Tag Archives: historical thinking

Use Crop It tools to help elementary kids think historically

One of the easiest but most effective strategies for having younger kids work with primary sources is called Crop It. In some ways, it’s a lot like my Evidence Analysis Window Frame but I really like the flexibility embedded in the Crop It idea. The idea is pretty simple: students use L-shaped paper “cropping” tools to explore a visual primary source.

One of the problems that we often face is finding ways to help students see details – and to make sense of those details – when viewing a primary source. Photos, paintings, and graphics can contain a ton of specifics that get missed if students don’t take the time to look for them.

Crop It slows the process down so that students scan a source at a deep level and think about what they’re looking at. It gives them a way to find evidence, see multiple viewpoints, and gain a more detailed understanding of a primary source.

This strategy works especially well with elementary and middle school students to help them develop and support historical thinking. And the cool thing is that you can use it with all sorts of visual sources. Continue reading Use Crop It tools to help elementary kids think historically

Zoom In to history

jill weberJill 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.

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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.

But I was too much in love with this idea to just let it go.  So I did what I do best . . . Continue reading Zoom In to history

Interact sims and lesson plans get two thumbs up

Today’s guest is Megan Neiman, a high school social studies teacher at McPherson High School in McPherson, Kansas and the current secretary for the Kansas Council for the Social Studies.

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You know those big orange SOCIAL STUDIES SCHOOL SERVICE catalogs that social studies teachers around the country receive a few times a year? The ones that we always thumb through and think “oh, that looks nice,” and “that looks like an interesting video!”

You know the ones I’m talking about. Well, I actually tried something from it! The curriculum is called Interact and I’ve had some wonderful experiences over the past few years implementing it in my classrooms.

What is Interact?

Interact is a curriculum designed to let students learn through experiences. It’s written by teachers for teachers and closely follows the old proverb, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” In a series of different units, students compete in challenges, follow simulations, and participate in assessments that help them develop skills across the curriculum and enhance the use of cooperative learning.

Each unit comes in a different book and contains anywhere from three to 20 class periods of activities. Interact supplements learning so students actually remember content because they are involved in their learning. Each book contains a teacher’s guide, purpose and overview, daily lesson plans, student materials, time management guidelines, and support materials. Interact activities require students to analyze tasks and evaluate how to apply their knowledge to create the assigned product. Most units also have activities that can be enhanced by participation from parents, administrators, or community members. This is great for promoting civic engagement and a connection to the community.

How do I use it in the classroom?

Continue reading Interact sims and lesson plans get two thumbs up

MBQs – Using Media Based Questions to support historical thinking

reece-1I was having a conversation with my two twenty-something children a few weeks ago and referenced an old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial. You know the one.

The one where two people, one eating peanut butter and the other chocolate, bump into each other? The one where they’re both heading headphones, listening to their Sony Walkmans, and don’t see each other until it’s too late.

“Hey! You got peanut butter on my chocolate.” “Hey! You got chocolate in my peanut butter.”

Yeah. My kids obviously didn’t remember either. It’s an ancient ad but I think of it often when we’re talking about app mashups and tweaking tech tools to do things they’re not really designed to do. Cause chocolate and peanut butter is as delicious together as is iMovie and Tellagami.

I shared the Reece’s reference with my kids because earlier in the day I had spent some time talking Google tools with a group of tech integration coaches. Part of that time was spent exploring the possibilities of mashing up Google My Maps and Forms. And over the last few days, my brain has been going back to different things that we could be doing with Google Forms.

So.

I love document based questions. I love the Stanford History Education Group’s Beyond the Bubble mini-assessment tool. And we know that I love the Google.

The mashup? Continue reading MBQs – Using Media Based Questions to support historical thinking

Winning the RACE of writing

student-at-computerStudents + writing = frustration . . . sound like familiar?

The growing expectation of integrating writing  in our Social Studies classroom makes us as anxious about the process as our students. Why does this happen? There are a variety of factors that contribute to this fear and frustration but the most common that I hear from other teachers is

I don’t have a solid system to assist my kids with writing.

We teach a topic and then assess students by asking them to write a response or reaction. What do we get back? Continue reading Winning the RACE of writing