There is no one way you need to be teaching US History. Every teacher has their own preferred way to run their classes. How you teach your classes is really up to you and what’s best for you and your students.
You might prefer a very structured classroom with routines that students stick to the whole year. Or, you may prefer to mix things up and keep students on their toes with different activities for each unit. Either way can work very effectively!
Over my years teaching US History, I developed a host of resources and teaching strategies that I found to be effective for different groups of kids. Here, I want to share 5 teaching strategies/resources you can use either as the backbone of your curriculum or to mix things up so that each unit has a new feel.
Each method can be combined with inquiry lessons, primary resources, station activities, and Project Based Learning to ensure you’re preparing your students and providing critical thinking...
One of the most irritating stereotypes of history teachers is that of the long-winded lecturer who drones on while the whole class sleeps. Maybe you experienced a class like this one in college.
It's one of the simplest ways to present a lot of info and lends itself to many teachers' natural ability to communicate. Lecturing can be great, also. There are some captivating storytellers that can enthrall and educate students with nothing but their own stories.
Most of us, however, don't have that ability and many students struggle to pay attention through an entire lecture. That's why, when I do use a PowerPoint to cover content, I keep things short (20-ish minutes), make it as visually appealing as possible, and ask lots of questions to get students involved.
While all of that certainly helps, you still might find it beneficial to change things up throughout the year and do some different things to avoid lecturing. Here are a few ideas you can try out in...
I've taught high school for 15 years. However, I vividly remember the tremendous struggles I had my first years teaching. Classroom management was not something that came naturally to me. It takes every teacher a few years to find their footing and feel comfortable leading a classroom.
Once you do develop strong classroom management skills, however, learning will increase exponentially and you can try more awesome lessons that would have made you nervous to try in year one.
Here’s my best classroom management advice for high school teachers. I broke it down into 9 simple reminders that I think can help any secondary teacher have great classroom management.
First and foremost, you need to learn your students’ names as soon as possible. This is a way to make an immediate connection and show right away that you care about them as people. There are teachers in October who are still learning names. Don’t be like that!
Interactive notebooks are an amazing tool to use in the classroom. The graphic organizers can help students categorize and better understand content. Students also almost always enjoy making them!
The hands-on and creative aspect of interactive notebook pages lend themselves well to fostering student creativity and allowing students to demonstrate their understanding of important concepts. I started using them years ago and gradually made them more detailed and interactive as the years went by.
I use a number of different resources in my classroom, but for years have experimented with different ways of using interactive notebook activities. At first, I would go through them together with students. However, I wanted a more student-centered classroom and sought ways to allow students more freedom to interpret our content. This led me to having students working on the pages either independently or together and then sharing what they created.
However, I still see the...
Stations lessons are some of my favorite activities in my social studies classes. They're a great way to get kids up and moving around the room and that's more engaged in whatever topic recovering. Instead of just sitting at their seats at traditional way and taking in material, they're able to move around the room and learn.
They also work with any subject area and any unit you might be covering in history. They can be higher level, with students analyzing more advanced texts and sources at each station, or feature simple political cartoons, maps, or short excerpts at each station for lower level classrooms.
There’s no set template that you need to use for all stations lessons, but here are 5 ways to make your stations lesson plans rock!
Stations can definitely vary in the structure. You might want to set a timer for a specific amount of time that students spend at each station. Or, it might work best if students are free to spend...
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