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Posts tagged ‘wiebe’

Tip of the Week: Google Collections equals GAFE Pinterest

A couple of days ago I had the chance to watch Kori Green and Adam Topliff in action. As board members of the Kansas Council for the Social Studies, certified state standards trainers, and experienced middle school teachers, they know a thing or two thousand about what quality history instruction looks like.

They spent the day here at ESSDACK, tag teaming with a group of secondary folks in a discussion about best practices and the upcoming state assessment. In those sorts of conversations, I always walk out smarter. I get to see what Kori and Adam are doing. I get to sit down with classroom teachers and chat about what they’re doing. It’s basically a smash and grab of all of their best stuff.

And Wednesday was no different. I was able to leave with a couple of new ideas including my new favorite, Google+ Collections.  Read more

Social Studies Scent-O-Matic. Yes!

I have been waiting for this for so long. I know some of you have done the same thing – striking a bunch of matches, blowing them out, and letting the smoke waft through the room during conversations about battles or battle sims.

Because we know how powerful the sense of smell can be in connecting emotion and content. And when we can connect emotion and content, retention goes up. Comprehension goes up. But in today’s world of smoke alarms, lighting a box of matches in your classroom is probably not a good idea.

So you can imagine how cool it was when I ran across the Scent-O-Matic. Seriously. A company that lets you order a can of smells specific to a historical period or topic. I am loving this! Read more

Running downhill is easy. But it’s not best for our kids

About a month ago, Kevin Honeycutt and I had the chance to spend a week together traveling around the great state of Minnesota. Kevin did presentations. I shook hands and carried Kevin’s guitar. It was a seriously great time.

It was great for a couple of reasons. First, at ESSDACK we don’t often get the chance to observe a colleague in their native environment – picking up tips, talking about best practice, stealing their good ideas. I ended the week smarter and better at what I do because of it.


Social studies nerd activities. We stopped at history markers, ate in greasy dives, and talked to lots of locals about Minnesota culture. But the best activity? Read more

7 strategies that support historical thinking with grade school kids

As we continue to talk about ways to integrate literacy skills and social studies content, I often get the chance to chat with elementary teachers about the process. It’s always an interesting conversation and always seems to include some sort of comment that questions the ability of grade school students to think historically.

It’s not that K-5 teachers think historical thinking can’t happen. They’re just not sure what it can look like. So if you have questions or know someone who might have questions about what historical thinking looks like at the grade school level, we’ve got you covered.

(And you secondary folks? Don’t be afraid to browse through the list. There’s a lot of crossover.)

Read more

Tip of the Week: Google adds Templates, Voice, and Explore

I’ve always been a fan of the goodness that is Google. And I like when all of a sudden my GAFE tools have extra features.

For some of you, this all may not seem like a big deal. But recent small changes by Google in their online tools have made my life just a little bit easier. For those of you in GAFE schools or whose students use Google, these changes can also impact how you both interact with content and data.

The first change is  Read more

Got art? Using visuals as part of your social studies instruction

I admit it. I’m a little biased. Both my kids have a strong sense of art, of being able to create visually appealing pieces. (The Rowdie effort to the left is not one of their best efforts, though it does accurately convey the family pet personality.) We constantly had crayons, painting supplies, easels, and all sorts of other artsy things in use around the house. So I’ve always been keen to the idea of integrating visual arts and images into social studies instruction.

And I think we often forget how powerful the arts can be in connecting our kids with social studies content and big ideas. Art, in all of its forms, is a great way to create emotion, generate connections, and build relationships. When we fail to intentionally integrate the visual arts, music, sculpture, dance, and theater, we do our kids a disservice.

One of the quickest ways to incorporate the arts is to focus on the visual – paintings, drawings, and images. But what can that look like? Read more


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