Next week, I’ll be spending time with a group of teachers as we discuss ways to support reading and writing in the social studies. Specifically, strategies for creating formative feedback opportunities that support argumentative and persuasive writing.
And what better way than by using contemporary issues tied to historical events?
A middle school teacher might use the exodus of unemployed from Detroit between 2008 and 2015 as a way to talk about why families moved to the American West during the mid to late 1800s. A high school teacher might use the Nuremberg Laws in 1930s Germany to highlight current immigration conversations. Perhaps a teacher might use laws such as the Kansas Act of 1940 and the House Concurrent Resolution 108 of 1953 to guide student thinking into 21st century discussions on race in the US and around the world.
But it’s always nice to have a little help. So plan to check out these four sites that provide resources and ideas that can help you as you delve into contemporary issues. Read more
I’ve been on a current events kick lately. A recent newsletter from social studies guru Mike Hasley reminded me of another awesome news resource called Newseum. And apparently I’ve never really posted anything about Newseum here at History Tech.
Not sure how I’ve never gotten around to that. The Newseum is a very cool, actual museum located in Washington DC with a powerful online presence. Their mission is to “champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education.” And I know that you’ve got one or two other museum choices in DC but if you’re in the area, the Newseum is a very fun place to spend some time. Last time I visited, they had an awesome exhibit highlighting Pulitzer Prize winner photographs and the stories behind them. Amazing.
But the cool thing is that even if you can’t make it across the country for an actual visit, the Newseum has a Read more
Need a place to connect past with present? Need writing prompts? Need hundreds of articles about current events in an easy to access place? Need articles with leveled reading? Need a searchable databases that filter by keyword, grade level, Common Core reading anchors, and articles with machine scored quizzes?
If your answer to even one of those questions is yes, then I’ve got a list of tools just for you. All of them are web-based tools that use current events and contemporary topics to engage kids and all provide the chance for you to to encourage the development of skills required by the ELA literacy standards for History / Government. While at the same aligning to state standards that ask us to connect the past with contemporary events.
So why should we worry about current events? The simple reason is that connecting past and present is good for student retention and encourages critical thinking skills. Not to mention our state standards are asking kids to connect past choices, rights, responsibilities, ideas, beliefs, and relationships to “contemporary events.”
So today you get a few online tools and some helpful strategies that focus on current events: Read more
Back in the day – seriously . . . way back in the day – during my 8th grade US history teaching days, I worked very hard to include at least some sort of current event activity every week. Some days it was me highlighting an interesting event or article that related to our content. Another day might be a student asking a question about a particular topic. On a great day, it was both – connecting past events with current topics that were relevant and engaging for my students.
I think we all agree that connecting past and present is a big deal. Something that we need to be more intentional about doing. More and more standard documents, my state included, require linking instruction and learning to “contemporary issues.”
But it can be difficult at times making those connections. One great way to integrate current events into the classroom is to use the New York Times Learning Network. Great resources, ideas, materials, and suggestions every day.
And a semi-recent article from the Network provides some very specific ideas of what this can look like. Read more
“What thoughtful, intelligent people do with their brains is to mull over inconsistency. When two ideas are in conflict and you have to struggle to make sense of that conflict, that is when thinking starts.”
One of the many topics that a group of teachers and I messed with earlier this week was the idea of using debates in class. How can we set up activities during which kids support specific positions using evidence – which is good – without having the debate disintegrate into emotional arguing – which is bad?
Civil discourse. Evidence-based discussion. Consensus building. Solving problems together.
Yelling. Emotion-based arguments. Talk show pundits acting like children. Winners and losers. No solutions.
And you gotta know . . . Read more