Why I put the SOCIAL back into SOCIAL STUDIES!

Many moons ago, as a part of my grad school endeavors I had to follow a student around from class to class for an entire day. It was the longest day of my life! BUT… I realized some pertinent things –

  1. Students SIT ALL DAY! (Except for that 3-4 minute break heading to their next class).
  2. Students WRITE all day or TYPE and then in between classes they TEXT. Basically, their hands hurt by the end of the day.
  3. Students see different peers in every class and don’t know the names of who they spend their day with.
  4. Students are mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day.

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Friday Freebie – Back to School Animation!

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Its time to go back to school and meet a new group of students and parents!  Here’s a small “GIF”T! A FREE animation to add life to your September parent emails.   Adding a GIF is so easy – just insert it as a picture into an email or document to share.

Find it here at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Meet The Teacher Animation

 

 

 

 

Feel Good Free Fonts (Patriotic Edition!)

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Welcome to September! What a great year to be teaching! We are so excited to share our Fantastic FREE fonts for teaching the upcoming election!  Decorate your classroom or class handouts as you prepare for the big event in November.   The number of available free for personal use fonts is just staggering.  I have spent hours playing with new fonts.  Its addicting!

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THE WINNING WHITEBOARD

Greeting my students with a smile and shouting a big “GOOD MORNING!” always does the trick to wake up my classroom. BUT…  one other important tool not to overlook in the “be a positive teacher everyday toolkit” is the glamorizing of the white board. In the beginning of my teaching career, having a pretty whiteboard everyday wasn’t easy (because I had three different preps and three different classrooms!) Now that I am more settled beautifying my board is one of my favorite things to do in the morning as I am drinking my cup of tea and reviewing my lesson plan of the day. Here are some of my favorite tips to do inspire in your classroom:

  1. Use multiple bright and bold colors on the board
  2. Think of a fun question for your AIM– make it a grabber so students will want to be interested in your lesson
  3. Don’t forget to have fun! Your class should be be energized and vibrant especially to set the tone for the morning

Here are some photos of my boards!

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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.
They should also create a prop.

The Lesson Ideas:
Here are a few lesson ideas by topic-
Early River Valley Civilizations – Students should students to SELL you technological items from the early river valley civilizations. I use the wheel/ wheeled cart, the idea of time via a sundial/lunar calendar, the oxen plow or ard, coined money, iron making, the alphabet and hammurabis code.

Here was what my PowerPoint Aim looked like. I played the shark tank theme song as each group went up to present and go into the “tank”.


Here are a few student prop samples:

The ard/ oxen plow:
This student group made a model out of glue and metal!


Wheel Prop:

Coined Money Prop:

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 marketing ideas here.

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

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FREE Back-to-School Shopping Spree!

WOW! New York Teachers are you ready for this? A FREE Back-to-School Shopping Spree. You heard me right. A FREE Back-to-School Shopping Spree.

As per the qns.com story:

Materials for the Arts (MFTA), which is operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the Department of Sanitation and Department of Education (DOE) has an ENTIRE Warehouse that provides free materials to teachers — from binders to paper and computer chairs.

Teachers, who are required to make appointments, can pick up items every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. If a teacher is looking to be added to their school’s member account they can go through their principal or send an email to education@mfta.nyc.gov.”

COUNT ME IN! and Check out more here!

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

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Classroom introductions. The ICEBREAKER! The moment your students (and YOU!) have been waiting for all summer. But the butterflies, they are in the pits of your students stomachs. How do you make it effortless for everyone? Well, here are 5 different ways to break the ice and say “hello!” the easy way. Start by breaking your students into groups and then have each group introduce their team members via a game. Here’s how:

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Got the Homework Blues?

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It’s time for Back to School organization!  One thing I absolutely hate doing is collecting homework.     See my earlier post here:  No HW assignments for 2016? Can it be done?  Assuming you assign homework, what should be done with it?  Collect, Grade, Every day?  The paper piles up!

If your bag is stuffed with student work,  you may want to check out BerryWing’s Scan to Spreadsheet smart phone app which sells for a few dollars.     This could be your new workflow:

  1. Walk around the class, verify assignment completion.
  2. With your phone, scan a QR code taped to each student’s notebook to record credit.
  3. Email the created excel spreadsheet to your work account.

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Bored of your Borders?!

 

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I like adding borders to my class handouts.  See some of my work here:  Everybody Walk the Dinosaur. For those days when there is just no extra time in your teaching-packed day, the built-in borders from Microsoft Word are a great way to spice up an ordinary handout.

Follow the example below, and you’ll see that it is really easy to made something special!

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Gifts for GRAND teachers!

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Many parents and students always want to give me a little thank you at the beginning of the year, the holidays or end of the year. While I am always grateful for these
kind offerings, I try not to take anything of true value from my
students. Usually a lovely well written thank you card suffices.
However, if my school did allow it (and not all do!), here would be my
top 5 teacher gift choices for the grand teacher in your life (or that
recent graduate of education)- in ascending price order.

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