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Showing posts from February, 2017

Using the Engineering Design Process in History Education

We all have our strengths. I have learned long ago that science and math aren't strengths of mine but I've continued to challenge myself in areas of weakness in order to grow. My Business Calculus college course comes to mind--I've never been prouder of a sub-par grade before! (I also didn't need the class to graduate when I switched majors!)
Another realization I've made over the years is that the need to provide opportunities and connections for my Historians that aren't necessarily in my realm of expertise is important. This might give students their "aha!" moment and help them see the impact social studies has on their lives. It's up to me to step out of my comfort zone and provide this.
I implemented Genius Hour in an elective course two years ago and promised myself it would be put into practice in History this year (using the National History Day competition structure). While researching Genius Hour makerspaces and the engineering design p…

Presidential Primary Source Project Video Conference Opportunity

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Today my school had the opportunity to take part in an interactive video conference, with great success!
Project details, according to the organizers:
The National Park Service, U.S Presidential Libraries, and Museums, the Internet2 community, and cultural and historic organizations nationwide are proud to offer the annual Presidential Primary Source Project (PPSP), a series of free, standards aligned, 45 minute interactive videoconferencing programs aimed at students in grades 5-12. The series will run from January - March 2016. Each program will also be live streamed and recorded for on demand viewing for free.
I signed up for the program about President Grant, titled "Daughters of Freedom:  Ulysses S. Grant and the Rise of the Women's Rights Movement" from the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, St. Louis, MO. This topic relates to the US History content I teach and Womens' History is also interwoven into the activity.
I thought about just having my 4th hour clas…

Tug of War Thinking Routine

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My Student Teacher and I are going to help students read with purpose and analyze the United States' entry into the Second War for Independence, also known as the War of 1812, by having students take part in the Tug of War Visible Thinking routine on Monday.
I am a firm believer in the benefits of Visible Thinking and I find it to be an incredible equalizer for students of all levels. Every student can achieve deep learning in their own way through routines. They are challenging and promote rich discussion.
Groups of Student Historians will be given cards with 9 topics/events on it. They will read a text section with purpose, looking to explain these topics in their own words. Students will place the cards on a continuum according to whether or not the United States should have entered the war. (The vote for war was the closest ever in American History.) 
The most interesting part of the activity will occur when two student groups will compare and contrast their continuums. The s…

National History Day School Event

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Tuesday was the Big Day--my Student Historians hosted a National History Day School Event! Students dressed professionally and displayed their Historical Exhibits, Documentaries, Websites, and Papers in the Media Center for our school community to experience. (There was one Dramatic Performance and this student performed in front of a small audience.) What a day we had!
Special thanks to our Media Specialist, Mrs. Chatel, for all of her help with research and detailed explanations of how to complete our Annotated Bibliographies--we couldn't have done it without you!
Mrs. Loch, a Media Specialist from two of our Middle Schools, came to help determine which projects would be eligible to enter into the Michigan History Day District contest. She previously taught Social Studies and had entered students into the contest. (Some were even selected for the National Contest!) She has been incredibly helpful this year and I'm grateful for her support!
The Social Studies teachers made i…