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

Continue reading “History Class Can Be Fun!”

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!

If you have a google classroom make sure to get our great october headers!
See them here:
Halloween Background
October Themed Headers

The lesson 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!

Speed Networking in the Classroom

 

It can be daunting to try out a new teaching method, but TRUST ME, this one is A HUGE hit! I’m writing an extension to my post on History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!) and Why I put the SOCIAL back into SOCIAL STUDIES! so you can try out this awesome technique in your classroom. This lesson can be modified for primary/middle school and high school.

I like doing this lesson for a number of reasons.
One –  This lesson give students practical, real world experience. The students are required to practice their interviewing skills on their peers as they bring a business card, a name tent and a resume with them of their historical figure (on the high school level). See below I modify this for the younger grades.  This gets my students thinking about creating their own resumes and business cards and career prospects.

Each resume and must include the following: Name, birth date, education, background, known associations (with a definition), notable accomplishments, and 3 references. Each resume must also have a “job sought” paragraph at the top. This must be between 3-6 sentences long and should include long term goals and other pertinent information. I have students bring a resume which should also include a picture. I require that these must be typed (you need two copies – one for you and one for me!) . You should have students work on this in groups if they are each assigned the same character. 

Two – I require each student to shake hands with the person as they move around the table. I give them a quick “this is how to do a proper handshake” and “smile nicely” when I hand out the instructions and again before the activity begins. This requires they practice their social skills.

Continue reading “Speed Networking in the Classroom”

Mnemonic Device To remember the original Thirteen Colonies

my-new-neighbor-can-not-re-paint-my-dark-violet-no-shiny-grey-bungalow-colony-2Awesome Mnemonic Device to remember the original Thirteen Colonies! Its about that time in US history where teachers are reviewing the 13 colonies. Perfect timing for a Mnemonic Device to remember the original Thirteen Colonies! When they think of the word “colony” they can easily remember one sentence – My New Neighbor Can Not Re-Paint My Dark Violet No Shiny Grey! [Bungalow Colony]. Each 1st letter of the word stands for a colony –

  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

Have you tried teaching with mnemonics? Ready for another one for the early presidents? Here you go!

Wrap up the decades with RAP music in the classroom

I love the idea of using music (especially rap music) in the clasroom. It can seamlessly be integrated into Social Studies, English and language arts curriculum as a form of both poetry and drama. Allowing students to write and perform their own rap encourages them to think critically, to practice writing in the narrative form, to increase vocabulary, and to develop an understanding of rhyme and rhythm. This is the modern day poetry of our nation and students should be able to analyze the material and have an open conversation about many of the themes running through the songs. Here are some song ideas for teaching the 90s into 2001 using music in your classroom.

1) 90s Rap –
Tupac Shakur’s “Changes”, Notorious Big – Hypnotize

Students can analyze the songs and have a discussion about the changes Tupac raps about. Has much changed from then until now? How has rap music evolved?

2) Conformity of the Boy Band Era –
Nsync, Bye Bye Bye,  Boyz II Men – End of the Road, Backstreet Boys – I want it that way

VS.

3) Girl Power – Madonna, Material Girl (to discuss the greed of the decade) TLC, Waterfalls, Spice Girls, Wannabe, Britney Spears, Hit me baby, Christina Aguilera, Genie in a bottle, Destinys Child – Bills, Bills, Bills

Students will analyze the songs, determine the messages delivered and choose one to write an informational essay on the power of boy band conformity vs girl power and sexuality.

4) The Counterculture of 2000 – Eminem – Lose Yourself, Green Day-basketcase
Students will analyze the informational/explanatory writing assignment and determine the messages delivered and discuss how these bands rejected the conformity of the previous boy band discussion

5) 9/11  – Where is the love? Black Eyed Peas Students will analyze the song, determine the messages delivered and discuss what happened during 9/11

rap

Let’s hand it to all the teachers who taught before the internet.

Saturday Morning Musings.  This is how I feel about teaching and parenting.
How did you do it before the internet and Pinterest? Honestly? It’s amazing! Its hard enough to do it now.

That is what tupperware parties were really for right?

Cheers to you and thank you internet.

I always love a good teaching meme!

Let's hand it to all the teachers whotaughtbefore theinternet.

Make your grading more efficient!

gradingtests

 

September is a great month for teaching!    The first few weeks of school is a happy time – new year, new students, new goals AND very little grading.  By the end of September those tests are rolling in and piling up on my desk and in my bag.   October is not as kind to teachers as the month of September.

I would prefer never to give a multiple choice test,  but I have to be practical.  Every year, I have over 150 high school students so to survive I make every test a mix of multiple choice and essay questions.   As test day approaches I gather the Scantron bubble sheets (usually in short supply) and plan an early morning assault on the one working grading machine when no other colleague will want to use it.

BUT FORGET IT! Not this year. INSTEAD…

This year… I manage my classroom on my PHONE! (Teaching? I’m on the phone!)

ZipGrade might be my best app find ever!    The basic phone app is a free download.  The free student answer sheets are downloaded from the site  (ZipGrade.com) in 20, 50 or 100 question formats.

Continue reading “Make your grading more efficient!”

What is the purpose of education?

What is the purpose of education? A great question to consider as we start the new school year. Horace Mann asked this very question when he designed and reformed our modern school system in the during the antebellum era. But fast forward to today (the 2nd gilded age?!) – we are still asking the same question. Educators, Parents, Politicians, students – perhaps we all have different answers (and questions!)

Is an education to prepare for the workforce?
Should students have a rigid structure or should students have flexibility and Freedom in the classroom?
Should teachers give homework?
Should teachers and students have the summer off?
Should education be free from birth?

These are difficult questions with varied opinions from EVERYONE. Everyone has been a student. Not everyone can be a teacher.

What are your thoughts? What is the PURPOSE of Education?

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