Going digital was already one of the biggest trends in education when COVID-19 hit and schools across the world were forced to move to Distance Learning. Suddenly, all teachers were thrust into digital resources, Google Docs, Zoom, and all the headaches that came with them.
No matter if your experience with Distance Learning was brutal or just a small struggle, there are many excellent resources you can use with Google Classroom now and in the future.
I never ran a paperless classroom and don’t think I'd ever go fully paperless. There’s too many activities that lend themselves better to doing by hand. Distance Learning taught the limits of teaching through technology.
However, I do integrate many Google Docs, Slides, and digital interactive assignments into every unit of US History. When technology is used effectively, it’s an amazing resource. There are many digital learning tools available that enhance student learning.
If you've been forced to move to Distance Learning, have recently gone 1:1 in your school, or just want to use more Digital activities with your students, my Google Drive notebook sets are an amazing resource for your social studies students.
Each digital interactive notebook set covers an entire unit in US History and include 8 to 15 pages of activities. Each page features short directions and links to online sources for kids to learn about the topics covered. There's over 150 pages on US History in all!
The activities on each page vary to ensure students are learning in various ways. Some pages have students drag-and-drop events along timelines of important events. Other pages require students to insert images or respond to prompts. The variety is perfect for keeping students engaged.
There's also pages on vocabulary, geography, primary sources, and all the important information students need to know about each unit in US History.
Social Studies teachers and education leaders have long preached the benefits of using Primary source materials in the classroom. These documents are essential to helping students understand history and encourage analytical thinking.
Primary sources allow teachers to expose students to different perspectives throughout US History and allow students to draw their own conclusions about important historical events.
Many studies have shows textbooks to contain bias or even inaccurate information in some cases. Primary sources bring students directly to the history and eliminate bias in the classroom.
Finding good primary sources that students can understand is the tough part. Often primary sources are at a higher reading-level that students struggle with or are too long to be digested in a class period or for a single assignment.
Over the past few years, I dedicated myself to curating and editing engaging primary source resources for my US History classes. I have spent...
If you teach US History in middle school or high school, you how how important timelines are. They organize events in a simple visual way, help students see cause and effect, and are perfect for showing students all the key events that students need to know in any unit.
I teach ALL of American History, from the Colonies through to Modern America and include printable timeline worksheets in the packets I give students for each unit we cover.
When you do cover so much content in a year, timelines become essential. We often don't have that much time to spend on any one unit. That's why the packets become very effective at showing students exactly what they need to know. The printable timeline pages are perfect for giving students a chance to see each significant event in that.
I make them very simple to use. The timelines are included in a PDF file and a Google Doc. I print out the PDF file of the entire packet at the start of each unit and give them to each...
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...
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...
As all teachers know, it is a long school year. Over the course of 180 school days, there are bound to be point where both you as a teacher, and the students, are burned out, bored, or just otherwise not excited about the curriculum.
It’s at points of the year like that where I try to infuse something different or fun to break our class out of that monotony and infuse some much needed life into the classroom. At first, I tried just taking the class outside or just some fun activities. However, I’ve since developed a variety of engaging ways to bring a little spice to whatever lesson we need to cover.
I was inspired by the rise of the “Insta-worthy” museum to bring these together and share with you here. Insta-worthy museums and exhibits cater to the visual appeal of Instagram and people wanting to document their experiences. In the same way, students are drawn to these same kinds of experiences and I’ve often seen kids snapping pictures when we do...
Whether you teach World History or US History to middle school or high school students, one of your biggest units in the year is likely to be World War 2. The scope and impact of the war was so massive that you need at least a few weeks to cover everything. That means you need to have a wide variety of high-quality, engaging lessons to use throughout the unit.
From the causes of WW2, to the people, main events and battles, the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the lasting impact of WW2 into the Cold War - it's a LOT to cover.
Here are some of my favorite lesson plans and activities to use with secondary students for teaching World War II:
One of the first things students need to understand is the rise of dictatorships and fascism in the years before World War II. Hitler in Germany, Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, Benito Mussolini in Italy, and militarists in Japan all took power during the 1930s.
To teach students...
Andrew Jackson is one of the most important figures in US history. In fact he's the only person to have an era named for him: The Age of Jackson.
As a result, you want to make sure you cover the essential understandings students are going to need to know about the Andrew Jackson presidency based on your state standards, but also make your lessons engaging and hands on so students really connect with the material.
I spend about 2-3 weeks on the Age of Jackson in my American History classes. We look at the rise of the Common Man, Spoils System, the Indian Removal Act, Nullification Crisis, Jackson's war on the National Bank, and other important events of the period.
Here are five awesome activities that you might want to use to teach about Andrew Jackson:
Jackson and John Quincy Adams had two contentious presidential elections in 1824 and 1828. In the 1828 election, each had a theme song that they used her campaign events. These campaign...
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