Who Really Discovered America? Quick Way to Build Geography Skills into History Instruction!
There is so much history to cover and so little time to do it! It can be really easy to put geographic skills on the back burner, isn't it? Fortunately, I have a product that both supplements core Age of Exploration instruction while providing an opportunity for students to practice some geography skills!
There are many theories about who discovered America. For decades, the answer was Columbus and Spain, then evidence for earlier Viking settlement came to light, and historians grudgingly acknowledged they were wrong. The Vikings beat the Spanish by at least half a millennium!
But was there anyone else? With my Who Really Discovered America? activity, your students will find out! This activity has your students find and label several controversial archaeological sites on an easy to read map, then come to a conclusion as to whether the Vikings were truly the only others to come to and explore the New World before Columbus.
So, click the link below for my Who Really Discovered America? activity, and be sure to check out and follow my store for other great American History products!
No More Boring Notes!
I love giving notes. The way I run my classes, there are a lot of interactive learning activities (readers' theater, card sorts, artifact interpretations, etc.), and I don't really get to talk to the whole class much. But note taking days were my time to shine! I got to infuse the notes with stories, use voices, etc. while my students fully listened while they dutifully copied neat, organized notes like rows of little Medieval scribes.
Of course they didn't.
In the old days, the overhead projector was always too fuzzy for them to see properly, and too loud for them to hear over. My Epson projector was a huge improvement - I could add color and pictures (and color pictures!) to my presentations, but still ran into the problems of students "keeping up" and ending up with very sloppy, disorganized notes.
So, I invented my own take on interactive notes using Google Slides! Students interact with the content of the subject matter. There aren't any cute cutouts or pockets or foldables, but, rather opportunities to turn and talk with neighbors, comprehension activities, and a built in way for students to not fall behind! Neatness and organization are also guaranteed because I've done away with notebook paper and replaced it with note taking sheets specifically tailored to each presentation!
I have several of them, but am highlighting my Early Humans Interactive Notes this week. Click the link below for them. I also have a FREE Things on a Map Interactive Notes presentation for you to take a look at, and remember to check out and follow my store for other great World History Products!
Marzano's first design question is to give students clear learning goals and rubrics. In order for students to learn best, they need to know what they are supposed to learn (or, begin with the end in mind). So, while many of our lesson plan requirements have called for including learning targets (or "I can statements") for years, sometimes we have missed the crucial step of effectively communicating the learning goals to the students in kid-friendly language.
The second part is about using rubrics. Rubrics are not just a way to quickly and fairly grade student work, they are also (and more importantly) a way for students to monitor their own learning.
All of my classroom instruction is planned and delivered with Marzano's principles in mind. The same is also true for my educational products. Each day in class, we begin by examining the days learning target (or goal) and rate our level of understanding of the target on a scale. We end class by re-examining the target and re-rating ourselves using the same scale.
All of my complete units include a student learning log, and a Marzano aligned scale for each day of instruction. If you are not looking for an entire unit, each interactive note presentation also begins and ends with a learning goal scale. Click the links below to check them out, and don't forget to follow this blog and my store to learn more about Marzano and more great Social Studies resources!
About 10 years ago, I had an administrator that became infatuated with learning styles. He mandated that we give all our students a "Learning Styles Inventory" survey and spend valuable team time compiling and analyzing all that data. Once it became obvious that a large chunk of our students were categorized as visual/kinesthetic learners he gave us our decade old textbook to teach the same lessons as always with. We can do better.
Although the over-emphasis on learning styles has faded a bit lately, it is still true that visual/kinesthetic activities help a lot of students learn. 10 years ago when my administrator didn't provide us with any resources to specifically reach my almost entire classroom of visual/kinesthetic learners, I made some.
My Age of Exploration Vocabulary Task Cards are by far the most effective way I've found to teach content area vocabulary in a cooperative learning, visual/kinesthetic style. In groups, students use the cards to match terms to definitions and pictures. Once they have made those connections, they work with their partners to categorize the words into like groups to make even more connections. The cards also work well with my FREE Vocabulary Games product.
Click the link below for my Age of Exploration Vocabulary Task Cards, and the link for an earlier blog post about how to use them. Also, check out my FREE vocabulary games product and the rest of my store for other great American History Products!
The school year is almost here! I know we're all excited to get back at it and start teaching kids again! But, maybe you've moved grades or subjects. Maybe you want to try something new. Or, maybe you just want to see another way to teach about Early Humans. If any of these are you, my Early Humans Complete Unit and Assessment is just what you're looking for!
This complete unit contains everything you need to deliver a three-week, Marzano aligned unit about the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. It includes a day-by-day unit plan, a sheet to explain the purpose and Marzano alignment of each day (perfect for evaluations!), and all or the parts you'll need of the following activities:
So, click the link below for my Early Humans Complete Unit & Assessment, and be sure to check out my store for other great World History products
I'm an 18 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.