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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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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Summer To-Do list

Now that I’ve completed two crazy years of teaching middle school, I’ve decided it’s time to start tackling my to-do list for next year. It’s a long one — I’ve got a lot of work today before they shut off the air conditioning at the school! I might just have to tough it out and brave the 114 degree temps in there like last year. oy.

  • Clean out storage cabinets — I’ve got huge storage cabinets in my room that are not being used right now because I haven’t found a good function for them. Maybe it’s the posters of 1983?? I don’t know though….
  • Clean out file cabinets — again filled with useless papers from 20 years ago
  • My teacher’s desk — clean out, find a better place for it in my classroom
  • Planbook/Teacher binder — I’ve found some GREAT ones on other blogs. Will post pictures once I have them created
  • Tubs & drawers — NEED TO BE ORGANIZED!! Might hit up the Container Store or some garage sales once I get the cash
  • Curtains — I’m thinking black sheer??
  • Bulletin board — recover, calendar, pennant flags?? love those I’ve seen on Pinterest…I’m a pinterest junky!!
  • Order supplies from the district warehouse!
    • construction paper
    • sticky notes
    • markers
    • dry erase markers
    • scissors
    • glue sticks
    • 3-ring binders
    • push pins
    • Jumbo Post-it Posters
  • Rearrange desks into table groups
  • Create a place to display student work
  • Black borders
  • Create a color theme — I’m thinking black, gray, and yellow or black, lime green, and blue
  • Organize my unit binders
  • Create student info sheets for my teacher binder
    • Student name
    • Preferred name
    • Email
    • Parents names
    • Parent email and phone number
  • Book shelf — need more or need to better utilize the ones I have
  • Bathroom/Library passes — thinking of using wooden block letters L and R and painting them?
  • Picture frame dry erase boards — thinking of putting one in the hallway?? I have a feeling I might forget to change it though…
I’m sure the list will grow and grow! This is just what I made on the last day of school….will post pictures as I am able to check things off.