Building Engagement in the Secondary Social Studies Classroom

Getting the attention of teenagers is hard. Keeping the attention of teenagers is even harder! But how to you truly engage your students in your history class? There are actually several different strategies you can use to ensure student engagement. There are several design qualities of engaging work you can embed into your lesson to help build engagement. Put your …

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New Ideas for Word Walls

The academic and content vocabulary required for secondary Social Studies is daunting – so many words, so few time!!  Many teachers try to teach vocabulary, but realize the same strategies over and over again become ineffective. One of the most effective strategies center around using word walls.  Many teachers struggle with how to use word walls in their classroom. Here …

Lap Books: Out of the House and into the Classroom

  Lap Books have been a very popular tool for research, study and review in the world of homeschool instruction. The variety of benefits from creating and using Lap Books has helped them to move into the classroom. Lap Books are a personalized summary of a lesson or unit of content. Diana Zike developed the system of student-created file folders …

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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 …