All posts by meganklassen

About meganklassen

I teach 6th grade Pre-AP social studies and 8th grade American History at McPherson Middle School and am on the board for KCSS.

How I use “Discrepant Event Inquiry” in my classroom

A few years ago, I was introduced to “Discrepant Event Inquiry” from Glenn Wiebe. (Here is another post about it from his History Tech blog). The idea is that you take an image and only reveal a little bit at a time. As I reveal a little bit of the picture, the students must guess Who is in the picture, What is happening, When was the photograph taken, and Where is this taking place. This encourages students to think outside the box and it also does WONDERS with questioning and how to ask the right questions. Naturally, I turned this into a competition. Continue reading How I use “Discrepant Event Inquiry” in my classroom

Integrating Technology in Social Studies Curriculum

Here are some happenings within the social studies department at my school:

About a year ago, my social studies department decided we wanted to step outside of the box. We were tired of sharing our building-wide computer carts and iPad cart with the other departments (especially ELA – what ever happened to hand-writing an essay?). Our administrators were totally on board and willing to support us in any way that they could.

We contemplated many different options before settling on Discovery Education’s new curriculum – the Techbook. No we didn’t spend our summer’s creating our own iBooks – that will come later, at least for me. But we were preparing ourselves for some intense professional training a few weeks before school started from Discovery Education to introduce us to this new curriculum.

However, in true eduction fashion, that training didn’t happen before school started, and our new iPad minis (One cart for every social studies teacher! I feel blessed!) weren’t placed in their new otter boxes and weren’t configured with apps that would enhance our teaching experience, hooked in to the shiny new carts placed in our classrooms, ready for students to use on the first day. Continue reading Integrating Technology in Social Studies Curriculum

13 Colonies Narrative Chain

Brain research shows that neurons that fire together wire together. When teaching concepts we want students to remember, it’s important to give them different ways to store those concepts in their long term memory. By using a narrative chain, my students are saying, seeing, and doing the information I want them to remember.

But what does that look like?

Continue reading 13 Colonies Narrative Chain

Why study history? A 3rd day of school lesson….

Blogs this time of the year are full of wonderful ideas for the first day of school. I would like to share with you a lesson that I do on the 3rd or 4th day of school after all procedural things are taken care of.

I start off by brainstorming with the kids – asking the question “What don’t you like about history?” We write their answers on a flip chart.

Then I show them this awesome YouTube video by jhayesteach.  It highlights a small little speck of the amazingly cool things about history! Continue reading Why study history? A 3rd day of school lesson….

Chicken Foot

A great activity I like to use with my students is called “Chicken Foot”.

  1. They love the name.
  2. It’s a good way to teach students to pick out the main points of a text, primary source document, picture, etc.

I learned this strategy at a Pre-AP Summer Institute I went to in 2010 in Norman, Oklahoma. After viewing the document, students write the main idea on the “leg”, then they pick three points or elements of the text that the students feel are super important and that everyone needs to know about the document. They write the three main points on the “toes” (if that’s what they are!). Continue reading Chicken Foot