Category Archives: Megan Klassen

13 Colonies Narrative Chain

Brain research shows that neurons that fire together wire together. When teaching concepts we want students to remember, it’s important to give them different ways to store those concepts in their long term memory. By using a narrative chain, my students are saying, seeing, and doing the information I want them to remember.

But what does that look like?

Continue reading 13 Colonies Narrative Chain

Why study history? A 3rd day of school lesson….

Blogs this time of the year are full of wonderful ideas for the first day of school. I would like to share with you a lesson that I do on the 3rd or 4th day of school after all procedural things are taken care of.

I start off by brainstorming with the kids – asking the question “What don’t you like about history?” We write their answers on a flip chart.

Then I show them this awesome YouTube video by jhayesteach.  It highlights a small little speck of the amazingly cool things about history! Continue reading Why study history? A 3rd day of school lesson….

Chicken Foot

A great activity I like to use with my students is called “Chicken Foot”.

  1. They love the name.
  2. It’s a good way to teach students to pick out the main points of a text, primary source document, picture, etc.

I learned this strategy at a Pre-AP Summer Institute I went to in 2010 in Norman, Oklahoma. After viewing the document, students write the main idea on the “leg”, then they pick three points or elements of the text that the students feel are super important and that everyone needs to know about the document. They write the three main points on the “toes” (if that’s what they are!). Continue reading Chicken Foot

A different type of professional development

Ok, we all know that one of the perks of being a teacher is that for about a month and a half we can think of this other than school. But if any of you are like me (which I’m guessing since you’re reading this blog in the summertime – you probably are!) summer isn’t as leisurely as people think. I feel that summer is a perfect time to reflect on my teaching philosophy, think about new things I want to try in my classroom, read blogs, maybe attend a workshop here and there, find ideas on the internet for experience-enhancing activities, and so on. The beauty of being a teacher is that we get to try things over and over again if we messed up the first time! I’m so happy that I get a new set of kiddos in August because I learn so much over the summer. USE YOUR FREE TIME WISELY! There aren’t many other careers where employees are given almost two months to just…reflect. Continue reading A different type of professional development

Writing your own textbook isn’t as scary as you think . . .

Well, it’s a little scary . . . but the rewards outweigh the scariness, I promise!

ImageOur social studies department has been working for the past year to come up with a new curriculum that replaces textbooks from a publishing company. There has been a lot of discussion at PLC meetings and a lot of attending professional development workshops.

I first heard the term eBooks from Glenn Wiebe when he met with elementary and middle school social studies teachers to discuss the new state standards and strategies we can use in our classroom to go along with them. But it wasn’t until I attended the workshop “Creating Content with Apple’s “iBook Author” with Kendall Warkentine (Derby USD) at the KCSS No Citizen Left Behind conference last fall in Topeka that I really started processing the idea of creating my own content. Continue reading Writing your own textbook isn’t as scary as you think . . .