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Posts tagged ‘primary sources’

Top Ten Posts of 2015 #7: 5 under-appreciated Google tools for teaching Social Studies

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.

Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten posts of 2015. Enjoy the reruns. See you in January!

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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

Top Ten Posts of 2015 #8: Using evidence and primary analysis worksheets

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.

Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten posts of 2015. Enjoy the reruns. See you in January!

——-

There’s a cool buzz running through the history education world.

Primary sources. Documents. Using evidence. Solving problems. Historical thinking. And that’s a good thing. But I know that it can be difficult sometimes trying to figure out how to use primary sources.

First piece of advice?

Don’t worry so much about primary vs. secondary sources. Start thinking about evidence, about data, instead of focusing just on one sort of document over another. Because if we’re asking great questions, kids will be using all sorts of documents and sources to solve the problem.

I’ve always tried to preach the idea of having kids answer great questions and using a variety of evidence to help them answer those questions. So it’s not just primary sources. It needs to be all sorts of evidence – so kids might need to be using secondary sources. That might be tertiary sources such as a textbook or Wikipedia.

But kids are still using evidence and data to solve the problem. We need to be training our kids how to use that evidence – evaluating, sourcing, and asking questions about audience and purpose. So it’s not really about training them so that they can read primary sources after they graduate – it’s about the long term . . . training them to make better decisions because they now have the ability to evaluate evidence and ask good questions about all sorts of things: Read more

National Archives Education Updates & 58 other NARA social media links

The National Archives has billions of documents, artifacts, and historical resources. And I’m beginning to think that it has almost that many blogs, social media accounts, and RSS feeds.

This morning, I got dragged into the NARA world of social media after discovering the very cool Education Updates blog.

I ran across the Updates blog through one of my Flipboard feeds and started browsing. NARA staffers use the site to share resources for teachers and learners. You’ll find new teaching tools, lesson plans, learning activities, student field trips, professional development opportunities, newly available primary sources, and multimedia and web content.

The National Archives holds all kinds of valuable documents – written documents, images, maps, audio, video, charts, and more – from all three branches of our government. Educational liaisons at the National Archives in Washington, DC, around the country, and in Presidential Libraries work together to share how they use all of these different types of sources in teaching activities.

And just when I thought I was out, they sucked me back in.

I was done. I had gotten my weekly primary sources fix. But Read more

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights project: App, lessons, ebook, online resources

Buried within the millions of documents housed at the National Archives are some truly special treasures from the First Congress that highlight how the ratification of the Constitution necessitated the creation of the Bill of Rights. And how the creation of that document completed the Constitution. The remarkable story of the relationship between the Constitution and its Bill of Rights is told in the NARA project called Congress Creates the Bill of Rights.

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights consists of four elements: an eBook, a mobile app for tablets, a print version of the the mobile app for students without that access, and online resources for teachers and students. Each element provides a distinct way of Read more

4 reasons not to use primary sources. (And 27 ways to eliminate those reasons)

As the discipline continues to shift its practice towards asking kids to solve problems using evidence and encouraging the development of historical thinking skills, more and more social studies teachers are integrating the use of primary sources into their instructional designs. Several days ago, I posted a quick overview that highlighted 10 things to think about while using primary sources.

And if you’ve been reading History Tech for any amount of time, you know that I love the use of evidence – especially the use of primary sources.

But what if we’re wrong?

What if using primary sources is so difficult that many of our students just aren’t able to do it? Could we just be wasting a bunch of time that would be better used with direct instruction? Read more

Oh so sweet iPad app – The New Immigrants NYC 1880-1924

With over 1,500,000 apps available in the iTunes App Store and more being added every day, it’s not easy keeping up with the latest iOS tools for social studies. But I’m still a bit surprised that it took a year for me to run across The New Immigrants NYC 1880-1924. When a great app comes out, there’s usually at least a little bit of a buzz. A blog post somewhere. A mention at a conference. A cutting edge teacher tweeting out a lesson plan idea.

But The New Immigrants was released way back in December 2014, a lifetime in the app world, and I just this week ran across it. I know that some of you have probably already been using it but for those of you who haven’t? You need to jump on this because the app is oh so sweet.

Sweet for several reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is that immigration and refugees and “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” and the principles on which this country was founded are part of the current conversation. One of the most difficult things you are expected to do is to connect past and present – to find ways to help kids see how what happened 120 years ago still has relevance. And having intelligent conversations about how America reacted to immigrants and refugees in her past can lead to intelligent conversations about how she should respond to current immigration and refugee issues.

(The key phrase here being intelligent conversations – a skill that I think could use some improvement considering what we’ve been hearing lately.)

So . . . sweet because it’s relevant.

And doubly sweet because the app uses hundreds of primary sources, great guiding questions, and a focus on using evidence to solve problems to support high-quality historical thinking. Did I mention that the apps is free?

It’s a win / win / win.

Created by the New York City Department of Education, The New Immigrants iOS app includes Read more

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