5 Things We Think Middle School Social Studies Students Know That They Actually Don't & What To Do About It
It happens every year. You know it's coming, but it still manages to catch you off guard every time. Your students (and not just one or two) don't know or don't know how to do something so basic it stops you in your tracks, and you probably utter those familiar words, "You should have learned that last year," or, in the case of working a pencil sharpener in a reasonable amount of time, in kindergarten. Seriously, Ethan, how many cranks until it's sharp enough?
It's probably not their fault, and it isn't productive to blame elementary teachers anyway. To borrow a phrase from Truman, "The buck stops here." So, what do we do? Do we scrap our scope and sequence and just teach elementary content?
No. Although, when I taught 8th grade American History, my students loved watching PBS' Liberty's Kids. The answer is to fill the gaps while moving forward with new content. I know it sounds like I'm suggesting learning to walk while we're running, but it's actually easier than that. Over the next month or so, I will be blogging about each of the 5 things and giving you some FREE resources to get started!
So, make sure you continue (or start) to follow this blog to learn more about my Top 5 Things I Think Middle Students Should Know But Don't & What to Do About It.
In Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the main character breaks into a house and rummages around the owners' stuff only taking what's just right for her and leaving the rest. Our students can be like that sometimes. Often times, when they read they will skip words they don't know which leads to misunderstanding. If something is below their level, they might just skim it and also lose meaning. The trick is to find readings that are at their level, or, as Goldilocks would say, "just right."
My differentiated readings address this issue. The same content is provided at two different reading levels - Upper Elementary and Middle School. These passages allow your at grade level students and below grade level students to all have access to the same content without the frustration of work that is too easy or too hard.
All of my World History Differentiated Readings are bundled together, but are also available by individual culture/era. Each set covers 3 topics at 2 grade levels for 6 articles per set (36 articles total!). Below are the cultures/eras covered:
So, click the link below for my World History Differentiated Reading Bundle and don't forget to visit and follow my store for more great World History resources!
Finding reading activities that challenge all of your students is difficult (especially if it is something to be sent home that you cannot face-to-face help them with). For some, it's too easy, for others too hard. It's kind of like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. The problem is that it is nearly impossible to find something that is just right for everyone. It would be much better to find materials that are just right for every one.
I don't have that, but I do have something that takes a big step in that direction. My differentiated readings provide the same content at two different reading levels - Upper Elementary and Middle School. These passages provide students with critical content in a format they won't struggle with while teaching them critical skills associated with reading informational texts!
All of my American History Differentiated Readings are bundled together, but are also available by individual event/era. Each set covers three topics at two reading levels for six articles per topic (33 articles total!) Below are the major events/eras covered:
So, click the link below for my American History Differentiated Readings Mega-Bundle and don't forget to visit and follow my store for more great American History products!
One of the best professional development opportunities I ever had was getting to go to the National Council of Social Studies Teachers in Chicago last year. My favorite presentation was a fascinating book talk about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. As I listened, I remember thinking, "I'm glad I never had to live through that."
I know a lot of us are scrambling to find things for our students to do while they are at home, so, this week I'd like to highlight my FREE resources. If they look good, please download them and share them with your students and their parents.
It was almost a Christmas miracle. It was two days before Winter Break, and you could hear a pin drop in my class!
No, my students weren't watching a movie or doing a holiday word search or graphing lots of points that eventually draw a Christmas tree or Santa, we were learning about important cultural institutions of ancient China!
Here are the steps:
Benefits of this activity:
I recently used this activity as part of an inquiry about ancient Roman technology, and used my Roman Military Equipment Centers Activity as the resources the students rotated and got information about. It worked great! So, if you are interested in a great interactive way to learn about ancient Rome's military, click the link below, and don't forget to visit and follow my store for more great Social Studies resources!
I'm a 14 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.