Sunday, February 26, 2017

Document Based Questions in the History Classroom

More important in my secondary history class than actually teaching history is teaching my students how to critically think. To have may students "think like historians" is the #1 goal. One of the strategies I consistently use are Document Based Questions,  otherwise known as "DBQ's".
Document Based Questions are either an essay (sometimes even a paragraph), or a series of short-answer questions. Students support their claims by providing evidence from a group of documents - either primary or secondary sources. In my classroom I try to incorporate DBQ's as much a possible. I created this helpful handout for my students that takes them step-by-step through the process of writing a DBQ essay. Get it FREE by clicking HERE!

Here are just a few examples of DBQ's I use in my classroom:

Do you use DBQ's in your classroom?

Happy Teaching!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fun Facts About U.S. Presidents

What better day than "President's Day" to write about Presidential fun facts! But first, a little about the holiday itself - President's Day was first established in 1885 in recognition of George Washington's birthday. Actually, it's still officially called "Washington's Birthday" by the Federal Government. It is always celebrated on the third Monday in February.

Now for the fun facts -  Your students might get a kick out of them! 
1. The Capital of Liberia was named after President James Monroe. Since Monroe was a big supporter of colonization of Liberia, they decided to name the capital after him.
2. Andrew Jackson taught his Parrot to curse. It actually cursed so much during Jackson's funeral the parrot had to be removed.
3. The phrase "OK" became popular because of President Van Buren. Many of his supporters joined groups called "O.K." clubs, named after the town he was from, "Old Kinderhook" in New York. The term "OK" came to mean "all right".
4. The "S" in Harry S Truman doesn't stand for anything. That's why it doesn't have a period after it.
5. President Bush Sr vomited on the Prime Minister of Japan. Bad sushi?
6. Eisenhower was the only U.S. President to serve in both World War I and World War II.
7. The "Teddy Bear" was named after "Teddy" Roosevelt after a toy company created a stuffed bear in response to Roosevelt refusing to shoot a bear cub.
8. Gerald Ford worked as a model during college.
9. President Kennedy was the first president to be born in the 20th Century and the first Catholic President.
10. Barack Obama's name means, "one who is blessed" in Swahili.

Are you looking for some Presidential teaching activities? Check out these engaging lessons for your secondary classroom:
 Click HERE to see resource

Click HERE to see resource
Click HERE to see resource

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

K – W – L Chart Instructional Strategy

One of my favorite instructional strategies is the K-W-L Chart. 

What I Know  –What I want to know – what I Learned

This strategy helps students organize, access, and reflect on learning which increases comprehension and engagement.

  • To activate prior knowledge ask, “What do I know?”
  • To set purpose ask, “What do I want to know?” 
  • To reflect on a new learning ask, “What did I learn?”
I either create a chart for my students or I have my students create their own. Before I teach a unit or topic I will have my students complete the section, "What I Know". This helps me understand what my students already know about the topic. I then have my students complete the section, "What do I want to know?". I usually have my students share their answers with the class. After the unit is over I then have them return back to their chart to complete the section, "What did I learn?". This a great way for you to gain prior knowledge of what your students already know about a topic and also have your students reflect on their own learning. 

Check out 70 more instructional strategies HERE

This K-W-L Chart can be found in my product, FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Teach with Movies - WORLD WAR II

Do you wish you could actually teach your high school history class with movies? There are so many great historical films that I don't want my students to miss! I don't have time to show full length films in my class, therefore I offer extra credit if my students watch them at home.

When I first introduce a new unit I give my students a list of films related to the topics we will cover in class. Students can choose one film per unit to watch for extra credit. After they watch the movie they complete these FILM questions.
Here is a list of films related to World War II I give my students. Please add in the "comments" below if there are any other films you would suggest for this unit.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Teaching Strategies for Analyzing Primary Sources

Analyzing primary sources is a critical strategy to teach in any history classroom. Teaching students how to "think like historians" is essential to help them comprehend what historians actually do. The best way to learn about past events is to actually study historical documents - journals, letters, auto-biographies, newspapers, artwork, etc.

Teaching students how to analyze documents can be a difficult task. I found two helpful strategies that I often use in my history classes; SOAPStone and APPARTS.

Here is a FREE SOAPStone analysis worksheet for the Berlin Blockade. Click HERE to get this FREE resource.

Check out my other SOAPStone worksheets below:
The Great Depression
American Isolationism in WWII
The Korean War
The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Russian Revolution - Lenin

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Anticipation Guides to Check Prior Knowledge

Before I begin a new unit in my secondary history class, I often begin with an Anticipation Guide. An Anticipation Guide consists of agree/disagree statements designed to activate what students already know, arouse curiosity about the topic, and foster thinking. Students read each statement and decide if if they agree or disagree with the statement.  If a statement is false, I often have them rewrite the statement to make it true. 

 Click HERE to get this FREE Anticipation Guide for the Cold War

Anticipation Guides are an excellent introductory activity to a unit, a lesson, a reading selection or a video. Students weigh their preconceptions before the learning activity, and can revisit the Anticipation Guide later in the unit to reevaluate their earlier decisions. 

Suggested Use:
* The statements you choose should reflect major concepts, events, feelings, or conflicts that will come up in the unit, lesson, reading or viewing.

* Have students share their answer with a partner. 

* Have students complete the "agree" or "disagree" statements either after the first discussion or after the unit or lesson is complete. 

Check out all my TEACHING STRATEGIES by clicking here!

Happy Teaching!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Teaching Strategies for the NEW YEAR!

As most teachers head back to school after winter break, we realize how difficult it may be to get our students back into the routine of school. Therefore, instead of immediately beginning with the current unit of study, I often begin with a "Growth Mindset" activity and/or a a goal-setting strategy.

My "Growth Mindset" activity includes not only a presentation to teach about growth mindset, but also a reading strategy that gives examples of the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

SMART Goals and Time Management is a FREE resources for the secondary classroom. It reviews the SMART goal strategy which I find the most useful. It also includes a presentation with engaging video's.
Does your classroom management need a little improvement? Of all the classroom management strategies I've tried, I find creating "Cooperative Groups" in my classroom is the one strategy that works the best in creating a productive and cooperative classroom. This strategy not only helps my students develop cooperative skills but also influences my students to act appropriately in the classroom.
I'm sure in the first few days your students return back from winter break many students will begin to whine. Whine that they have to wake up early, whine that they have to think critically or write an essay. Instead of getting annoyed and angry with their whining, have a little fun with this fun and  FREE "Scoring Guide for Whining"!
As the semester comes to an end and final exams begin, you might be in need of some "Fun Games and Review Strategies". This purchase includes 18 different games to choose from.
After final exams we will then need to complete semester grades for all our students. Here is another FREE resource to make grading a little easier!
I hope returning back to school will now be a little easier!

Happy Teaching!
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