Category Archives: curriculum

Zoom In to history

jill weberJill Weber, 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year and teacher at Cheney Middle School, joined the Doing Social Studies writing team last year. The following is a cross-post from her site A View of the Web.

——–

About 3 years ago I was first introduced to a new web program called Zoom In.  They were financed by the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation and were trying to create an online platform to help students use historical thinking skills, and help teachers learn how to best instruct these skills.  Because, let’s face it.  Most of us were NOT taught this way, and most of us were not instructed on HOW to teach this way.

For me it was love at first sight.

And then I got the bad news.  The program wasn’t completely iPad friendly, and we are 1:1 iPads.

But I was too much in love with this idea to just let it go.  So I did what I do best . . . Continue reading Zoom In to history

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?”

The Room Where it Happens

This week’s blogger is Joe Zlatnik, 8th grade American History teacher in the Basehor-Linwood school district near Kansas City.

—————

hamilton-logoThe Broadway musical, Hamilton, is everywhere! In the past year, the musical has become a cultural phenomena that has taken the US by storm. As a lover of history, I was quick to jump on the Hamilton bandwagon. History tied in with incredible music and lyrics is a powerful medium for telling a story that many Americans are not familiar with.

I always understood Alexander Hamilton as the antithesis to Thomas Jefferson. He was the “bad guy” in the story who favored strong, British-style governmental institutions and industrialization while Jefferson favored smaller government and a more agrarian society. After listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and doing some research, I discovered that this popular version of history is not entirely accurate.

But while it is true that not all details in the musical are historically accurate, the overall story is one worth listening to and one worth introducing to your students. Continue reading The Room Where it Happens

Interact sims and lesson plans get two thumbs up

Today’s guest is Megan Neiman, a high school social studies teacher at McPherson High School in McPherson, Kansas and the current secretary for the Kansas Council for the Social Studies.

———-

You know those big orange SOCIAL STUDIES SCHOOL SERVICE catalogs that social studies teachers around the country receive a few times a year? The ones that we always thumb through and think “oh, that looks nice,” and “that looks like an interesting video!”

You know the ones I’m talking about. Well, I actually tried something from it! The curriculum is called Interact and I’ve had some wonderful experiences over the past few years implementing it in my classrooms.

What is Interact?

Interact is a curriculum designed to let students learn through experiences. It’s written by teachers for teachers and closely follows the old proverb, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” In a series of different units, students compete in challenges, follow simulations, and participate in assessments that help them develop skills across the curriculum and enhance the use of cooperative learning.

Each unit comes in a different book and contains anywhere from three to 20 class periods of activities. Interact supplements learning so students actually remember content because they are involved in their learning. Each book contains a teacher’s guide, purpose and overview, daily lesson plans, student materials, time management guidelines, and support materials. Interact activities require students to analyze tasks and evaluate how to apply their knowledge to create the assigned product. Most units also have activities that can be enhanced by participation from parents, administrators, or community members. This is great for promoting civic engagement and a connection to the community.

How do I use it in the classroom?

Continue reading Interact sims and lesson plans get two thumbs up