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, …

The Power of Music in Social Studies

      Music. It’s a component in most of our daily lives. On the way to work, in the gym, with friends, on the football field, in the band room, or even in our own rooms as we bellow out those tunes that bring movement to our feet. But, when one thinks of Social Studies, music doesn’t generally come …

The Importance of Teaching the Holocaust

    The Holocaust can bring about many emotions in an individual. When teaching this topic, it is important to remember that this lesson should have an impact on the class.  What about the Holocaust is significant to today’s generation? Why should it impact them? These are questions students will wonder and, perhaps, even ask.  The Holocaust was a time …

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Activities for Teaching Hidden Figures

If you are anything like me, you saw “Hidden Figures” and FELL IN LOVE! I was so excited to see the way Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson revolutionized their field and paved the way for women in science. My daughter’s school is taking a field trip to see the movie for Black History Month. I shared these ideas …

How to Motivate Middle School Students in the Social Studies Classroom

I am so glad to have Pamela Zupo from ZoopDog Creations sharing her wisdom about teaching middle school students.  “What do you do for work?” the stranger asks. We’re at a charitable dinner and he’s making polite chit-chat.  So I answer back with a warm smile and a gleam in my eye for the job that I love.  “I’m a …

Why I love teaching with lap books (Plus: How to make your own!)

When I started using lap books with my students, I noticed a real difference in their engagement. They were connecting with the material on a deeper level, and more importantly, they were retaining it better too. My favorite way to use them now is for test review.  Read on to see exactly how I see it up. What is a …

Andrew Jackson: Villain or Hero? 5 Strategies for Teaching Point of View

One of my favorite units I do for United States history centers on Andrew Jackson. He’s such a rich historical figure that there is plenty to unpack. I love to use Andrew Jackson as a jumping off point for teaching point of view. The activity really helps kids recognize how a person’s perspective can entirely alter their understanding of history.  …

Using Word Walls Successfully in Social Studies

The Importance of Word Walls Using word walls in Social Studies is not a new strategy, but it has become increasingly important as students struggle with the high demand for vocabulary instruction required by the STAAR. Word walls benefit all of our students – not just our ELL’s. It is important for Social Studies teachers to determine the key vocabulary …