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:
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:
This page features a short reading on the unit that...
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...
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...
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!
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...
With the move to Hybrid and Distance Learning last year, digital learning activities became more important than ever.
Thankfully, I had been using digital notebooks in my classes for a few years. It started with occasional trips to the computer lab. I designed the digital pages I created to look like traditional notebooks - vertically aligned and in the style of the "cut-and-paste" activities we were already doing.
These worked great and students enjoyed them. With the move to fully-digital, however, a few things started to pop up that inspired me to redesign the notebooks. This redesign turned into a complete overhaul of all my digital notebook sets this summer.
You can preview and download any of them through the links below, but here are the major updates and changes:
1. New Horizontal Format - Laptops and Chromebooks obviously have horizontal screens. While the Zoom feature on Google Slides was helpful on the old style notebooks, I wanted students to easily be able to...
Reviewing with games is always more fun for students than review packets or worksheets. Games get kids excited and build upon their competitive instincts to make reviewing material more engaging and impactful.
Traditional classroom review games like Pictionary, Jeopardy, and Kahoot/Gimkit/Quizizz are great. Kids know how to play, love them, and they're easy to implement. My curricula has these review games already made for each unit.
However, it's good to change things up every so often to keep kids excited and engaged. That's why every so often, we'll play my favorite review game - Review Clue!
Clue has always been one of my all-time favorite movies ("Two corpses. Everything's fine."). Sadly no students have seen it, so my wealth of quotes is lost on them. BUT it's super easy to play in any subject!
It's played similarly to the famous board game (which is apparently known as Cluedo is some parts of the word).
No matter what your subject or unit is, you...
If you're teaching social studies through the COVID-19 pandemic, you've likely tried to connect this moment in history with events in the past from your curriculum.
Since I have both World History and US History, I wanted separate lessons that would allow students to see connections to history from what they have lived through.
To do this, I developed these two lessons. The first one is for US History and allows kids to analyze primary sources from the 1918 "Spanish Flu" pandemic. The second one for World History has students analyzing a primary source from the plague.
The 1918 Spanish Flu was one of the deadliest pandemics of all time. It affected nearly 1/3 of the entire world and killed millions.
It didn't develop in Spain, but earned the name because other nations censored any news of widespread sickness because of World War 1. Spain was neutral in the war and one of the few countries that accurately reported how...
You may have begun the year fully virtual or just now switching to Distance Learning due to the rising cases of covid-19. Either way, many teachers are looking at ways to engage their students through online learning during this unprecedented time in education.
I recently met with a diverse group of high school and middle school social studies teachers (on Zoom, of course) to talk about what's working and what's not as far as virtual learning.
Included here is a list of our best advice to those of you who are teaching virtually. There's obviously various learning platforms and forms this can take (synchronous or asynchronous). However, these tips should be helpful no matter how your school is conducting things.
No matter how simple or obvious you think a topic or assignment might be, explain it as simply as you can and then explain it again.
Provide written instructions that students can see on screen while you explain things and...
Before the scourge of COVID-19 thrust schools across the world headlong into Distance Learning, digital resources were already gaining use in classrooms. For a good reason also. When technology is used effectively, it’s an amazing tool for teaching World History.
If your Distance Learning experience was stressful or just mildly exhausting, there’s still many exceptional digital activities you can (and should) still be using with Google Classroom in a traditional school setting, through distance learning, or in a blended learning format.
I never ran a paperless classroom and don’t think I would ever go fully paperless. There’s too many assignments that lend themselves better to printable PDFs done by hand. I think Distance Learning taught us all the limits of teaching through technology.
However, I do incorporate Google Docs, Slides, and digital interactive activities in every unit of World History throughout the year. There are just so many...
If you're not sure about signing up, why not try out some of our resources for free? Sign up to download over 30 pages of awesome free activities for social studies!