Most of you are already familiar with the idea of document analysis worksheets. These sorts of tools are perfect for scaffolding historical thinking skills for your kids. Some of the best, created by the Library of Congress and the National Archives, have been around for years. I also really like the stuff created by the Stanford History Education group, especially their Historical Thinking Chart.
We should be using all of those evidence analysis tools with our kids. They can be especially helpful for training elementary and middle school students to gather and organize evidence while solving authentic problems. And for high school kids without a strong background in historical thinking skills, the tools provided by the LOC, NARA, and SHEG are incredibly handy to help guide their thinking.
But what about other types of graphic organizers? Are there some organizers you should be using but aren’t? Spoiler alert. Yes.
Before we jump into the fabulous five, a quick graphic organizer 101 review.
Brain research tells us that mental images are powerful tools that support cognitive tasks and that by creating unique mental pictures, our students deepen their understanding, attach new information to prior knowledge, and create new learning. Graphic organizers are “visual and spatial displays that arrange information graphically so that key concepts and the relationships among the concepts are displayed” (Gunter, Estes, and Mintz 2007).
They can present information textually, with images or symbols, or a combination of both. Graphic organizers give kids a clear strategy to gather, process, organize, and prioritize information. All things that are encouraged by Common Core lit standards, the NCSS national standards, and the Kansas social studies document.
Okay . . . what five graphic organizers should all social studies teachers be using but probably aren’t? Continue reading 5 graphic organizers you’re probably not using but should be
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the instructional strategy pendulum swing over to encouraging more use of evidence by students to solve authentic problems. And there’s tons of stuff out there to help us and students make sense of primary and secondary sources.
You’ve got the Library of Congress primary source analysis worksheets. You’ve got the awesome stuff bySam Wineburg and Stanford. There’s the DocsTeach site by the National Archives as well as all of their document analysis lessons / worksheets. And lots of things like Historical Thinking Matters and Historical Scene Investigation.
But a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of the excellent work that the History Project at the University of California, Irvine does with helping student evaluate evidence. We have been perhaps overloaded with Wineburg’s stuff so much that we don’t think that we need to go out and look for other types of tools.
Don’t get me wrong, Sam. I absolutely love your stuff. Sourcing, contextulization, corroborating. I am all in. But we always said that it’s okay to date other people. And the History Project has some useful stuff.
I especially like their 6 C’s of Primary Source Analysis graphic organizer. Continue reading 6 C’s for analyzing primary sources
Here are some happenings within the social studies department at my school:
About a year ago, my social studies department decided we wanted to step outside of the box. We were tired of sharing our building-wide computer carts and iPad cart with the other departments (especially ELA – what ever happened to hand-writing an essay?). Our administrators were totally on board and willing to support us in any way that they could.
We contemplated many different options before settling on Discovery Education’s new curriculum – the Techbook. No we didn’t spend our summer’s creating our own iBooks – that will come later, at least for me. But we were preparing ourselves for some intense professional training a few weeks before school started from Discovery Education to introduce us to this new curriculum.
However, in true eduction fashion, that training didn’t happen before school started, and our new iPad minis (One cart for every social studies teacher! I feel blessed!) weren’t placed in their new otter boxes and weren’t configured with apps that would enhance our teaching experience, hooked in to the shiny new carts placed in our classrooms, ready for students to use on the first day. Continue reading Integrating Technology in Social Studies Curriculum
If you’re a US or World history teacher and are looking for great primary sources, you only have to go as far as the Library of Congress Teacher page. The LOC has so much great stuff, it’s sometimes hard to get out of there.
But I especially love the work the LOC staff has done to create what they call Primary Source Sets. Primary Source Sets are collections of goodies that focus on a particular theme or topic. I’ve added information below for 25 of my favorite sets but be sure to check out the entire list. You also can search the sets by specific state standards.
For each set, you get a downloadable Teacher’s Guide with historical context, instructional suggestions and links to more online resources. This is exactly the sort of stuff that the newly approved Kansas state standards are asking us to use with our kids. You also get a ton of primary sources and analysis worksheets. It’s a very cool place to find stuff that can engage our students in content and historical thinking.
My favs in alphabetical order: Continue reading Library of Congress Primary Source Sets