Teaching the Constitution

Constitutional Conflict? How do you grab your students attention with the Constitution? It’s hard for students to read and hard for them to understand. I have several different ideas to help you with this task.   Constitution Unit Doodle Notes Engage your students with fun notes! I have several different activities that combine informational text and Doodle Notes. Take a …

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Why Study History?

As a classroom teacher, you often get hit with that question – usually within the first week of school by a student who “Does Not Want To Be Here”… and truthfully, how do you answer that question? “Because I said so?” “Because someone else (your state standards) said we have to?” Are you prepared to answer that question when it …

Misery-Free Vocabulary Strategies

  I am from the generation when vocabulary was taught by each student taking out a sheet of paper, copying the new words and writing the definitions from the glossary. I can remember piles of vocabulary papers sitting on my desk, slowly sliding into the trash… The problem is that no kid ever successfully learned new vocabulary by this method. …

Task Cards that Multi-Task for You

Every teacher is a multi-tasker. You are listening to one group, keeping an eye on another group, assessing if the information you are providing is being understood by the class and devising an alternate method of instruction – all at the same time, all day long. Wouldn’t it be great to find some activities that work just as hard as …

Where Do I Go? What Do I Do?: The Time Wasting Problems of Cooperative Groups

Another chance for time to be wasted and confusion to reign supreme is when you make, seat and assign roles or tasks to the members of cooperative groups. With so many opportunities for cooperative group activities, I make my groups of 2, 3, 4 or 5 in advance. I actually keep a notebook of my different groups so I don’t …

My Summer Treasure Hunt

By Kristi Grubaugh, Featured Teacher –   Summer means the opportunity to read for leisure. There is a basket of cozy mystery paperback waiting for me right now. Many very admirable teachers create book lists for themselves to complete between Memorial and Labor Days. My goal each summer is to find a couple new treasures to add to my class …

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DBQs for Students and You

By Kristi Grubaugh, Contributing Teacher – I still remember the first time I showed a class a copy of the Declaration of Independence. The wonder and awe of my fifth graders was genuine because they believed I had in my possession the actual, original Declaration of Independence. The excitement spread so fast that when second period arrived, they all wanted …

End of the Year Activities for Secondary Social Studies

“Now What? It’s the end of the year, they have taken away my textbooks, the testing season is over, now what do I do with my kids until the end of the year?”  This question is repeated over and over in secondary Social Studies teacher’s classrooms. How do I keep my student’s engaged the last few weeks or days of …

Standardized Testing: 3 Easy Strategies to Raise your Students’ Spirits

Testing season got you down? Betsy Potash has some great ideas to keep you and your students motivated!   As the testing season approaches, teachers face an uphill battle against the monotony and judgmental nature of standardized testing. What student feels inspired to try her best when faced with a pile of photocopied test papers? Testing provides no real audience for …

QR Codes in Social Studies

Technology in the classroom can be both a blessing and a curse! When technology is used correctly, it can enhance a lesson and provide multiple opportunities for engagement.  One of my favorite ways to incorporate technology is through the use of QR Codes.  These quick little links allow teachers to differentiate learning for students through the use of additional readings, …