Today’s post is written by Cheney, Kansas middle and high social studies teacher Jill Weber. Jill is the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year.
Gone are the days in which reading novels and writing essays belonged solely in an ELA classroom. All subjects are now expected to (and should) be integrating and supporting the reading and writing skills that students are taught in Language Arts class.
“But, but . . . I went to college to be a history teacher, not an English teacher. I don’t know HOW to teach ELA!”
That was me. Seriously. I was ready to fight teaching reading and writing skills as long as I could.
Jill 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.
Jill 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.
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 TrainingNotebook 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.