Smarter. That’s the goal.
Most of you already know about the History Tech summer reading program. For years, I’ve been intentional about selecting a stack of books to read through the summer months. Mike Ortmann, amazing teacher, social studies superhero, and unofficial mentor, encouraged me to use June, July, and August as a time for personal professional growth. Use the summer to build content knowledge and teaching chops with some individual book study.
It was great advice then. It still is. Getting better at what we do should always be a focus. And what better time to do that than right now? You’ve got a little free time. I’m guessing there’s an easy chair by an AC vent or an Adirondack set up outside somewhere.
I’m still a fan of print but feel free to go the e-book or audio route. Heck . . . there are great podcasts out there as well. But Mike was right. Summer’s the perfect time for personal professional growth.
Here’s what I got going. What’s on your list? Read more
We all love our summers. After a couple hundred days of facilitation, lesson design, students, parents, exciting projects, new ideas, administrators, and assessments, the chance to catch your breath a bit during the months of June and July is hard to beat.
But summers are also perfect for catching up on your own professional growth and for having conversations with other social studies teachers. If you’re planning to take advantage of the many different summer PD options, now is the time for finishing up your applications.
And do I have a Google spreadsheet for you. Read more
ROI was never something I had to worry about back in the day. If I made to 3:30 with nothing getting set on fire and all 135 middle schoolers accounted for, I checked it off as a major success.
Return on Investment? ROI? I’m not even sure the term had been invented yet. And if it had, I would have had no idea what it meant and how the idea might apply to my classroom.
For anyone without the MBA degree, ROI is a basic business concept that measures the efficiency of an investment of time and/or money. The higher the ROI, the more efficient the investment. Spend $10 on lemons, sugar, and the time to craft a cardboard sign. Make $60 selling lemonade. The ROI is $50. Nice job.
Spend $10. Make $5. ROI is negative $5. Time to go back and rethink your business model.
And back in the day, ROI would not have been something that educators would have worried about. The business model of school was different. Kids showed up. Kids sat in rows. Teacher talked. Kids copied down what the teacher said. Kids memorized what they wrote down. On Friday, teacher asked students to write down what they memorized. Teacher assigned a grade. Repeat.
The world of school is different now. We’re not following the traditional model of kids in rows and teacher centered instruction. (At least we shouldn’t be.) And ROI needs to be a part of this new world.
Before you all jump in with Read more
We all love geography, right? Maps. Human interactions with place. Movement. Impact on historical events and current affairs. More maps. Digital maps. Land forms. Microclimates. Changes over time.
What’s not to love? It’s just too cool.
So okay. Maybe you don’t love geography as much as I do. I suppose that’s possible. But . . . whether you love it a ton or just put up with it, I don’t think that we spend enough time helping kids see the connections between geography and the other social studies disciplines. And that’s a problem.
But I’ve got a solution. Read more
During the glory days of the Teaching American History projects, we handed out books like candy. We’d read. Argue. Reflect. Move on to the next. And I’m sure there were some who didn’t enjoy that process as much as I did. I understand that we all learn in different ways but it’s just hard for me to imagine life without books to read and talk about.
Plain and simple truth? You can never have enough books.
Keith Houston in his recent book titled, wait for it . . . The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time, advises readers to Read more
Summer is a perfect time to rethink your professional learning goals. We all need to get better at what we do, to hone our craft, to find ways to improve our skills. In a recent interview, business author Tom Peters suggested that one way to “deal with the insane pace of change” is to “learn new things.”
Seems simple enough. But I think too often we approach our jobs without a growth mindset, without being intentional about “learning new things.” We ask our students to learn new skills and content. But because of time, support, or inclination, we don’t always do that ourselves.
What can we do this summer to maximize our own professional learning? Read more