Category Archives: instructional gaming

Five great back to school ideas for social studies teachers

have a great first day

(Head over here for the latest back to school post!)

We have two very simple unbendable, unbreakable rules in our house. No Christmas music allowed before Thanksgiving. No talking about school before August.

It’s August. So . . . we’re talking about school.

Spoiler alert.

If you’re not already at school, you’re heading there soon.

And you probably already have some idea of what you and your students will be doing during the first few days of school. But it’s always nice to have a few extra tips and tricks in your bookbag to start off the school year.

So today? Five great ideas that can be adapted for just about any grade level or content. Use what you can. Adapt what you can’t. Add your own ideas in the comments.

What not to do

Before we get to the good stuff, it’s probably a good idea to think about what doesn’t work. Continue reading Five great back to school ideas for social studies teachers

Find the best apps, games, and sites with Graphite

graphite 4

The digital landscape that you and your kids have to navigate has exploded. Mobile technology, apps, instant access, digital content. The stuff is everywhere. And all of that stuff is changing how we do school.

But sometimes it feels like there is just too much. Sometimes it’s easier to just throw up our hands and try to ignore everything out there. How do we sort through all of it? We need unbiased and relevant information that can help us find the best of what we’re looking for.

And now there’s help. Enter Graphite, a free tool designed just for educators.

Graphite is a service Continue reading Find the best apps, games, and sites with Graphite

Who doesn’t love playing games?

Recently, during an inservice, we were discussing vocabulary and creative ways to help students study and learn their vocabulary words.  Several great ideas were presented, but my favorite has quickly become Quizlet.  You can either access this program online at or download the app onto iPads for quicker access.  What I find most beneficial about Quizlet is that the students get to play fun games, and Quizlet will produce a test and grade it for you (what teacher wouldn’t love that!). Continue reading Who doesn’t love playing games?

The Game Is Afoot!

In a soliloquy from Henry V, the title character announces “the game is afoot” in encouraging his men to battle.  That is how I oft feel about my teaching repertoire.  One of the things that I absolutely love in my teaching is the use of games and simulations to immerse students in the context and experience of social studies content.  What is better to teach students about the areas of our content by having them do it.  With games, I find it more efficient and more interesting to have them play a game to find out about an event, rather than a dry lecture or textbook worksheet..  Fortunately, I stumbled across a site for fellow game-junkies that has high-quality online games for you to utilize in your classroom.   Continue reading The Game Is Afoot!