I come from the world of middle schoolers. I spent six years teaching ancient history to 6th graders and American history to 8th graders. So it was a shock to many of my colleagues when I decided to make the jump from tweens to teens last year.
After going through a mixture of emotions about my content change, I was so excited when I received my course load. American history (Yay! I can pick up where I left off!) and an elective – Sociology. I feel that Sociology is a dream class for social studies nerds. It literally incorporates everything and anything you can imagine: American history, world history, geography, psychology, science, current events, ethics, morals, values, beliefs, culture, religion. I could keep going and going. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was my department head to tell me that there is no real curriculum in place for this semester-long course. I was starting with basically nothing.
Enter Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers! I was able to find some amazing resources online. The ones that stood out the most revolved around the popular podcast, Serial. I had never listened to it but had heard that it was extremely addictive. So when I found these incredible materials created by Mike Godsey on TeachersPayTeachers, I dove in headfirst with my students.
What is Serial about?
Continue reading Serious about Serial
Our state standards here in Kansas are a bit different than most other states. We focus on five big ideas rather than specific content. It’s a great idea based on research but it can be difficult at times for our teachers to align their instruction. And I know that many of you around the country are always on the lookout for quality Econ resources and lesson plans.
The Kansas and national Councils for Economic Education are just the thing!
A quick example. The first Kansas standard is Choices Have Consequences. (And I know that there are similar sorts of standards and benchmarks around the country.) So how might we design instruction that aligns to that? Continue reading KCEE and CEE are just the thing for standards aligned lessons
In my previous post I wrote of the inspiration I gained from H.W. Brands’ book American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865-1900; specifically how Brands discussion of the dueling natures of capitalism and democracy could lead to a solid classroom discussion in an 11th grade US History course.
This post is regarding another aspect of Brands’ thesis, something that Brands calls the ascendancy cycle in American history. What follows is far from a polished lesson, but instead the beginnings of an idea that hopefully will result in something beneficial for my students.
In the book, Brands claims that the competition between the forces of pure capitalism and pure democracy can be used to characterize the last 200 years of American history. This competition has resulted in the proponents of each of these founding principles consolidating power, furthering their beliefs, losing that power to the opposing group as they create policy furthering their agenda, so on and so forth. I believe that looking at US history through this lens provides students a concrete example of the ebbs and flows of American politics and how these elections can fundamentally alter the course of the nation. Continue reading Inspiration from American Colossus Part Two: The Ascendancy Cycle
We’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