I try to infuse some aspect of vocabulary instruction into everything I do in my classroom. Almost every day begins with an A-B partner vocabulary review of the current unit's vocabulary terms as a warm up. Each interactive note presentation includes a "focus vocabulary" section at the beginning. I quiz early finishers on vocab terms while slower workers catch up on note taking, and while papers are being passed out. I even quiz students in the hallway using note cards between classes.
Today, though, I want to share a different, more static, vocabulary resource with you. Today, I'm going to highlight my Ancient Greece Vocabulary Word Wall Tiles. These 14 tiles display 14 vocabulary terms about ancient Greece, the definitions of those terms and a picture that are identical to those they practice with using my Ancient Greece Vocabulary Task Card resource. These are great to build a word wall with throughout the school year using the tiles from other time periods too!
The words are included in this set are:
Okay, I'll admit it. I've become a little addicted to using Blooket as a review tool in my class.
So, I decided to try something new to change it up a little - BINGO!
We had completed our atlas pages for the unit we were working on and my students had about 12 locations to learn for an upcoming map quiz, so I came up with this easy, low-prep way to do it!
To prolong the game, we had multiple winners - 3 in a row, 4 corners, and whole board.
I also adapted this game to a full 5x5 BINGO version to practice vocabulary terms with using the same procedure listed above (except with no map). My students really enjoy it, and it's a great change of pace from more flashy electronic games.
For intervention time this year, my district decided to go with Delta Math for students who struggle in specifically identified areas of math and Read 180 for students who tested low in reading. For everyone else, and based on no particular data (go figure...) it was decided that the non-math and non-ELA teaching teachers would teach rotating cohorts of everyone else "informational text reading strategies" four days a week. We were given little direction and no resources to accomplish this (keep figuring...).
So, after spinning my wheels for a while, I stumbled on what I think is an effective and engaging way to teach this. I decided to use a resource I already had lots of - my differentiated readings!
I knew I couldn't just pass them out and collect them at the end for three reasons:
So, this is what I came up with:
The last question on each sheet asks them what else they would like to learn about the topic. When students shared these out, I recorded them. Once they left, I typed their questions onto a GoogleSlide. On Fridays, I display the list of questions they generated throughout the week and direct them to find the answers using their ChromeBooks and the informational text strategies they've practiced throughout the week.
So far, I've been very pleased with the results. I think this activity could work with any article you are willing to make questions for, but if you are interested in using my differentiated readings in your class either for intervention, instruction, or enrichment, they are linked below in my TpT store. Each set of three provides the same information and questions written at both an Upper Elementary and Middle School reading level and are also available individually!
I recently had to find some state standards to justify teaching a unit about Indigenous Peoples' history. I read every single state standard for my state from 3rd grade to 8th and found 19. Of them, only 3 or 4 dealt with Indigenous Peoples pre-Columbian contact. The vast majority of the remainder only addressed the Indigenous population as something that stood in the way of America's westward expansion/conquest - something to be conquered. Based on information I learned at the National Council for Social Studies Conference in Chicago a few years ago, this is all too common.
This is wrong. We must do better.
I have recently become passionate about how Indigenous Peoples' history is taught, or, rather, (in most schools) not taught. This summer, I read an incredible book by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz called An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States that was both breath taking and eye-opening. The book is a re-telling of American history from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples focusing on how European contact had (and continues to have) a devastating impact on Indigenous Peoples' culture and heritage. I highly recommend it.
One of the obstacles to teaching about Indigenous Peoples' culture is a general lack of resources; especially the lack of resources that respectfully examine pre-contact Indigenous history in a way that is accessible to students and affordable to teachers. To help fill that gap in resources, I have created a number of them linked below that teach about Indigenous Peoples that are middle school appropriate, engaging and affordable. If you are interested, please take a look and see if they are right for you.
A few weeks ago, I gave an overview of how to create a Marzano scale from a standard. I received a comment from a follower whose district is just "starting to dabble in Marzano" who wondered if I could provide a step-by-step example with an actual state standard. So, acting on the age old teaching principle of "if one person asks a question, lots of others are probably wondering the same thing", this week I'll show you how I break an actual state standard into Marzano aligned scales that can be used to guide daily instruction.
First, we need a sample standard. I'm from Michigan, so I'll use on of ours:
Quick side note: Michigan's social studies standards are notoriously packed with a TON of information and are usually unwieldly. I believe more work should have been done at the state level to break them down into more teacher and student-friendly chunks, but I digress.
Actually, the more content in a particular standard, the easier it is to break down. If there are bullet points (like the one above has), the first step for me is to turn the main part of the standard (F1.1...) into a student-friendly "I can" statement. This will become my level three or "mastery" level. This standard turns into, "I can describe why the colonists chose to declare their independence from Britain."
Next, I turn my attention to the bullet points themselves; these are the things students will need to be able to do to master the standard. In this standard, I would sequence the bullet points into a logical path that would lead to the colonists declaring independence. This will help with both creating the standard, and in using the standard to create your lesson plans later. It makes sense to me to sequence them like this:
Once these building blocks have been identified, I apply them to my "mastery statement" and wind up with this:
Now, to fill in the lower levels (1 &2) of the scales, you add the building blocks. I would do it like this:
The last step is to identify something that goes beyond mastery to fill out the "Beyond Mastery" level of the scale (level four). In this case, I would provide my students with an opportunity to evaluate the things that led the colonists to declare their independence. My level four would be, "I can select the one thing that I think most led the colonists to declare their independence and explain my reasoning."
This particular scale is far too big, and too full of information to be a single lesson, so to make it more usable, I would treat the things in level two as separate standards and create scales and lessons around them. When these lessons are put together, I am left with a lesson plan for about a week of instruction. These scales are as follow:
I know this all seems like a lot, but you will find that as you begin to create scales, it gets easier and easier resulting in faster and faster work. It will become second-nature to you, and you will begin to think of all of your content in terms of levels of mastery and how your students can demonstrate it. This mindset shift will lead to lessons more closely tailored to standards, better student performance on assessments and great evaluations for you!
Before I close, I want to thank the follower who submitted the request for this topic. If you have any questions about this post, or anything relating to Marzano, scales or socials studies, please leave them in the comments below. Your comments really help me find topics to blog about, and for great social studies resources, don't forget to visit and follow my TpT store.
I'm an 18 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.