Tip of the Week – Probable Passages

This is a great strategy.

History Tech

I heard about this pre-reading activity several years ago from a language arts teacher and adapted it so I could try it with upper elementary and middle school social studies kids. Probable Passages is a pre-reading strategy that integrates prediction, summarization, vocabulary instruction and story frames.

The strategy asks students to use key concepts, terms and other vocabulary to make predictions about a specific text. Probable Passages can be used with a variety of social studies text types including expository, narrative and persuasive. The goal is not necessarily have correct information the first time but to get a sense of what the text contains and to write (and think) using a style and structure similar to the text.

Using this strategy also provides a powerful incentive to discover whether the text is similar to their own work. When the strategy is introduced for the first time, it is important that…

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Trading cards and the Common Core

History Tech

We’ve always asked our kids to read. Informational text. Primary sources. Non-fiction. Fiction. Poetry. We’ve always asked our kids to write. Summaries. Research. Reviews. Reaction papers.

At least, that’s been the theory. Good social studies and history instruction has always included these things but I think that sometimes we can forget how critical reading and writing skills are to what we do. The Common Core, for better or worse, has been a good reminder for us. We need to have our kids read, write, and communicate much more.

The problem for many of us?

Uh . . . what does that look like again?

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Gettysburg—Battle, Speech & Gov Doc

Government Book Talk

024-005-00196-4On a chilled November morning, holding a hand-scrawled copy of a well-crafted oration, President Abraham Lincoln spoke those iconic words, “Four score and seven years ago…”

Before Lincoln even penned one line of his immortalized Gettysburg Address, delivered 152 years ago at the dedication of the cemetery for the fallen, so much had happened earlier that summer. National Park Service’s work Gettysburg National Military Park, authored by Frederick Tilberg, describes the events that spawned both battle and address.

The attack-counterattack stratagem of commanding generals Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army and George Gordon Meade of the Union Forces resulted in three days of struggle, shelling, and shattered bodies. Both sides bore heavy losses. Columns of valorous cavalrymen became matted fields of fallen blue and gray. Pickett’s Charge, Little Round Top, and the High Water Mark of the Confederacy marked the gore and glory of the Gettysburg campaign.

The Alexander Gardner portrait of Lincoln, taken 4 days before the Gettysburg Address. The…

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Educators in Chicago Digitize the WWI Homefront

New Information has been digitized.

Education Updates

Teachers in Chicago

Last week we welcomed educators to our annual Primarily Teaching summer institute in Chicago to explore documents on the homefront of World War I.  These teachers delved into the holdings of the National Archives at Chicago, and found some great documents on this topic appropriate for classroom lessons and activities.

The WWI homefront is a broad subject, but these teachers stepped up to the challenge, and selected documents on food regulation and substitution, and those investigating Bolshevik labor activists, espionage and sedition, and detained enemy alien cases.

Supportive of the food substitution effort, Cracker Jacks advertised  their use for replacing nuts in cookies and cakes.  Page 2 of The Real Food Value Pamphlet from Rueckheim Bros & Eckstein, 1918. From the Records of the U.S. Food Administration. Supportive of the food substitution effort, Cracker Jack was advertised as a replacement for salted nuts, and as a base ingredient for cookies and cakes.
Page 2 of The Real Food Value Pamphlet from Rueckheim Bros & Eckstein, 1918.  From the Records of the U.S. Food Administration.

As the documents from this workshop show, WWI was a battle on both the field and at home.  While soldiers risked their lives in trenches…

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History Lab Reports: A Template

This concept is very exciting.

Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

Have you ever watched TV? Particularly a television program set in a high school (or with high school-aged people)? At the beginning of scenes that take place inside a classroom, there is brief shot to establish the type of classroom setting – if there are bunsen burners and the teacher is wearing safety goggles, it’s absolutely in a science class! If every student has the same book on their desk and appear to be reading it aloud, it must be an English class! When the teacher is at the front of the class lecturing near a map, it’s in history.

Yes my social studies friends, we get the boring one!

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SOL 29/15 Perception and Theme

The Simple Things

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How we perceive the world around us matters. It matters in that it affects the view we have of ourselves, the view we have of others, and ultimately our happiness. It matters in that it affects our behavior and how we treat others. As I sat here thinking about my day I asked myself,  “What the heck am I going to write about tonight?” and I started surfing the internet. This video caught my eye. It’s short and gave me the insight I needed for this post.

We talk a lot about theme in my classroom, as I’m sure you all do in your classrooms. It’s kind of a big idea. And one universal theme my kids are very successful with is “not judging a book by its cover”. They are very proud when they find evidence in their reading to support this theme. Yet as I watch this clip I…

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