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Posts tagged ‘literacy’

Seriously? Am I the only one who didn’t know about the EPIC reading tool?

Remember that one time when all your friends went out, had a great time, came back, saw you sitting on your lonely bean bag, and acted surprised? “I thought someone asked you to come along,” they said. “We just figured you were in the other car,” they said.

Right. I love you too.

I felt a little like that about a week ago. I had just learned all about this great free online tool and was pumped. This tool is free. It’s easy to use. It helps connect social studies content with fiction and nonfiction resources. So I got up during our PLC’s show and tell time to share, asked if anyone else was using it, and I got thumbs up from literally everyone in the room.

Yup. I love you too.

I am glad that so many already know about it. And are using it. Cause it really seems like a great tool to have handy in your teaching tool belt – especially as we’re all trying to integrate more social studies and ELA. But where was I when everyone else was finding out about it?

So if you already know Read more

Tip of the Week: 15 resources for using comics in the social studies

It was part three of the four part 2017-2018 ESSDACK social studies PLC. We get together throughout the year to share ideas, ask questions, discover new resources, and eat some awesome food.

Last Wednesday it was more of the same. Valentine’s Day cupcakes. 3-D glasses. And comics. Lots and lots of comics.

I’ve always loved comics. I lean a bit more to things like Calvin & Hobbes and Doonesbury rather than the Marvel and DC universes that my kids love. But no matter what I was reading – growing up or now – I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of visual storytelling.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve also intrigued with the idea of using comics and graphic novels as part of social studies instructional design. And Wednesday, the group nerded out with some great conversation about what that can look like.

We started by doing Read more

History Nerdfest 2017 Day Two: NCSS Notable Trade Books for elementary kids

I’ve got a Diet Pepsi, blueberry scone, a front row seat at the first session of the day, and the internet is working. Life is good.

We’re kicking off Nerdfest 2017 with the great folks from the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade Books committee. If you’re not familiar with Notable Trade Books, take a few minutes to head over and get a quick overview. The concept is simple. Browse through hundreds and hundreds of social studies related books. Select the best ones. Collect them all together into a downloadable PDF. Share with the world.

I’m going to highlight some of what they share about the latest trade books list with a focus on elementary level books. These are perfect for integrating social studies into your literacy and ELA lessons. Go back to the Trade Books page to download lists from previous years.

(Find detailed lesson plans for each book at the bottom of the post.) Read more

History Nerdfest 2017 Day One: Teaching Literacy Through History

I first met Tim Bailey several years ago when he was the Gilder Lehrman master teacher during our Century of Progress TAH project. And he was awesome. Our teachers loved his ideas and resources. During today’s afternoon #NSSSA17 session, I got the chance to learn more from Tim.

Tim highlighted several different ideas from the Gilder Lehrman Teaching Literacy Through History lesson plan database – all immediately useable.

I love a couple of his quotes:

  • Be a guide, not an interpreter.
  • Primary sources are the closest thing to time travel.

Tim started by sharing What we as social studies teachers should be doing: Read more

3 powerful tools to integrate multimedia, VR, & digital timelines to increase literacy

My kids love it whenever they get the chance to use technology as part of the writing process. My job is to make sure that the tech use is meaningful and purposeful – when used correctly technology can help enhance and transform my lessons, provide real-world activities, and increase student engagement.

Jill Weber, Cheney Middle School

We all strive to develop students with the skills necessary to be successful after high school graduation. And national and local standards provide us with documents packed full of suggested benchmarks and commendable expectations.

The Common Core ELA writing standards encourage students to “use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.” The National Council for the Social Studies urges us to find ways for our kids to “take informed action” based on what they have learned.

What teacher doesn’t want that for their students?

We all want our students to write more. To develop solutions to authentic problems. To spread their voices beyond the classroom. But it can be difficult for classroom teachers to have a clear vision of what that might look like in actual practice.

The good news is that there is an abundance of multimedia resources available that support the creation and sharing of student storytelling products.

Read more

Memes: Fun waste of time or incredible literacy integration tool?

We all love a good meme. Visual. Easy to understand. And just the right amount of snark.

But can we use them as part of our instructional designs? Or are they just a questionable way to spend way too much time online? Ask me that question five years ago and I probably would have said waste of time. Fun, sure. But a waste of time.


I’m starting to believe the combination of visuals and text needed to create a good meme can be used in a variety of ways.

So . . . today, a few meme / social studies / literacy integration ideas: Read more