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Door Slaps – Formative Assessment

The latest buzz in education involves formative assessment. All of the administrators are asking for it, but what are some different ways to do it? Try a door slap! You can find this and other great ideas in my Social Studies Strategy Manual.  What is it?The Door Slap is an alternative version of the exit ticket strategy that requires students to write responses …

Anticipation Guide

PreReading  an important aspect of content literacy.  But many teachers do not take the time to build schema before they require their students to read.  Anticipation Guides have been around for years, but many times are not used effectively. What are some new ways to use them?What is it?A strategy used to set purposes for reading texts and to activate …

Diamante Poem

I absolutely love using poetry in Social Studies! It is a great way to integrate language arts skills when you are pressed for time. Use a poem for the students to show you what they have learned. What is it?A diamante poem is a 7-line poem in the shape of a diamond. It does not have to rhyme but each …

Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk is a great way to wrap up a lesson – and what I love best is that it requires very little prep! What is it? Chalk Talk is a silent way to do reflections, generate ideas, check on learning, develop projects or solve problems.  It can be used productively with any group and because it is done completely …

Alpha Boxes

Alpha Boxes are one of my favorite Social Studies strategies due to it’s versatility. You can use Alpha Boxes a previewing strategy – what do you know about… or a processing strategy – what did you learn about…What is it?A strategy utilized to develop vocabulary understanding through recollection and reflection of important points of a unit of study. How Does …

Starting off the School Year Right with Interactive Student Notebooks

So you  have committed to using an Interactive Student Notebook. And now you are asking the question – How do I get a really awesome Interactive Student Notebook? How do I get my kids to buy into the concept of creating quality notebooks? Here is how… you have a cookie contest…   Seriously – start off the school year with …

The Interactive Student Notebook

The Interactive Student Notebook is a cornerstone in many Social Studies classes. I have used an Interactive Student Notebook since 1998 and could not imagine teaching without one! There are many different components of what makes a notebook successful – everything from the intent (process vs. product) and the nitty gritty details that often scare teachers (managing the notebook). Don’t …

Analyzing Primary Sources in Social Studies

Analyzing primary sources is one of the key skills in Social Studies instruction. Do you have the tools it takes to actually teach it? There are many different graphic organizers and strategies to analyze primary sources – but my favorite has to be those that are used on images.  I have created a list of questions to ask when students …

Using Graphic Organizers in Social Studies

Graphic Organizers are one of the key components of sound Social Studies instruction – but why? And how do you choose the right one to get the job done? For me, a great graphic organizer is what ties the lesson together – it is evidence of instruction and of thinking.  The choices for graphic organizers are endless, but if you …

Word Walls

Hello 2015!I am ready to expand my horizons and learn new things! Starting a blog today.My first topic will be on Word Walls. Many of use have heard about the importance of using Word Walls in Social Studies instruction – but then what? We make a pretty word wall and it hangs up all year long. How do we make …