How I use “Discrepant Event Inquiry” in my classroom

Doing Social Studies

A few years ago, I was introduced to “Discrepant Event Inquiry” from Glenn Wiebe. (Here is another post about it from his History Tech blog). The idea is that you take an image and only reveal a little bit at a time. As I reveal a little bit of the picture, the students must guess Who is in the picture, What is happening, When was the photograph taken, and Where is this taking place. This encourages students to think outside the box and it also does WONDERS with questioning and how to ask the right questions. Naturally, I turned this into a competition.

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Vocab: A great place to start!

Doing Social Studies

Something I like to do with my sixth graders is start each unit off with a vocabulary activity. There are several different things I’ve done, sometimes I take about 30 words from the unit and have the kids put them in categories before I tell them what the words mean. I let them choose the categories as long as they have at least 4 or 5. Kids work in groups then share with the class. We compare categories and see which ones are similar – it’s a great way to introduce words that kids have never heard of before.

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Summer Travel – Vegas!!

My next (and last) summer travel spot was Vegas!! My boyfriend and I love this magical place, we had a great time. Stayed at the Flamingo which is the perfect location on the strip, walked around, lost some $$, and ate hot dogs!

Click here to see my Vegas photos!

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Summer Travel – San Francisco!

Finally, I have had a semi-relaxing summer! Between cheerleading camp and completing my masters, I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco with a friend to visit another friend from our days at Kansas State University. Here are some pics of our beautiful weekend….excuse my awkwardness.

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At Mumm’s in Napa!

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My FAVORITE store!!! Yes I picked up some classroom supplies…..and was still able to stuff them into my suitcase for the trip home!

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We purchased matching rings from Brandy Melville (http://www.brandymelvilleusa.com/)…because, well, we’re best buds.

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Don’t mind me, just chillin’ at a castle

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I’m terrible at selfies

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Wonderful breakfast place in St. Helena on our way to the castle (http://www.themodelbakery.com/)

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Sparkling wine at Mumms! We fancy

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Yummy food at Gott’s! Yes we indulged in greasy cheeseburgers, fries, and chocolate shakes before we drank champagne….don’t judge. (http://gotts.com/)

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My fave winery, Madrigal (http://www.madrigalfamilywinery.com/)

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Reunited and it feels so good!

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Back to school!

I’ve used a lot of the same decorations as last year (remember I’m a middle school teacher — huge big theme rooms, although very cute, give me a headache). But I’ve managed to change it up a bit with some Pinterest inspiration.

My mom had a vinyl word kit that she bought but never used – so I took the opportunity and but it right by my window! I thought it was cute. 

Poster I made inspired by Pinterest. I projected it on my whiteboard, taped a poster board up there and traced! No cost 🙂

TACOS and TAG are two things that I do regularly in my Pre-AP course. If you’d like to learn more about them visit the Doing Social Studies blog. 

Pinterest. Project. Trace. Color. Free. 
Found this quote on Pinterest and absolutely loved it!! Very middle school/high school appropriate 🙂
My Bulletin Board: another Pinterest inspiration.

View of my desk area. It looks a little cluttered from this angle but it works for me.

Looking out from my desk.

Best of luck with the new year! Happy Teaching 🙂
-Megan

Year 3: trials, success, technology, and tears

I know that I have not been in the field for a great amount of time. I get that. But this year has definitely been the most intense and stressful year yet. There have been lots of tears, anger, venting, and frustration — I thought this was all supposed to happen in your first year of teaching?? Well it’s all hitting me this year.

  • My students: I care about them deeply and they are so full of life and questions but having to find new ways to approach concepts because of a gap in learning between last years’ class and this years’ class. 
  • Technology: the hot topic in education. Everything is virtual, online, web-based — which I absolutely love. The problem is that there are so many great resources and things that I want my students to do using computers or iPads, but I can’t get the technology in my classroom for more than a day or two. Our technology director at our school does what I like to call the “computer cart shuffle.” She is constantly moving up and down the elevator of our 3-story school with carts and computers to try to accomodate all teachers. It’s amazing!
  • Technology break-down: My projector that is mounted on my ceiling is broken….and my SMART board is not connecting with my computer. Both things that I use everyday. This forces me to be stationed in the middle of the classroom in the way of students and it forces the students to be smashed closer together. My classroom is now a maze of desks that you have to dance around to get to the pencil sharpener or trash can. 
The good news? Yes there are good things happening to me this year.
  • I am now a board member of the Kansas Council of the Social Studies. A wonderful organization that supports social studies teachers all over Kansas. 
  • The direction that my social studies department is heading is to use tablets or computers as textbooks rather than ordering hard copies from a publishing company. I wanted to be able to try things about in my classroom before I was given 30 iPads when I had no clue how to use them!
  • I wrote a grant for an iPad to different organizations – local and national. I did not receive it locally but thank goodness for KANAAE! The Kansas Association of American Educators came through for me and awarded me a grant of $500 to purchase an iPad for my classroom. YAY!! This was wonderful news after a frustrating week.
    • The KANAAE is an affiliate of a professional organization called the Association of American Educators that supports teachers and students all over the country. They are a non-partisan organization that offers liability insurance and legal support to teachers at a fraction of the cost of other teachers unions. It is a wonderful community of educators and I appreciate the support they have given me during this school year!

 SO with that being said, my time will now be spent researching apps and writing and iBook for ancient Greek history. I will be looking for apps that will work efficiently in my classroom.  

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! This week could not have come at a better time 🙂