Teaching Hard History: Is There a Role for Simulations?

February 11, 2020 By Dr. Aaron Willis

Simulations encourage students to “learn by doing.” The goal in using simulations in the classroom is for students to understand a concept or historical experience by acting it out. Creating a kinesthetic experience isn’t quite the same as reading about something in a book.

15+ Women to Celebrate this Black History Month (and Every Month!)

February 6, 2020 By Monet Hendricks

February marks the start of Black History Month, which celebrates the achievements of African Americans in United States history.  From the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, learn about women who may not always be recognized by history textbooks, but deserve recognition for their contributions in the fight for equality.

 

How to Teach Students to Take Informed Action in the Classroom

February 3, 2020 By Karla Wienhold

There is a quote by Tony Robbins that resonates with me when teaching: “the path to success is to take massive determined actions.” As an educator, this gives me several things to think about and question during instructional planning.

4 Reasons to Read Aloud in the Social Studies Classroom

January 28, 2020 By Monet Hendricks

When educators think about reading aloud to students, they often picture circle-time in an elementary classroom where a teacher reads a short story to the class. However, research and evidence-based practices support the fact that reading out loud at any grade level can provide various student benefits.  From improved literacy and information processing skills to building active listening and student confidence, K-12 classrooms can provide the setting to read texts out loud. Here are four advantages that students can gain as a result of reading activities in the social studies classroom.

The Disappearing Social Studies Curriculum (and Tips to Integrate Content into Other Subjects!)

January 22, 2020 By Sheree Turner, Ph.D.

A pedagogical shift towards teaching social studies in conjunction with other subjects, and not as an isolated topic, has slowly emerged on the horizon in public schools for the last five years. In some states, standardized state tests in social studies have been discontinued for students in 6th and 7th grades because they are considered non-essential. Teachers continue to ask why social studies content is being pushed aside for language arts, math, and other STEM-based curricula. Social studies, especially at the secondary level, is a disappearing and often thought of as less important curriculum, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Six Essential Literacy Skills that Only an Atlas Can Provide

January 16, 2020 By Dr. Aaron Willis

Ask any teacher in any discipline at any grade level and they will tell you that literacy is one of their biggest concerns and challenges. What they mean by “literacy” can vary considerably, but generally we can take it to mean successful interpretation of the signs, symbols, and meanings someone else is trying to communicate. Literacy is often used to describe deciphering texts. In a child’s early years, basic phonics is the most common form of literacy, and as students get older, literacy comes to mean understanding the written word in all its variations.

Classroom Management Tips: Lessons from Historical Utopias

January 14, 2020 By Cynthia Resor

We want our classrooms to be utopian communities, ideal worlds of cooperation and happiness. Classroom-management experts describe strategies to achieve that dream, but their advice falls across a continuum with the top-down, teacher-in-charge approach at one end and the bottom-up, students-create-the-rules at the other. Which approach is best?

Building Background Knowledge: Helping ELL Students Access Social Studies Curriculum

January 10, 2020 By Susan McDonald, M.S., CCC-SLP

According to recent surveys, at least 55% of classroom teachers have one or more English Language Learners (ELLs) in their classroom. ELLs arrive in our classrooms with varying levels of the four domains of English (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) for conversational and academic purposes. As a social studies teacher, how can you help an ELL student make sense of the advanced vocabulary and sentence structures that come along with academic instruction? One proven strategy is to build or activate background knowledge BEFORE starting the unit.

3 Easy Ways to Make Real-World Connections in Your History Lessons

December 10, 2019 By Cynthia Resor

History is rarely at the top of polls of “favorite subjects in school.” While a magical cure for history aversion has yet to be discovered, the following three tips for connecting the past to the present can make history lessons more relevant to students’ lives.

Opening the Window to the Past: Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence in Social Studies Classrooms

December 5, 2019 By Karla Wienhold

As teachers, we all want a way to make history a fun and engaging subject for our students.  We want them to grasp the historical events that we teach about with the same passion that we have when we are planning the lessons.  As educators, we want them to hear all the amazing stories from the past that will help them understand their role in the world they live in today.