First things first. If you haven’t hung out at Russell Tarr’s Toolbox, you need to head over there when we’re finished here. Russell has been creating and sharing cool tools for social studies teachers forever and it’s all incredibly handy stuff. (You might have run across Russell’s ideas before on his Active History or ClassTools.net sites.)
About a month ago, I was on his site and ran across something that I thought was very cool. I’d been searching for ideas on how to help elementary kids source evidence. You know – author, date created, audience, intent, the sort of questions that are the foundation of historical thinking.
My goto strategy has been one shared by the Library of Congress that helps kids all the way down to kindergarten start the process of historical thinking – by training them to ask questions about primary sources. The LOC example focuses on the idea of 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
In my perfect world as a map nerd, I would have grown up living my life as if I were David Rumsey. Make a ton of money and spend that money finding and archiving historical maps. Then figure out ways to share those maps with other people.
Because that sounds like a very sweet way to spend my time.
If you’re not familiar with the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, you need to head over and check out his more than 55,000 maps digitized maps, the more than 150 Google Earth layers, and the nine different mapping tools. Be prepared to spend some serious time here. There is just so much cool stuff.
One of the easiest ways to find handy maps for use in your classroom is to use the
Okay. I gotta be honest.
Much of what you are about to read is two years old. My thinking hasn’t changed much since February 2013 and well . . . I’m not sure I could write it a whole lot better anyway. So the message and much of the text is the same. The resources are updated.
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I always enjoy the annual social studies nerd fest that is the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference. I learn a ton and I love the sessions. But it’s the chance to meet all kinds of people that I enjoy the most.
It seems like I’m always bumping into someone I know or someone who knows someone I know. Or . . . well, if you’ve had the chance to attend you understand. The people make the conference.
And it was in St. Louis in 2013 that I got the chance to meet some folks from the Center for Children and Technology, a division of the Education Development Center. The CCT people were there talking about a new online tool called Zoom In! and I happened past their booth in the vendor area.
My first impression?
Two words. Game changer.
Seriously. If you’re a middle or high school US history teacher, this is something that you need to try. I’m not kidding. Read more
Complete the following sentence in your head.
Every workshop I attend should . . .
My first thought?
include snacks and very large Diet Pepsi.
But I suppose there are a few other ways to complete the sentence. A couple of weeks ago I ran across a very interesting post by Pernille Ripp titled Every Workshop I Attend Should . . . What Attendees Wish We Knew. Powerful stuff. As someone who spends a lot of time working with teachers, it was a great reminder of what a good PD session should look like.
- Teachers want choice
- They want to connect with others and content
- They want to be acknowledged as experts
- They want practical ideas
- They want to be inspired
- They want the focus to be on students
- They want it to be fun
And I’m a big believer in face to face, professional learning in groups. I love the interaction that can happen when teachers passionate about the profession get together. Using Ripp’s list as a guide is a wonderful way to measure whether the learning is of high quality.
But with this new fangled interwebs thing out there, there is also personal professional growth opportunities available that would have been impossible to find even five years ago. So where can you find professional development options that contain all of the things on Ripp’s list? Read more