop it up into small segments, provide additional online resources, create a series of low level and high level questions, and voila, sweet out of class homework and in class conversation starter.
You can even have kids create TED-Ed videos as assessment pieces.
And just recently, I ran across Angela Hamblen Cunningham’s list of TED-Ed videos related specifically to social studies topics. A short teaser? Read more
It’s the middle of June.
I’m guessing most of you are not missing your classroom yet. But if you’re like most teachers, eventually you’ll need a history fix. You’ll need to start planning for next fall. You’ll need to pick up a book or a journal to learn something new.
And when you do, come back here because here’s the link you need: Read more
It’s a double bonus type of day.
First, today is one of the last days of our Century of Progress Teaching American History project. So I get to spend all day with 41 middle school teachers and we talk about nothing except history stuff.
Today’s history stuff?
Chinese immigration during the late 1800s. And we’re tying in history content conversations with Joel Breakstone of the Stanford History Education Group. He’s sharing with us how to create lesson plans designed to train kids to think historically. There’s been some very helpful theoretical sorts of stuff focusing on historical thinking but also very practical suggestions about what a great lesson should look like.
Second, yesterday the Kansas Board of Education voted 9-0 to approve the proposed social studies standards. Some of us have been working on these for the last 20 months and to have them accepted for full implementation is pretty sweet.
Such a cool day! It’s like the perfect storm. New standards that focus on high level historical thinking skills and content/strategies that can help us meet those standards.
So I figured . . . why not share some of the goodies we talked about?
Like many families, mine spends part of every evening re-hashing the day – sharing experiences, discussing current events, solving the world’s problems, and arguing whether the X-Men are actual super heroes.
Earlier this week, during a discussion about school, my daughter blurted out:
I really don’t do anything at school. I’m asked to learn stuff that doesn’t mean anything to me in ways that are incredibly boring.
She and I have had this discussion before. She plays the game very well – straight A’s, great test scores. She knows the rules. And the traditional view of school would suggest that because she has a nice GPA she actually knows something. But every time I hear about worksheets, answering questions at the end of the chapter, or high school students reading out loud from the textbook to one another, I’m not convinced. Research is telling all of us that these sorts of instructional strategies don’t impact long-term learning.