TACOS Anyone?

Doing Social Studies

Fortunately for me, my school district sends teachers to an AP Institute every other summer put on by College Board. In 2012, I attended one in Plano, TX and enrolled in a Pre-AP U.S. History course with Rhonda Johnson (who I decided is my hero). I learned so many great skills and strategies that promote historical thinking and analyzing in my students!

I went thinking I would get ideas for my 8th grade American History course (non-Pre AP) but instead I applied almost everything to my 6th grade Pre-AP social studies class. I’m increasing reading and writing skills while (quietly and discretely) preparing these 11 and 12 year olds for AP courses in high school! It. is. awesome.

Some examples:

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Writing your own textbook isn’t as scary as you think . . .

Doing Social Studies

Well, it’s a little scary . . . but the rewards outweigh the scariness, I promise!

ImageOur social studies department has been working for the past year to come up with a new curriculum that replaces textbooks from a publishing company. There has been a lot of discussion at PLC meetings and a lot of attending professional development workshops.

I first heard the term eBooks from Glenn Wiebe when he met with elementary and middle school social studies teachers to discuss the new state standards and strategies we can use in our classroom to go along with them. But it wasn’t until I attended the workshop “Creating Content with Apple’s “iBook Author” with Kendall Warkentine (Derby USD) at the KCSS No Citizen Left Behind conference last fall in Topeka that I really started processing the idea of creating my own content.

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A different type of professional development

Doing Social Studies

Ok, we all know that one of the perks of being a teacher is that for about a month and a half we can think of this other than school. But if any of you are like me (which I’m guessing since you’re reading this blog in the summertime – you probably are!) summer isn’t as leisurely as people think. I feel that summer is a perfect time to reflect on my teaching philosophy, think about new things I want to try in my classroom, read blogs, maybe attend a workshop here and there, find ideas on the internet for experience-enhancing activities, and so on. The beauty of being a teacher is that we get to try things over and over again if we messed up the first time! I’m so happy that I get a new set of kiddos in August because I learn so much over the summer…

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Why study history? A 3rd day of school lesson….

Doing Social Studies

Blogs this time of the year are full of wonderful ideas for the first day of school. I would like to share with you a lesson that I do on the 3rd or 4th day of school after all procedural things are taken care of.

I start off by brainstorming with the kids – asking the question “What don’t you like about history?” We write their answers on a flip chart.

Then I show them this awesome YouTube video by jhayesteach.  It highlights a small little speck of the amazingly cool things about history!

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Integrating Technology in Social Studies Curriculum

Doing Social Studies

Here are some happenings within the social studies department at my school:

About a year ago, my social studies department decided we wanted to step outside of the box. We were tired of sharing our building-wide computer carts and iPad cart with the other departments (especially ELA – what ever happened to hand-writing an essay?). Our administrators were totally on board and willing to support us in any way that they could.

We contemplated many different options before settling on Discovery Education’s new curriculum – the Techbook. No we didn’t spend our summer’s creating our own iBooks – that will come later, at least for me. But we were preparing ourselves for some intense professional training a few weeks before school started from Discovery Education to introduce us to this new curriculum.

However, in true eduction fashion, that training didn’t happen before school started, and our new iPad minis…

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