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...
Many school districts are working now on how to best support teachers and students in remote learning. Whether it is because students need to remain at home until the coronavirus subdues or there is just a massive blizzard that shuts down school for a period, remote learning is something to prepare for.
While I have not yet taught in a fully-remote learning structure, I began to use “blended learning” strategies a few years ago. Like it sounds, blended learning is a hybrid strategy that delivers some content online but also includes lessons in school to support student learning.
It was in this blended learning environment that I began to create and use “flipped classroom” videos to teach the basic concepts of some units. I recorded video lectures and uploaded them to YouTube. Students received guided notes worksheets and were assigned a video for homework. These were all fairly short and easy for students to complete on any device. They also saved...
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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