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 Teaching SECRET you NEED to know!

Tomorrow is the BIG day! The first day of teaching for NYC schools and students. As a seasoned teacher I always get asked the same question during my summer break… if there was one SECRET to being a great teacher what would it be? This is never an easy question to answer. But it really all comes down to ONE SECRET.

The best teachers COMBINE the TWO E’s.  ENTHUSIASM and EMPATHY.

WHY is this the secret to great teaching? Simple. Ask yourself, what type of teacher would you learn best from? Would you want to be a student in your class? In order to say YES you need both enthusiasm and empathy.

Great your students with a big “HELLO!” every day. Every class. Why? Because you don’t know what kind of day they have been having. That’s where the empathy comes into play. Maybe they didn’t have the chance to speak to their parents, maybe they got in a fight with their sibling, a peer or worse. Combining your smile with empathy is contagious.

Best of luck on this new school year teachers. Here are my favorite tips and tricks for bringing enthusiasm into the classroom! Let me know how your first day back goes!

Bring Google Classroom to Life

Howdy! How do you do? (Classroom Icebreakers 101)

Make a Magnificent Classroom Meme !

History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!)

THE WINNING WHITEBOARD

Why I put the SOCIAL back into SOCIAL STUDIES!

SHARK TANK FOR YOUR CLASSROOM

The Great Debate (Socratic Seminars in the Classroom!)

Bored of Giving Assessments? – Use Board Games!

Holiday Themes for Google Classroom

Play-Doh is Power

Color the Past

The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

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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!”

SHARK TANK FOR YOUR CLASSROOM

Many of my readers have been asking me for extended tips on implementing Shark Tank in your classroom (since reading my post on History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!)

This activity is a HUGE hit in my history classroom. This is basically a marketing 101 lesson.

The Basics:
Break students into groups. Each group gets one invention. The group presents the invention and has to sell the items to three – five “ investors”.

The Play by play:
Start the class by asking what technology has changed during their lifetime. How has it changed cultural, social, political and religious interactions?

Then show a pitch from Shark Tank. I like the LuminAID storyline & clip – find it here. Stop after the 2-3 minute pitch. Ask students why the LuminAID pitch was successful. Write answers on the board.

Go on to show more of the clip and introduce the concept of the valuations.

Give students 1-2 class periods to come up with their pitch and then a class period to present. The rest of the class should take notes while the pitches are being presented.

The Lesson Ideas:
Here are a few lesson ideas by topic-

The Industrial Revolution – Invite students to sell you items from the industrial revolution in a game of SHARK TANK. Pick three – five “ investors”. Ask them to sell you investment ideas from the time period such as the Erie Canal, the railroad, the telephone. Teach them how to make a three minute pitch and calculate how much they need for their investment. Check out my other teaching marketing ideas here.

The High Middle Ages – Ask students SELL you technological items from the Commercial Revolution in a game of SHARK TANK. These include the windmill and guilds.

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History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!)

One of the great mysteries of teaching a class like history, is how to get your students involved and interested in the material. Although the trend is towards “group work” which, in all honesty, tends to lead to “group-think”, there are other ways to get your students out of their chairs, and yourself away from that golden podium. Here’s a few tips I like to use:

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