History Class Can Be Fun!

Here are ten ways to make your history class more engaging and more interactive!

Pop-Up Cards:   Have students create historical greeting cards.  Great for Valentine’s Day!   Pop – Up Cards

Mannequin Challenge:  Need some peace on a Friday afternoon?  Try a Mannequin Challenge. m The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

Flipgrid Discussion:  Have students make a quick video to answer a prompt or give an opinion with this free tool.  ”Back to School with Flipgrid

Play – Doh Pictograms:  Great for a lesson on ancient civilizations.   Play-Doh is Power

Speed Networking:   Modern day networking with historical figures.   Speed Networking in the Classroom

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The Great Pumpkin Challenge

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One more day until October! The month of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Apple Picking and my favorite THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHALLENGE! My students know how much I love food challenges (see my posts on The Great Cookie Challenge!The GREAT “HOLIDAY” Baking Challenge! and I’ll share my Food Network Challenge with you in a couple of weeks). So OF COURSE I always do a GREAT PUMPKIN CHALLENGE!

The rules are simple:

I like to do this in groups of 2-3 students. Each group should Bring in a pumpkin OR a pumpkin dessert (that no one in the class will be allergic to – baked at home). So… a regular ole pumpkin to decorate, a pumpkin spice cupcake, pumpkin bar, pumpkin gingerbread cookie, pumpkin donut, pumplin pie whatever floats your boat. In class – studnents will be decorating it with a historical event from THIS SEMESTER. You can have it be holiday specific, (Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, Christmas, Chanukah) or a historical event. The class judges each creation and at the end of course they eat the pumpkin or pumpkin food. Let me know how your great pumpkin challenge goes!

Spill the Tea

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Since we live in such a gossipy, reality TV generation, I decided to create a lesson where students get to “spill the tea”.   Think of “The Talk” or “The View” TV shows with historical figures. This lesson is always a hit and can be used on a variety of topics. Choose a moderator to host the “show”.

Here’s how it works:

Split your class into groups of 4-5 students for each “Topic”. You can do this by having students pick a tea bag out of a hat (ex: Peppermint, Roobios, Eucalyptus etc).  The 4 students with Peppermint Tea bags are a group, the 5 with Roobios are a group and so on. Peppermint gets the topic of:
Roobios gets the topic of:
Etc.

Have your entire class sit in a circle (similar to a socratic seminar). The group sits in the center and has to spill the “tea” on a specific topic while the rest of the class takes notes.

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The GREAT “HOLIDAY” Baking Challenge!

It may be September, but that is not stopping me from thinking about the holidays! I have shared with my readers in the past, bringing baking into the classroom is SUCH a hit! My Great Cookie Challenge at the end of the year is a great way to review historical events. BUT during the holiday season I like to have a GREAT HOLIDAY BAKING version of my  CHALLENGE WITH MY STUDENTS.

The rules:

I like to do this in groups of 2-3 students. Each group should Bring in a delicious dessert (that no one in the class will be allergic to!) that was baked it at home. It can be a donut, a cronut, a muffin, a cupcake, a cake, croissant, pie whatever floats your boat. In class – you will be decorating it with a historical event from THIS SEMESTER. You can have it be holiday specific, (Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, Christmas, Chanukah) or a historical event. The class judges each creation and at the end of course they eat the cakes. Here are some of my favorite photos from past challenges.

Whats another holiday pound or two for the joy of our children? Happy baking!

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cookie4cookie1holiday-bakeoff

 

Teaching? I’m on the phone!

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Seven ways a smart phone can make a teacher’s life easier!

  1. Use your phone to record who did the homework.   Don’t collect all that paper if you only have time to verify who completed the assignment. You can easily use the scan to spreadsheet solution- Got the Homework Blues?
  2. Randomly call on students  or choose groups with one of the name generating apps: Randomly, Pick Me!, Decide Now! or Who’s Next? so that you can get them into groups for great interactive activities such as The Great Debate (Socratic Seminars in the Classroom!)
  3. Present directly from your phone.  My classroom computer is really old and really slow.  Now that I have Office 365 on up to 5 devices, I can project a PowerPoint presentation directly from my phone.   My set up time is now under a minute!
  4. Get rid of the paper immediately by snapping a digital copy.   I know I will lose that late assignment or make-up test.  It is safer to get a digital copy and send it to email or to a cloud file!  Try to go paperless as I’ve shared in the past here-   The Paperless Teachers Desk (It can be done!) Here’s how – Continue reading “Teaching? I’m on the phone!”

The Great Cookie Challenge!

pablo (3)One way to keep my high school students motivated is to have them think outside the box. Literally. The cookie box! As the terms wind down for the holidays or the summer, I give my students my Great Cookie Challenge. The terms – make a scene from history on your cake! Just bring the cake and you design it in class. Then – we eat it.

The students always remember this activity as one of their favorites. Just make sure your students don’t have any allergies before you begin and maybe even swing the idea by your AP just for brownie points (get it?!). Here are some of the samples from my students. Have you ever tried incorporating baking into your lessons? Let me know your thoughts and try to figure out these scenes below:

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