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.

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