Tag Archives: common core

Most influential people of all time (US version)

A recent Time magazine article lists what it calls the 20 most influential Americans of all time. It’s an interesting list. Four presidents, two social activists, two women, assorted scientists and inventors, a couple of explorers, and an athlete and musician thrown in for good measure. Many famous, a few not so much.

And like the 100 most important American documents, open for debate. Why Steve Jobs and not that Microsoft guy? Why only two women? A boxer? Really? Continue reading Most influential people of all time (US version)

4 reasons for not using primary sources (And 27 strategies for eliminating those reasons)

nokes book

I’ve cross-posted this article from History Tech because the article discussed below is just that useful. So . . . if you’ve already seen this, head back to the article and keep reading!


As the discipline continues to shift its practice towards asking kids to solve problems using evidence and encouraging the development of historical thinking skills, more and more social studies teachers are integrating the use of primary sources into their instructional designs. Several days ago, I posted a quick overview that highlighted 10 things to think about while using primary sources.

And if you’ve been reading History Tech for any amount of time, you know that I love the use of evidence – especially the use of primary sources.

But what if we’re wrong?

What if using primary sources is so difficult that many of our students just aren’t able to do it? Could we just be wasting a bunch of time that would be better used with direct instruction? Continue reading 4 reasons for not using primary sources (And 27 strategies for eliminating those reasons)

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!



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

Trading Cards, ReadWriteThink, and the Common Core

trading card 1We’ve always asked our kids to read. Informational text. Primary sources. Non-fiction. Fiction. Poetry. We’ve always asked our kids to write. Summaries. Research. Reviews. Reaction papers.

At least, that’s been the theory. Good social studies and history instruction has always included these things but I think that sometimes we can forget how critical reading and writing skills are to what we do. The Common Core, for better or worse, has been a good reminder for us. We need to have our kids read, write, and communicate much more.

The problem for many of us?

Uh . . . what does that look like again?

Continue reading Trading Cards, ReadWriteThink, and the Common Core

Some sweet sites for historical thinking

The new buzz word in social studies instruction?

Historical thinking.

Okay. Yes. It’s two words but it’s still pretty buzzy. The idea of historical thinking has been hanging around as part of social studies instruction for a long time. But it’s sort of been like that weird second cousin who shows up at family reunions that no one really talks to. We haven’t been paying much attention to it.

But with new state standards and Common Core literacy stuff, not to mention the new College,Career, and Civic Life standards, historical thinking is back where it really belongs. As the central part of everything we do. And because it’s been at the weird second cousin status for so long, many teachers don’t have a ton of historical thinking resources.

So today . . . three sweet web sites that provide primary source raw data and lesson plans / resources that support historical thinking skills. Continue reading Some sweet sites for historical thinking