Category Archives: common core

Who’s your “most famous American?”

wineburgIf you ‘ve had a chance to spend any amount of time with me, you know what I think of historian and author Sam Wineburg.

Class?

That’s right. He’s a stud.

And I recently ran across some work he did several years ago that I think is interesting. Sam and colleague Chauncey Monte-Sano interviewed 4,000 people – half of whom were juniors and seniors in high school and the other half over the age of 45. It was a very simple survey. Wineburg asked each participant to list ten names in response to one question:

Who are the most famous Americans in history, excluding presidents and first ladies?

Feel free to post your answer below in the comments. We’ll wait.

You back?

In today’s “fragmented society,” one might expect two very different lists – one consisting of rap stars and actors and the other listing a few of the Founding Fathers, Edison, and perhaps Helen Keller. What the two researchers discovered was something very different. Continue reading Who’s your “most famous American?”

H.I.T. Notebooks: A Different take on Interactive Notebooks

jill weberJill Weber, 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year, has joined the Doing Social Studies writing team and will be posting throughout the year. The following is a cross-post from her excellent site A View of the Web.


I used Interactive Notebooks in my social studies class for eight years.  The majority of the students loved them.  But I had a serious love/hate relationship with them.  And after taking a long look at the pros and cons of the books and my current curriculum, I decided not to continue with the interactive notebooks last year.

While I found it a relief not having to keep up with the grading of 60+ notebooks, there was something missing from my class.  I had a number of kids ask me why we weren’t doing them anymore, and others who were disappointed that the “hands on” cutting, pasting, and creativity was replaced with more writing assignments.  I felt guilty that my answer was “because I just couldn’t keep up with all the grading.”

That got me thinking on ways that I could bring the interactive notebooks idea back without having all the copious grading that went with it.  I talked with our language arts teacher, who uses her interactive notebooks as a tool to help organize materials and doesn’t grade it at all.  I liked that idea.

But I wanted more.  I wanted a way to hold kids accountable.  I wanted them to take pride in the organization and appearance of the book.  And, most of all, I wanted it to be used as something more than a storage device.  I want it to be something they will reference throughout the year.

The Idea:
Then an idea started to take form.  An idea to use the notebook more like a detective’s note book when trying to solve a crime.

So this year, we have: the  Historian In Training Notebook or HIT books. (HIT is a cool name for a middle school activity, right? )

The HIT notebook will be designed as sort of a history detective notebook that we’ll use to identify historical thinking techniques, analyze primary sources, keep information over specific historical questions, and refer back to skills learned throughout the year.

A few examples of possible pages  . . .  Continue reading H.I.T. Notebooks: A Different take on Interactive Notebooks

6 C’s for analyzing primary sources

history project logo

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the instructional strategy pendulum swing over to encouraging more use of evidence by students to solve authentic problems. And there’s tons of stuff out there to help us and students make sense of primary and secondary sources.

You’ve got the Library of Congress primary source analysis worksheets. You’ve got the awesome stuff bySam Wineburg and Stanford. There’s the DocsTeach site by the National Archives as well as all of their document analysis lessons / worksheets. And lots of things like Historical Thinking Matters and Historical Scene Investigation.

But a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of the excellent work that the History Project at the University of California, Irvine does with helping student evaluate evidence. We have been perhaps overloaded with Wineburg’s stuff so much that we don’t think that we need to go out and look for other types of tools.

Don’t get me wrong, Sam. I absolutely love your stuff. Sourcing, contextulization, corroborating. I am all in. But we always said that it’s okay to date other people. And the History Project has some useful stuff.

I especially like their 6 C’s of Primary Source Analysis graphic organizer. Continue reading 6 C’s for analyzing primary sources

A Guide to a New Type of Test

I got to know Jill Weber about five years ago when we started our second Teaching American History grant at ESSDACK. And she’s been great about opening up her classroom in a variety of ways including posting ideas and strategies on her blog A View of the Web.

Jill recently shared a post with our study group that she is allowing us to cross-post. Enjoy!

glennw

—————————-

My 7th graders will be taking their first test for me this week.  I thought this would be a good time to talk about what a Social Studies test in Mrs. Weber’s class looks like.

Social Studies has changed.  Teachers should be implementing activities, lessons, and strategies to help students read and analyze primary sources, think critically, and “do” history.  We should be teaching kids how to become historians.  How to question sources, look at conflicting view points, and draw conclusions based on the evidence that is given to us.

But what does that LOOK LIKE?

And what does it look like on a TEST?

I have spent the last three years developing a method for creating unit tests/assessments that involve more analysis and application as opposed to simple regurgitation of facts.

Here’s a taste of what you will and won’t see on one of my tests. 
Continue reading A Guide to a New Type of Test

Test drive the C4 Framework – Win a prize!

C4-logoAfter years of sitting on the margins of instructional practice, social studies is getting a makeover. The Common Core is calling for the teaching of literacy through the integration of fiction and non-fiction into our instruction. In August 2013, the National Council for the Social Studies published the complementary College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

Both the Common Core and College, Career, and Civic Life standards support a different approach to teaching and learning social studies than what we saw as part of No Child Left Behind. Instead of focusing on memorizing specific content measured by multiple choice tests, students are now being asked to do social studies – to think historically, to solve problems, to read, write, and communicate. As teachers, we are being asked to find a balance between foundational knowledge and the authentic use of that knowledge.

But it can be difficult. What does that balance look like in actual practice? Continue reading Test drive the C4 Framework – Win a prize!