Announcing the 2024 Students of History Scholarship Winner

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We're excited to announce that Toyosi Dada, a graduating senior at Towson High School, has been awarded the 2024 Students of History Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship, which has been awarded each year since 2017, recognizes a college-bound senior who has excelled in history education. Toyosi will receive a $1,000 scholarship to support her studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she plans to further her education.

This year marked the first time that applicants were required to submit video essays on their favorite history lessons, as opposed to traditional essays. Toyosi’s winning submission detailed a World War I project that allowed her to connect with the soldiers' experiences through a hands-on approach. She also shared insights from her Law and Public Policy class, where she engaged in mock trials and debates, and from her Psychology class, where she created a memorable baby book project.

Toyosi’s exemplary academic performance and leadership...

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US History EOC Review Activities

Around May of each school year, I start thinking about US History EOC review activities to get my students ready for their state assessment.

No matter if you have a “high stakes” state test or local assessment, you’ll want to prepare a range of review games, activities, worksheets, study techniques and practice tests to get students ready for their end-of-year exam.

Review Games

The most fun way to keep your students engaged is to use a variety of review games. It’s a great way to make reinforcing historical concepts enjoyable and interactive. Students are then more likely to retain the massive amount of content you cover in a year of US History.

Here are a few fun game ideas for your classroom:

Pictionary: This is always a lot of my students' favorites. Start with a list of vocabulary and break students into groups. Then, get volunteers to draw the vocabulary word on the board while the group guesses. Here’s a free list of over 350 vocabulary terms...

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6 Degrees of Separation Game for History

History is a tapestry of interconnected events, people, and ideas. Helping students to make connections in your curriculum is a powerful way to deepen their understanding of history and to see its connection to the world today. 

An awesome way to promote this understanding is through a fun and interactive classroom game called "Six Degrees of Separation."

It's inspired by the old parlor game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" that you might have played in college. In that version, someone picks a random actor and you have to connect them through films and other actors who have appeared together until you reach Kevin Bacon. 

For example, if you were given the actress Zendaya:

Zendaya was in Dune with Josh Brolin. He was in was in Hollow Man with Kevin Bacon.

It's fun to allow students to try some out with actors they might know. A website called the Oracle of Bacon is helpful for finding examples. 

There's a couple different...

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5 Ways to Incorporate Current Events into Your Social Studies Classroom

Many teachers avoid bringing current events into the classroom and often for good reason. It's a politically fraught world these days and you don't want to be considered biased or bring up trouble. Some parents are ready to pounce on you for anything.

It's understandable to want to stick to your standards. However, current events are a great way to connect your curriculum to the real world and work on social studies skills.

Incorporating current events into your social studies lessons can also be a great way to engage students and help them see the relevance of the subject to their own lives.

There's many great resources available to you from CNN10 to the Donut that are made specifically for classrooms. 

So, I encourage you to try - when relevant - to bring some current events into your lessons. 

Here are five simple tips for using effectively covering current events in your classroom:

1) Choose current events that are age-appropriate and align with your...

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5 Top Trends for Teaching Social Studies in 2023

It's the year 2023, and teaching social studies is more of a challenge than ever before. If you have been in the classroom the past few years, you know just how rough it has been. Between the students, administrators, parents, and the community, social studies teachers are feeling pressure from all directions. 

There are, however, a few exciting trends, techniques, and resources that can help social studies teachers provide our students with the most engaging and effective lessons possible.

One trend that has worked for many teachers is to go back to paper-pencil interactive notebooks. Students have been overwhelmed with technology the past few years. Many of them are burned out on Google Classroom, digital activities, webquests, Kahoot, etc.

I know many of your admin require digital activities but there are easy ways to balance the digital and "analog".

For example, I will have students read an online article and complete an interactive notebook graphic organizer...

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Worksheet Packets for Civics, World, & US History

One of the most time and energy-saving strategies I started using in my social studies classroom was to employ unit guide packets for students.

These thorough 9-page packets were a huge help in a few ways:

  1. Printing the majority of student work at once each unit instead of each day.
  2. Students know exactly what they need to know for the test and have it in one place. 
  3. If I'm ever out sick, students can just work on their packets. 

They took a long while to create, but I now have packets for every unit in Civics/Government, World History, and US History. That's 48 total packets and over 400 pages of student worksheets! 

Each one features an introductory reading, standards-based Essential Questions to guide the unit, and then 9 pages dedicated to vocabulary, geography, people, timelines, key concepts, and image analysis.

Here's a closer look at what's included on every page: 

Unit Introduction

This page features a short reading on the unit that...

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Wilmington Insurrection or Coup Lesson Plan for US History

For years, I ended my unit on Reconstruction by teaching about the controversial election of 1876 leading to the Compromise of 1877. The Democrats' "corrupt bargain" allowed Rutherford B. Hayes to be declared the winner in exchange for Union troops to be pulled out of the South. 

This led directly to the Jim Crow Era of the South. The Jim Crow Era was when racial segregation was legalized, African Americans were disenfranchised, and white supremacists controlled governments across the South.

I realized recently that a case study of how dramatic these changes were for people in the South would be a powerful lesson to conclude the unit with. Following the Jan. 6th insurrection at the Capitol (I have a lesson for this here), I came across an article about the only "successful" coup or insurrection in US History.

I couldn't believe I had never heard of it before, but I dove into learning all I could about what happened at Wilmington, NC in 1898 and created this lesson...

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January 6th Lesson Plan for High School Social Studies

The insurrection of January 6th, 2021 is something that will be taught in US History classrooms as long as American History is a part of high school.

Of course, it can be difficult to maintain the right perspective when teaching events that are so recent. However, ignoring this tragic day does a disservice to our students and to what we do as social studies teachers. 

I don't recall anyone saying not to talk about 9/11 immediately after it occurred or in the years since. No one demanded that teachers ignore the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Violent intruders breached what should be one of the most secure buildings on the planet, attacked police, and made violent threats against lawmakers in their hopes for a coup to overturn the will of the American democracy.

I loved what middle school teacher Dylan Huisken told the AP, “Not addressing the attack is to suggest that the civic ideals we teach exist in a vacuum and don’t have any...

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US History Worksheets: Printable and Digital Activities for Kids

If you're a US History teacher looking for PDF worksheets for your high school or middle school classroom, I have tons to share, including this 30+ page packet of free engaging assignments you can download and start using right away. 

Our worksheets are perfect for helping students with reading comprehension, preparing for the Regents review or state assessment, pairing with a video like the Crash Course US History series, or with your lesson plans throughout the school year. 

While they're sometimes belittled, worksheets are an excellent tool for helping students analyze primary sources or better understand a historical event through a secondary source.  

Each US History unit also include thorough 9-page worksheets packets for every unit in the curriculum. These worksheet packets condense everything you need for the unit into one packet, include answers for you in the teacher guide, and are editable with the Google Doc version! 

...

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Students of History Subscription Preview

 

Are you curious about what's included with a Student of History subscription?

Well, let's take a look!

Here's a sneak peek of what your subscription will look like after you login. First, you'll be brought to your dashboard where you'll see the curriculum that you have. It could be Civics, World, or US History.  

After clicking on your curriculum, you’ll see all the units that are included. You get immediate access to all of them immediately after signing up. So, no matter where in the curriculum your course begins, you can get started right away. 

From there, just click on any unit you want to start with and you’ll see it is broken down by day. Most units are between 7-10 days long. That is based on longer block-scheduled classes. So, if you teach daily 45-minute classes, you might need to break up each day’s lesson over two periods.

The lessons are designed to be easy to understand quickly, so you don’t need to slog through a bunch of pages...

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