It seems like summer vacation just started. Doesn't it? It was just yesterday we entered our final grades, turned in our keys and sped out of the parking lot to camp or the beach or coach/watch little league baseball tournaments. Wasn't it?
The new school year is just around the corner, and it's going to be a great one! Our new students are going to come to us raw and wild from three months of late nights, "Internet zoning", swimming and sunburns. Before too long, they will be a well-oiled, cohesive group ready to interact with each other and learn about social studies!
My Back to School Activities are a great first step in helping your students build the interpersonal skills that make cooperative learning so powerful. The product comes with easy to follow directions for 4 different activities, and 24 prompt cards that will get your new students talking, laughing and learning about each other in a way that sets them up for success in future cooperative learning activities!
The evaluation tool my school uses is Marzano based. It was adopted when I was hired there four years ago. Unfortunately, all the resources my school had available for me had been purchased as much as a decade earlier. Rather than complain, I took it as an opportunity to create my own Marzano-aligned activities!
One of the first I created was my Identifying Similarities and Differences in the Ancient World activity. This activity can be used in several ways:
1) A printed out cooperative learning activity in which pairs (or larger groups) examine images of how two cultures did something (ex: Mesopotamian's built ziggurats and Egyptian's built pyramids) and collaborate to answer provided prompts out loud.
2) An individual activity with the same concept as number one, but with a space for students to individually answer questions in writing.
3) A class-wide version in which the two images are projected on a white board for a class-wide discussion.
* I stumbled on the idea for number three when my school's copiers were not working.
Click the link below to take a look at my Identifying Similarities and Differences in the Ancient World Activity, and be sure to check out my store for other great World History products!
It's almost here! Summer vacation! A time for kids to relax, recharge, and probably forget all about social studies for a couple of months. All our hard and innovating work to get them excited about history and social studies fades with each trip to the beach or baseball field.
But you know what? Sometimes it rains in the summer. Sometimes it's too hot or too humid to go outside. Some days are great movie days! So, here is my social studies summer watch list. These are great movies or TV shows that are sure to keep your students interested in and excited about history throughout the long and glorious summer months!
If you can think of any more great ones that you recommend to your students, please add them in the comments section below!
J.K. Rowling said, "If you don't like to read, you haven't found the right book." I've always thought this was probably true, in fact, it was posted on my board for most of March (reading month). Unfortunately, a lot of the readings we, as history teachers, have been given to use in class are not "the right book" for most of our students. They are either too old, too boring, or not at our students' reading levels. So, how do you find the "right books" (or readings) for your classroom filled with diverse readers?
A first step might be to check out my differentiated readings. I selected a variety of interesting topics in each of the time periods we teach in world history and wrote short, high interest articles at two different reading levels for each of them. When you use them, all of your students can access the identical content, but at a reading level more closely tailored to their level. Links to them in my store are listed below including a free one about Early Humans. Check them out, and if you use them, let me know how it went in the comments section.
Middle Ages & The Renaissance
The Vernal Equinox has just passed, the baseball season is beginning, it's staying lighter later and starting (slowly) to get warmer! That can mean only one thing - it's time to turn our calendars to Testober. I have recently started calling April "Testober" because it seems like my students are taking one standardized test or another two or three times a week for the entire month! Talk about student burnout. So, how can we keep our students engaged and excited to learn throughout another wonderful testing season?
I like to integrate as many games or competitions into my lessons as possible throughout the month, especially when I sense that students are getting stressed out by testing. Here are three great games you can easily integrate into your lessons very little prep:
1) Variations of Silent Ball. We play games like "Review Ball" or "Vocab Ball" or "Map Ball" that use the same rules as silent ball (no talking, pass a ball around), except that every so often I say "Review!" or "Vocab!" or "Map!" and ask the ball holder a question. If they get it correct, they stay in. If they get it wrong, they sit down.
2) Map Races. I either have two students come to the board and race to find a map location first (winner stays in, loser gets replaced), or I point to a location and in groups, students write the name of the location or physical feature on small white boards.
3) Vocabo or other games using vocabulary cards (click here for free games that use vocabulary cards). I usually use these games as part of a scheduled "vocabulary day", but during the testing season, I have packets of our old cards ready to get out and play with. It re-enforces vocabulary in a fun way that gets the students more focused on the games than the fact that they are actually reviewing.
I'm a 14 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.