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.  …

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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 …

5 Hands on Ideas for Teaching the US Constitution

Do your students’ eyes start to glaze over when you’re teaching them about the US Constitution, almost like they’re about to doze off? Try switching things up a little bit with some hands-on activities that are designed to keep kids active and engaged. Here are five ideas I use with my students when we’re talking about how the constitution was …

5 Tips for Working with ELL’s in Social Studies

Social Studies is so important for all of our students – but our ELL students can often struggle with the amount of content and vocabulary that make up our Social Studies courses.  Here are five tips for working with ELL students in your history class. Challenge students with an anno-lighting strategy – from my Ratification of the Constitution lesson.  Promote …

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Top 10ish Strategies for Success on the US History STAAR

   Teaching 8th grade Social Studies is a tremendous task, now add the difficult STAAR test and it seems overwhelming.  Here are my Top 10ish strategies for success on the STAAR!    Arrange your classroom to support literacy with word walls, timelines and anchor charts. Your students need year long support on the content they are learning.  Use word walls …

Open House Do’s and Don’ts

For years I was the one in the front of the classroom – reviewing my syllabus, conference time, and classroom rules at Open House.  Now I am sitting in a desk that is too small for me looking at Open House with new eyes – that of a parent of a middle school child.  Here are my tips from both …

American Colonization Review Games

As a teacher, you know the best way to review for a test is with a game. But as teachers, we also secretly, (or perhaps not so secretly!) worry about the principal walking into our class at the very moment that the whole class is playing games! Well, it’s NOW time to let go of the guilt and worry about …

Professional Development by Social Studies Success

Are you interested in Professional Development from Social Studies Success? Meet our two national trainers! Dawn Vinas has worked in the field of education for 23 years. She has served as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, national trainer for Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, university professor and Social Studies Coordinator.  She is currently working with school districts as a consultant to provide quality …

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American Revolution Task Cards

Welcome Back! I’m so you came by to check out part two of my blog series on improving your students’ Social Studies skills! As we talked about last time, much of our students’ academic day is focused on growing their reading and math skills, but it’s so important to remember that Social Studies skills are vital too! When teachers are …

Features of a Civilization

Super-Engaging Social Studies Lesson & Activity Set: Features of a Civilization     Social studies teachers would agree that our goal is not just to teach the subject of a particular lesson, but it’s also important that we teach the skills needed for learning ABOUT Social Studies. If you can create (or find!) a lesson that does both, then you’re in …