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.

You Sorry Sack of Slugs! I Want YOU to Think Historically

Jill Weber is a middle and high school teacher in Cheney, Kansas. Today she’s sharing about the Historical Thinking Boot Camp she takes her kids through every August.


A few years ago I completely reworked the start of my school year with my 7th grade students. I found that social studies was changing. It wasn’t just dates and facts that needed to be memorized. High level analysis and thinking were now in the picture. These are skills students don’t come in knowing how to do. They needed training.

So I developed a Historical Thinking Boot Camp for the first couple weeks in August. Primary sources, contextualize, corroboration, making a claim, detecting bias . . . these are BIG terms for the little green students I have walking in my door. The LAST thing I want to do is overwhelm them with boring vocabulary worksheets and lectures.

So instead they get this:

Curious? You can still access my original blog post about the Boot Camp.

Here’s the deal, guys and gals. This is my most requested material. I give it away for free. And this year, I will be presenting my Boot Camp at the Kansas Social Studies Conference on Sunday, October 28th. You’ll get a FRONT ROW SEAT to my latest Boot Camp updates, copies, what works, what doesn’t, examples, and the chance for some great Q & A to help you walk through it all.

All you have to do is show up. Head over to register for this year’s conference and get the early bird pricing at the conference website.

Seriously . . . showing up at the conference gets you into some MAJOR sessions including:

  • Stanford History Education Group executive director and guru Joel Breakstone sharing historical thinking and online literacy tools (The SHEG stuff is awesome and helps support a lot of my Boot Camp.)
  • Information about the 2020 social studies state assessment from KSDE consultant Don Gifford
  • #Buzzworthy classroom resources from teacher rock stars Derek Schutte and T.J. Warsnak
  • And much, MUCH, MORE! It’s the BEST money your district will spend on social studies PD all year. Get there!

(PS . . . the video is an example of me completely out of my comfort zone. I hate watching myself on tape. But I ask my students to step outside their comfort zones. Every. Single. Day. It’s only fair that I should too.)

*Look for part 2 of Don Gifford’s series on assessments on Wednesday. We thought Jill’s boot camp was too good and timely so we preempted all that assessment talk.

Reading fiction is good for your students. Shocker. 21 lists to get you started

I’ve got a problem for you to solve. So go find your thinking cap.

Ready?

Here’s the problem. In 60 seconds, list all the ways that reading fiction is good for you.

And . . . go. (Feel free to Google it. I’m okay with that.)

Ready to compare lists?

Reading:

Fiction can expand our view of both ourselves and others:

The humanities interrogate us. They challenge our sense of who we are, even of who our brothers and sisters might be.

“It could have been me” is the threshold for the vistas that literature and art make available to us . . . education is not about memorizing poems or knowing when X wrote Y, and what Z had to say about it. It is, instead, about the human record that is available to us in libraries and museums and theaters and online. But that record lives and breathes; it is not calculable or teachable via numbers or bullet points. Instead, it requires something that we never fail to do before buying clothes: Trying the garment on.

Art and literature are tried on. Reading a book, seeing a painting or a play or a film: Such encounters are fueled by affect as well as intelligence. Much “fleshing out” happens here: We invest the art with our own feelings, but the art comes to live inside us, adding to our own repertoire. Art obliges us to “first-personalize” the world. Our commerce with art makes us fellow travelers: to other cultures, other values, other selves.

So what’s our conclusion? Continue reading Reading fiction is good for your students. Shocker. 21 lists to get you started

So. What will you be reading this summer?

Today’s post is a cross post from Glenn Wiebe and his History Tech site. Glenn loves to read and today, he shares about his habit of creating a summer reading list.

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Long time History Tech readers already know this. Every summer, I make a list of books I plan to read between now and September. Long time History Tech readers also know this. Not once, not ever, a couple of times I came close but never ever, have I actually finished the list.

There’s always been something. I get distracted with a new book that comes out or some event happens that pulls me in a different direction. But some day . . . some day, it’s gonna happen. I’m trying to be realistic this year. Part of me says; yes, this summer it’s gonna happen – you’re going on a long anniversary trip to a tropical beach without the tech. Tons of time for book reading while sipping cool beverages under an umbrella.

The other part of me says; not a chance – as soon as you get home, the World Cup starts and the rest of June and part of July are shot to h, e, double hockey sticks. So we’ll see. (But it does help with the reading goal that the US team apparently forgot how to play the game and didn’t qualify, giving me less reason to watch. Go Iceland.)

The whole idea here got started moons ago when I first started teaching and some very smart people encouraged me to not take the summers off. They’re the perfect time for learning, they said. Read a book, they said. Maybe two or more, they said.

So I did. And they were right. We need to keep learning, keep asking questions, keep moving forward. And what better time for that than between now and September? Some summers I start with a specific theme. This year? Not so much. Just a few books that look interesting or fun to read.

Here’s the 2018 list – fingers crossed: Continue reading So. What will you be reading this summer?

3 things you need to to do before the end of the school year

Seriously? It’s the middle of May already?

There was snow just a few weeks ago and today kids all over are in final countdown mode. But before you close the door on 2017-2018, there are three things you need to do.

1. You need to reflect

As professionals we have an obligation to reflect on a personal level about our own best practice. Constant improvement is a good thing.

I would always try to spend time reflecting at the end of the year: Continue reading 3 things you need to to do before the end of the school year