All posts by glennw

About glennw

I work as a social studies specialist at ESSDACK, an educational service center in Hutchinson, Kansas. Before coming to ESSDACK, I taught middle school US History and higher ed social science classes.

Blackout Poetry: Worth Waiting For

Jill Weber teaches US History at Cheney Middle School and high schoolers in the Teaching Career Pathway. Today she shares how she incorporates the Blackout Poetry literacy and writing activity into her instruction.


Sometimes great ideas come to us, and we’re so excited to try them, BUT the pace of the year come crashing in on us and we have to put those ideas on hold. I’ve had this idea on hold the the last three years, and we are FINALLY getting to it. Blackout Poetry.

Blackout Poetry is using text that has been printed (books, newspapers, magazines, etc…) and manipulating the text to convey a new poetic meaning. By selecting words from the text and then blacking out the remaining words.

Take a minute to Google it and check out the images. So cool!

I first ran across using this in the social studies classroom when Continue reading Blackout Poetry: Worth Waiting For

SHEG HATs for the win

Hat fail.

I’m not talking about an actual hat. Not a baseball cap. Or a visor. Or a bowler, beanie, beret, or bucket hat.

I’m talking about SHEG HATS.

As in Stanford History Education Group and History Assessments of Thinking.

I’m sure that you’ve been over to the very useful  Stanford History Education Group’s site with its three different tools, right? (If you haven’t, mmm . . . go there now and be amazed at how your life will be changed.)

All of us at the KCSS have been pushing Sam Wineburg’s work for years so I’m hoping you’re already familiar with the work his SHEG group has been doing around the idea of reading like a historian. They’ve packaged their work into three chunks – instructional lessons that focus on training kids analyze evidence to solve problems, onlive civic literacy lessons, and wait for it . . . Continue reading SHEG HATs for the win

Chocolate & peanut butter. Professional growth & student evaluations

We should always be thinking about ways to improve – even in May. So I dug around in the archives and dug out a post written several years ago that shares some thoughts about student evaluations. Because your professional growth and student evals are a lot like chocolate and peanut butter – two great tastes that go great together.

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Billy Landes was probably the best teacher I ever had. Encouraging. Supportive. Tough. Demanding. Helpful. She let our study group leave to do “research” in the library when I’m pretty sure she knew that we usually headed to the donut shop instead. A learner. Smart. Knowledgeable.

And someone who always asked our feedback about how she could get better. It was the weirdest thing. A teacher asking Continue reading Chocolate & peanut butter. Professional growth & student evaluations

We’re giving away money! Apply for KCSS Mini-Grants

Are budget cuts hampering your creative ideas? If so, a KCSS classroom mini-grant just might be the answer to helping you put those ideas into practice.  This year KCSS will award two $250 grants – one each to a K-6 and a 7-12 social studies teacher.

Projects that are eligible for the grant include materials and resources needed to improve instruction or to carry out special projects.  We’re especially looking for mini-grant proposals that will act like a Kickstarter campaign – funding projects and instruction that can be used multiple times with multiple classes rather than a one-time project or event. And while we believe in the power of field trips, KCSS mini-grants are not designed for that type of teaching activity.

(Not a Kansas social studies teacher? Sorry. Jayhawkers only.)