Category Archives: Adam Topliff

It’s the most troublesome time of the year . . . engaging kids at the end

Happy Monday! Anyone have a countdown to the end of school? As we near the final stretch of another crazy school year we once again face the challenge of keeping kids excited and engaged. I thought I would share something that I discussed at the end of last school year to give you a couple of ideas to keep those creative juices flowing.

So, it’s April . . . track meets, warm weather, field trips, crazy schedules, finals, and we’re supposed to keep kids engaged?  Maybe one of the greatest challenges in education is the end of the year. How do we find creative ways to keep kids interested in learning?

One popular survival mechanism is plugging in a movie that is connected to your curriculum.  Do you really think the kids will find it much fun to watch Gettysburg and complete a worksheet connected to the movie?  Sometimes we are required to give a semester final but to ask the kids to take a long drawn out test that you may not be interested in grading when the school year is done lacks a lot of appeal. Frankly, the last month of a school year can be a real struggle and make you feel like our friend pictured above, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to inject a little creativity into your year-end routine.

So as we get near the end of the year, try one of these game changers: Continue reading It’s the most troublesome time of the year . . . engaging kids at the end

Building The Profession By Building Relationships With Teacher Ed Programs

adam-topliff

Adam Topliff teaches 8th Grade social studies & civics at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, KS.  And loves all things Hamilton!


 

KSU

Let’s take a field trip. I want you to travel back to your college days.  

OK . . . before we go any further, this is not traveling back to all the parts of college. There may be a few details that you would like to forget or some events that you can’t quite remember as clearly as you might hope. 

But I do want you to take a quick memory ride back to your education classes, specifically your methods of instruction class.

What do you remember from the class? What were you able to take from that class that was designed to help you prepare to go into the classroom and be the teacher you aspired to become?  I can’t speak for all the colleges but I can say I took mountain of information from my methods class at Emporia State. (Thanks Dr. Mallein!)

The thing I liked the most is that the class was truly an active lab of learning how to teach beyond just the Social Studies. This was about teaching kids.  Everything from lesson plan design, to effectively implementing small groups, was geared to see the importance of the student first, not the content. Those lessons have greatly influenced my own thinking and methods as a middle school teacher.

You may not have had a similar experience. If you didn’t, I hope you were able to connect later with others in the profession who helped you grow. And I hope that you’re now motivated to help build the profession by finding ways to support and encourage others in becoming quality social studies educators.

How can we continue to build awesome social studies teachers? Continue reading Building The Profession By Building Relationships With Teacher Ed Programs

It’s The Most Troublesome Time Of The Year…Engaging Kids At The End.

adam-topliff

This week’s blogger is Adam Topliff: I teach 8th Grade Social Studies & Civics at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, KS.  I love all things Hamilton!


 

Summer Vacation Meme

So, it’s May… track meets, warm weather, field trips, crazy schedules, finals, and we’re supposed to keep kids engaged?  Maybe one of the greatest challenges in education is the end of the year. How do we find creative ways to keep kids interested in learning.

One popular survival mechanism is plugging in a movie that is connected to your curriculum.  Do you really think the kids will find it much fun to watch Gettysburg and complete a worksheet connected to the movie?  Sometimes we are required to give a semester final, but to ask the kids to take a long drawn out test that you may not be interested in grading when the school year is done lacks a lot of appeal. Frankly, the last month of a school year can be a real struggle and make you feel like our friend pictured above, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to inject a little creativity into your year-end routine.

Next May, try one of these game changers: Continue reading It’s The Most Troublesome Time Of The Year…Engaging Kids At The End.

Summer Road Trip – Have Fun And Get Some Professional Development

adam-topliff

This week’s blogger is Adam Topliff: He teaches 8th Grade Social Studies and Civics at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, KS.  Adam loves all things Hamilton!

 

summer_roadtrip_2013_720

Congratulations! You’ve made it to summer! Now take a deep breath and relax for moment.  You should allow yourself some quality time with your family, catch up on some reading (ask Glenn Wiebe if you are looking for some good reads), and maybe do some things to make yourself better at your craft.  

In recent years, summer professional development has become a popular trend and is taking on many forms.  There are great webinars and online opportunities.  Check out Twitter. You will find a great variety of chats and great people posting awesome ideas to steal.  You can partake in the face to face opportunities (insert my shameless plug for KSDE Summer Institutes) along with many other organizations that have great professional development options.  These might not be for you, either because of time or resources, but that does not mean you can’t get some quality professional development.

I love to use my summer family road trips to squeeze in some quality self-paced professional development.  Every summer, the Topliff Crew heads to a variety of places around this great state and nation to explore and expose our kids to as much as we can. This summer, we have planned four days in New York City and we are pretty pumped! Each year as we plan our trip, I look into what the area has to offer historically.  With New York City, the trip practically planned itself.  We included many things related to Hamilton, including a visit to the famed Fraunces Tavern. Continue reading Summer Road Trip – Have Fun And Get Some Professional Development

Who Has Influenced Mankind? Let Your Students Be The Judge Of That – The Historical Hall Of Fame

adam-topliffThis week’s post comes to you from Adam Topliff: I teach 8th Grade Social Studies & Civics at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, KS.  I love all things Hamilton!

 

 

Spring Break History Nerdfest for the Topliff Family took us to lovely Kansas City and man, it was amazing.  We took in the Negro League Baseball and National World War I Museums, looked out over the city atop the Liberty Memorial, and got our fill of great KC BBQ. (Thanks Arthur Bryant’s!)  As we took in all of the great stories at the museums, my family and I discussed all the powerful stories of people who have impacted the story of us.  So many people of our past never have their story told, primarily because they may not be seen as the big names of history.  

Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy are names that will show up in every text book, but they are not the only influential people that have shaped our history.  The story of us is filled with millions of ordinary people that might not have stories that flash off the page, but they are just as critical.  This important part of telling history became the backbone for a project I created called The Historical Hall of Fame.

A decade ago, in my first year at Wamego Middle School, I was looking for a long term project that would engage my students in one of the most difficult times of the year, after state testing and weeks before the end of the school.  Being a fairly new teacher, I struggled to find something that my students could manage. Continue reading Who Has Influenced Mankind? Let Your Students Be The Judge Of That – The Historical Hall Of Fame