Things for Teachers

Post(s) tagged with "primary sources"

DESCRIBE Primary Source Strategy ⇢

From History Tech. Click through to read the rest and access a Word doc related to the activity.

There’s nothing like a great document. But it’s tough finding ways to use them with kids, especially those kids who always seem to struggle. The following strategy called DESCRIBE is based on work done by the Library of Congress. It’s designed to help kids activate background knowledge, understand key vocabulary and comprehend text.

And an added benefit? DESCRIBE helps all kids engage with primary sources but is specifically designed to help struggling learners.

Doing History Through Inquiry: A Manifesto ⇢

This blog post has really changed the way I am thinking about my upcoming lessons. There are 2 things I’ve been grappling with this year: teaching analytical skills in my social studies classroom when there is so much information to get through, and utilizing daily essential questions with my students effectively (my department is pushing essential questions, and I’ve been using them, but I don’t think I was looking at them the right way until now.) This post kind of was my a-ha moment.

To be critical citizens, my students need to know that they need to “read” the New York Post differently from the USA Today, the New York Times differently from the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC differently from Fox News.  Moreover, they need to know to critically evaluate what they find through Google or YouTube.  And they don’t know this.  I recently asked my students to define the word “objectivity” in a discussion about journalism; only a small handful could.

I’m sure not many would disagree with me to this point.  The question is how: how do we do this in curriculum that emphasize breadth over depth? How do we do this in a world where a few extra snow days can destroy an AP US teacher’s year? How do we do is when New York teachers feel like they can’t talk about current events because of the Regents?

The answer in by teaching history through inquiry.

Stephen Lazar then goes on to give AWESOME examples of how he used history through inquiry in his own classroom (some of which I will steal, most likely). He also shares AWESOME resources I was not aware of, like World History for All of Us, which provides well planned units with tons of analysis/evaluation-based activities and primary sources.

I’m using World History For All of Us to rethink how I am going to teach the Columbian Exchange and the Enlightenment (or at least a lesson or two of it).

 You can read more about creating inquiry based lessons here. Even if you are not a social studies teacher, I encourage you to read the blog post; I don’t see how it cannot apply somehow in how you approach your subject.

28 Tech Tools to Bring Out the Story in History ⇢

Primary sources, timelines, videos, and more.

Helpful blog posts

Here are some blog posts I’ve stumbled across recently that may be able to help you in some way.

A couple history-related websites…

I am a history teacher, after all :)

Holocaust Personal Histories

DocsTeach (from the National Archives) Create interactive activities with primary sources. From the website:

Each activity-creation tool helps students develop historical thinking skills and gets them thinking like historians… find and insert primary sources and customize the activity to fit your unique students.


Who I am: A fourth year high school history teacher at an urban(ish) high school in New Jersey.

What I blog about: Stuff related to education I like, and stuff I hope can help other teachers out. Technology, deals on supplies, helpful books. My focus lately is on educational technology & related resources. Occasionally, I also post things related to education reform. Because I post articles that I feel will be of interest to teachers with varying views, the political-related posts made here do not necessarily reflect my beliefs or opinions, nor do they reflect the beliefs of my employer.

What I like learning & reading about: Other teacher's opinions about and experiences with teaching & education. How I can enrich my classroom and reach out to my students. If you write about this stuff, let me know, because I probably want to read it.

What you should submit: Anything that could help a teacher.

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