Today’s post is written by Cheney, Kansas middle and high social studies teacher Jill Weber. Jill is the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year.
Sometimes it all goes right. Thursday morning I didn’t think the day was going to turn out. It was just one of those rough mornings. Bad news and frustrations everywhere I looked. Before class started, I thought
Man, I’m gonna really have to fake-it-to-make-it today.
But then class started, and we got rolling with our topic and activity. By the end of my first block I knew I wasn’t gonna have to “fake it.” Today was AWESOME!
And it was made possible by the Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) activity I found using Stanford History Education Group. If you aren’t using SHEG in your classes . . . get on it! Seriously one of the best resources out there for incorporating and teaching with primary sources.
The SAC provides a controversial questions, documents for research, and the procedure for students to participate in small group debates. Students learn how to argue with evidence! And middle school students LOVE to argue!
The entire activity took two full class periods (we are on a block schedule, so two 75 min. classes) Here’s how it went down . . . Continue reading Structured Academic Controversy – Lewis and Clark Edition!
January 27th marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In 2005, the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War.
And while you may not be teaching a class that specifically focuses on the events of 1941-1945 as well as earlier discrimination and persecution under the Nazi government, it does provide a chance to connect those events to similar genocides both past and present. And to other acts of discrimination and persecution happening around the world and in the United States.
By remembering the Holocaust, we can honor survivors and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.
There are many resources available. You might start with these:
As a poly sci junkie, I’m torn.
The 2018 government shutdown is bad for just about everybody. And it seems like it happened over something that most Americans want to see happen – protection for Dreamers. A Fox News poll says 86% of us support DACA. A CBS poll reports 87% supporting the idea.
But the shutdown does create an opportunity to jump into all sorts of conversations involving civics and procedure and policy and elections and checks and balances and three branches and media bias . . . well, you get the idea. If you haven’t already, this week might be a good time to jump ship on your scheduled curriculum and spend some time making connections to the government side of the social studies.
Need a few quick resources? Continue reading Teaching Toolkit: 9 resources for discussing the government shutdown
The Winter 2017 KCSS Sunflower newsletter is now available. Check out the full version here or by clicking the image below.
A couple of months ago, I felt smart. I had just finished a full day with some of the best social studies teachers around. We had talked about hyperdocs, completed a BreakoutEdu, identified photos as either real or fake, learned about a variety of graphic organizers, and participated in an awesome video conference focused on the Smithsonian Learning Lab with Darren Milligan and Kate Harris.
I felt smart. I had learned some stuff. I had taught some stuff. My brain was feeling good.
I should have stopped while I was ahead.
But after learning more about the Learning Lab, I decided to dig in a bit and see what all might be available online from the Smithsonian. And that’s where I got into trouble. About an hour later, I dug my way out of the incredible amount of goodness that Smithsonian folks have made available for educators. I felt smarter but not smarter all at the same time.
Smarter because I learned about some sites and resources that were new to me. Not smarter because . . . seriously, how I have I not known about these things before?
Just so you know, there is a ton of materials, lesson plans, and resources that the Smithsonian has put online. Seriously . . . a ton. Darren told us that the Smithsonian isn’t really sure how much stuff they have – he rounded it up to around 160 million objects. And that’s just the stuff in their collections, not the lesson plans and online exhibitions.
So just to share some of what I learned, here a few places that you need to pencil into your schedule to visit: Continue reading Yup, I’m smarter. Thanks Smithsonian!