Showing posts from September, 2015

DocsTeach Activity: Road to Revolution: Patriot or Treason?

Student Historians will utilize a fantastic site tomorrow (I'm hoping eventually students will be able to download the app on their iPads--we will use the Smart Board tomorrow instead).
DocsTeach is a National Archives site and is rich with primary source materials. Teachers can create activities to share with other teachers (I have made a few) and the National Archives has created activities, as well. Tomorrow's activity is called  "Road to Revolution: Patriotism or Treason?". Students will practice OPVL, then analyze some of the viewpoints and perspectives related to events leading to the American Revolution. 

Big Changes this Year

For the past 20 years I have started teaching every September with classes full of 8th Graders that are eager and ready to learn. This year's students are as ready to learn as ever but there is one big change:
every student now has an iPad.
Technology and I have come a very long way in the past eight years and I look forward to this new challenge. My goal is to let the History content drive the use of technology in my room, not the other way around.
This article from TeachThought has been very helpful for me on this journey: 
I need to be ok with taking it slowly--I have a organized, highly-functional classroom where students learn deeply. I don't want to lose my focus because I'm so excited to jump in to all that having a 1:1 classroom can bring. I will take these tips to heart and attempt to do a few things well. I am really looking forward to publishing student work, ways…

Primary Source Analysis: OPVL

Student historians learned  today about OPVL, a method of primary source analysis used in IB and AP History classes. The acronym stands for Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitation. OPVL is a method that will allow students to determine the context primary sources are set in and also think deeply and reason what the source says about the time period it came from.
A professional development session I attended earlier this month gave me the idea to first model OPLV using personal student items. Students brought in an item they have pride in and we prepared for a Primary Source "Show and Tell" session in class today. This activity really helped me learn more about my students and I also discovered was a great example of character education. Students needed to reflect on the value these items had on themselves and what our society values, as well. I look forward to our discussions about these special items tomorrow.

New Classroom Signs!

I have made a few new signs for my classroom and wanted to share...

These signs are for my students' interactive History notebooks. We keep them in the classroom on shelves. I am fortunate to teach part-time and I'm changing my schedule from mornings to afternoons--it will better serve my daughter's new school schedule. (This will really be a big change for me--I've taught mornings since my son was born twelve years ago!)

This sign represents my new favorite word. I absolutely love Twitter--it's an amazing resource for cutting-edge educational theories and ideas. Recently I discovered a post about the power of the word yet. People (myself included) often limit their potential with negative thinking (for example, saying or thinking "I'm not good at ______.") I'm looking forward to discussions with my students about how adding this word to the end of a pessimistic sentence gives them the power and the potential to change and grow. I will now also ha…

Prepping for a New School Year: How to Teach...Making Friends

I found a fascinating post on Twitter today titled "How to Teach...Making Friends".  Adults often think making friends at any age should come naturally but I don't believe that's the case. Children and teens often lack the social experience necessary to introduce themselves to others and cultivate positive relationships. Our dependence on technology seems to decrease the amount of time we spend practicing genuine listening and other essential conversational skills that are vital to gaining and keeping friends, as well. This topic is important to me for two reasons: I want to help my students be better friends and teammates in class because I have a discussion-centered classroom environment and I also want to help my own son and daughter because they are the "new kids" in their schools this year--we moved over the summer.
I can't wait to examine t…