Take a moment and reflect on professional development events you have attended, and ask yourself, how many of them were “really” good, meaningful, effective, and relevant to your chosen profession? As educators, we attend several types of training, many of which are mandatory, or are recommended from our superiors. Occasionally, we get lucky and can select a specific training we deem valuable, but those may be few and far between.
Thinking is hard. At least, that is what our students tend to believe. They sigh when we ask them to complete a research assignment, or to write an analytical essay. Even the most basic questions asked of them, can be responded with a grunt.
Do you remember your favorite teacher?
Who could ever forget that teacher? Who could ever forget the special way that teacher inspired you and made you a better student and person at the same time?
There can be no doubt that the level of teaching and learning in your classroom would vastly improve if every single student possessed a high literacy level and a consistent reading habit, both at home and school. However, many do not, and perhaps you’ve wondered why. In a search for some answers, I would like to pose a few sensitive questions.
The history of ordinary people and everyday life appeals to students. However, teachers struggle to squeeze it into a social studies curriculum dominated by stories of wealthy elites and political chronology.
My last post was about quality novels to teach in the American history classroom. I would like to follow it up with some books teachers can include in their geography and civics class. In Alabama, we devote a semester each to geography and civics during the seventh grade. Often, it can seem that there is not enough time to fit in everything that we need to cover during that time frame. However, the following books are short enough to read in these classes, but “pack a punch” of information.
When I implement a novel study in social studies, there are a few activities that really work for me in terms of aiding student comprehension. I'll go into what these strategies are, how to use them, and how they help. But first, a note about reading aloud.
A recent conversation with a seven-year-old has given me a lot to think about. I started with the typical questions and eventually worked my way to the topic of school. “What do you think of school?”
When I first started teaching history, it was difficult for me to incorporate reading passages in a productive and interesting way. I remember looking at a section in my textbook and thinking “how can I keep my students on task when I can barely concentrate on this stuff?”
Author's mother, Addy Yolanda López de Moguel, quinceañera, 1961, Mérida, Yucatán, México.
It is time for the Cinco de Mayo celebrations again. This minor Mexican holiday has been relegated to being a regional American beer holiday, but it can also provide some teaching opportunities for your classroom.