History teachers...

Discussion in 'High School' started by patbigbertha, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. patbigbertha

    patbigbertha Rookie

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    Oct 1, 2008

    I have previously taught MS S.S. for the last two years and I am now a High School S.S. teacher. I teach Global 1, U.S. 1 and a Spec. needs Gov. class. Any advice?

    Pat
     
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  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 1, 2008

    DO NOT RELY ON THE TEXTBOOK. Use lots of simulations, projects, and interactive notebook type assignments (even if you are no using the notebook itself).
     
  4. okhistory

    okhistory Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Brendan: I am teaching U.S. History for the first time and please be specific (give examples and where to find) simulations and projects. I would love to get out of the book more, but where do I (specifically) go to find these other items? thank you for your help.
     
  5. Mr. V

    Mr. V Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Your school probably has TCI or History Alive! binders for US history. These are full of great interactive lessons and simulations. Also, just search the web for "lesson plans"
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Just search the web for most simulations and projects. Also look into buying the TCI History book its 50 bucks but well worth it. My department spends alot of our funds on simulation books and some great ones are the one's INteach told me about (I forget the name.) Teacher Created Materials has a great book. You can also find some interactive lessons and simulations for free online.

    For projects and activities a great source is mrroughton.com and mrdonn.org. For interactive notebook type assignments interactive-notebooks.wikispaces.com/ has lots of great links. Even if you do not use the notebook you can use some of the assignments.

    Creating readings besides the text is the hardest task. In my school we create readings as a department. We often just use some articles from history books and textbooks directly or we use the web, history books, and textbooks to create our very own readings. Sometimes though we will just use an article directly from the internet.

    To pull our resources, something you may want to have your department do is that we have a few HUGE binders for each course which we all contribute to we place all ideas, assignments, activities, websites, readings, etc. in there so we can get a hold of them.

    Another thing that is important to do is to make ALL your own assesments, textbook based assesments need to go.
     
  7. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Oct 3, 2008

    These are short - 1 - 3 days max

    http://www.dedicatedteacher.com/est...istory&ResultSetSize:int=19&query_index:int=3

    I've not used this one, but I love the World and Ancient History ones.

    http://www.dedicatedteacher.com/est...ations&ResultSetSize:int=21&query_index:int=1

    Revolution

    http://www.dedicatedteacher.com/est...tions&ResultSetSize:int=21&query_index:int=14

    General American History


    For longer, more involved simulations you can check Interact:

    http://www.highsmith.com/webapp/wcs...catalogId=10050&storeId=10001&langId=-1&N=796


    If you want information about interactive notebooks you can check here:
    http://www.teacherweb.com/SC/LadysIslandMiddleSchool/Gannon/ap6.stm
     
  8. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Ancientciv: What does GRAPES stand for? Geography; religion; Art & technology...so what is PES?
     
  9. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Oct 4, 2008

    Geography
    Religion
    Art and Technology
    Politics and Government
    Economics
    Social Structures

    :) I teach them sign language to go with them - mine are 11-12, so they are very cute doing them in order.
     
  10. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Thank you, that's a cool idea.
     
  11. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

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    Oct 9, 2008

    I find it hard to believe EVERY book of history stinks.....or do you just think books in general are of little use in a classroom?

    Because I can't begin to calculate what I've learned from "just" reading books and these had nothing to do with school i.e. they were read because *I* was simply interested in that particular subject: astronomy, loudspeaker design, sports, electronics theory, geology, politics, philosophy, etc etc. Not to mention the life-altering lessons I've learned while reading certain books of fiction. And no projects or other physically-based media was needed to place all that knowledge into my head.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2008

    Brendan and I have had this "conversation" before. Since I imagine he's in school already, let me explain what I think he means until he can get here to clarify.

    There's nothing wrong with using a textbook. I think Brendan has a big problem with teachers who RELY SOLEY on the textbook.

    History is such a fluid subject-- by the time a book is in print, the odds are good that at least some details (names of nations, their leaders, economic info) will have changed.

    Serioulsy-- a US History textbook that went into print in July probably would have a different ending to the Economy chapter than one printed today.

    As a result, in many subjects but particularly in history, that textbook needs to be supplemented.
     
  13. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 9, 2008

    Thanks, Alice. I just hate seeing classes in which the ONE textbook is the only type of reading used.It is booring for the teacher and the student this way. I prefer to use the textbook along with other supplements from other history books, websites, and other readings.
     
  14. MrsTeacher2Be

    MrsTeacher2Be Companion

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    Oct 9, 2008

    I interviewed for a MS history position this summer, and the P was very specific that she was looking for someone who did more than use the textbook. She said that the previous teacher only had kids read the text and answer questions from it, and the next time the kids had American history, most didn't remember anything from the last time. Obviously, we have to use books in history, but, like Brendan is saying, the problem comes in when we only use one source. Think about it- if you assigned a research paper, for any subject, you'd never allow your students to use only one source, even if it was a rather complete text. We go to other sources to flesh out the info from the first source. :2cents:
     
  15. SSA

    SSA Companion

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    Oct 28, 2008

    I would agree with you that it is more about showing kids that one source is rarely the be all and end all of a subject. I beg to differ with the notion that we need to supplement textbooks in K-12 because it becomes outdated so quickly. Most of the time in K-12 education textbooks are updated due to either fixing errors (surprisingly common) or updating them to reflect some new educational trend. While occasionally there are bona fide reasons to update the book due to the material changing (Pluto is no longer a planet, "Deep Throat" AKA Mark Felt is now a real recognized historical figure in Watergate, some foreign languages have undergone spelling reforms, etc.) most material in K-12 is so fundamental stable that the changes in textbooks almost always are more pedagogical than updating of facts. Changes to the more basic stuff thought in K-12 changes slowly.
     
  16. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I also need to supplement becuase I don't feel my textbook goes enough in depth as it needs to. I never though, use the questions that come with the textbooks, I always make my own. I like reinventing the wheel it better fits my kids.
     
  17. Geographynut

    Geographynut Rookie

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    use the book

    textbooks are not evil. I heard all through college that the books were bad and you had to use other things etc.
    Well, my first year I had 3 preps. It was hard, and although I majored in history, I certainly did not know it all.
    the textbooks are organized in a way that is easy to teach. The individual states have their specific requirements spelled out in the book, you don't have to wonder what is part of the curriculum, it's there for you. We pay thousands of dollars for these books, why not use them?
    After you have been teaching for a while, you will find other lessons and resources that you like to use in addition to the textbook, and by the time you have been teaching a long while, you probably won't even look at the book.
    But for new teachers, that's your biggest resource. It's hard enough writing lesson plans and doing all the other stuff you have to do to worry about finding additional sources. It will come eventually, it's called experience and time.
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Using the textbook is not the answer. A class in which you rely on the textbook is extremely booring and uncreative. If you do that in my department you would not have a job, its that simple. Am I saying abandon the text? No, but before you do anything always ask youself is there a way I could do it better and still benefit the kids? If your answer is yes to this I would not follow through with what you are doing. Do kids need to get used to reading from a textbook? Yes. But they also need to be educated in the best way possible.
     
  19. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2008

    That's fine and dandy, and it's great that you are so anti-textbook. However, I can relate to what the previous poster said about using the book. Like him, I also majored in history and am starting my second year teaching. I have had no life for the past year simply because I bought into the mantra I heard in college- don't ever use the textbook. I had been brainwashed so bad that it got to the point where I felt guilty in my student teaching if I used the book! That's ridiculous. So I spent hours upon hours creating my stuff, searching the web endlessly for the best simulations, debates, trials, etc.

    Is my history class awesome? Oh yeah. Do I use the textbook? Hardly ever. And my kids love it. However, I would argue that it's not always practical for beginning teachers to spend hours and hours coming up with their own stuff as they attempt to reinvent the wheel. Think about it Brendan- how long did it take you to build up your bag of tricks? It is sometimes imperative to use the text as a crutch until you fill up that binder and have a variety of activities to use in class.

    Don't get me wrong, I am all for teachers working their butts off and sacrificing. It is my opinion though that many first-year teachers have enough to worry about than developing a whole year of killer lessons completely without the textbook.
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Honestly, it did not take me that long to fill up my bag of tricks. I work in a department in which we share our resources. There are binders full of activities in my office that we have all created. I do use the textbook in my classes, don't get me wrong. I have them complete reading assignments from the text as their homework assignments. I have a problem in which a class that all the kids do is read the textbook, take notes, and complete the section reviews. I have seen many social studies class in which all that happens is the kids read from the text, listen to their teacher's lectures, and then repeat. Their needs to be some type of interactive classwork going on each day. Whether it be reading primary and secondary sources, completing simulations or role plays, projects, or other types of assignments. I have seen my student teacher this year take over classes completely and guess what she uses all of her own materials. She makes her own readings, assignments, projects, activities, you name it. If she can do it, theres no excuse for relying on the textbook.
     
  21. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Nov 5, 2008

    Maybe you're more talented than I am at rounding up goodies for your class. I'm not that way! It took me the better part of two years to get everything together, and I'm still looking for more (and probably will for a long time).

    My problem is that I am the social studies/history department and there aren't many people to share resources with. When do you want to get together? :D
     
  22. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    You are the only History department in your school? I have a department of 12, we spent our whole professional development team yesterday in course teams, preparing readings, simulations, projects, you name it. If you ever need help feel free to let me know.
     
  23. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Sweet. I would love to be able to team up with 11 other teachers from my department like that. I'm finishing up the Vietnam War era right now and am making my way backwards. I'm going to do a Rosenberg mock trial in class and then a cable news show for the decision to drop the bomb. We're going to bring in analysts and have callers "call" into the show with the hosts- it's going to be awesome. Looking ahead, I could really use some help with FDR, New Deal, and the Roaring Twenties. I need some kind of simulation but haven't thought of one yet.
     
  24. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Let me check the files, I'm sure we have some type of simulation on the books.
     
  25. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Nov 8, 2008

    I too made the move from MS to HS social studies. It's definitely a change in pace, but I enjoy teaching HS more than MS. Anyways, a few things I picked up on are:
    1. Do not give many text HW assignments that simply are "read and answer" - Basically, most students won't read, they'll simply look for the answer in the text (and if the questions come from the textbook, they aren't hard to find)
    2. Quiz often - It's better to have them fail a weekly quiz than have a "I don't really get it, but maybe tomorrow it will be cleared up" mentality that leads to low exam grades
    3. Assign essays - Writing is a significant aspect of all subjects and even though students may not remember who Hammurabi is, they will remember the rules of grammar, punctuation, and hopefully sentence coordination over time & practice
    4. Give projects - They are much more fun than reading in the text; get students engaged in the subject matter by having them work in groups (they rarely tend to like solo projects) and complete a "fun" assignment (i.e. I had them create a talk show for the 2008 election in terms of foreign relations)
    5. Do not be a push over - They will remember if you're the teacher that allows talking, cheating, etc. and they will ABUSE it
    6. Give assignment calendars if you can - I love this because it eliminates the "But I had hockey practice last night" excuse
    7. Incorporate media - Songs, movie clips (I don't like showing full length movies, I think it's wasteful), pictures, slide shows, anything that isn't reading intensive - ask any student, it get's old fast
    8. Have class discussions in which they break off into groups of 3-6 to discuss a topic; then for HW, have them write about it
    9. Incorporate writing assignments - Mock newspaper assignments, journal responses, blogs, anything and everything
    10. Tell them their grade bi-weekly (whether by a class website or by a grade sheet), don't allow the "I had no idea I was doing so poorly" thing at the end of the quarter when they're all looking for extra credit

    And finally, don't be afraid to say "I don't know but I'll look it up and get back to you." Students HATE teachers that believe they know it all and give responses like "Well it just was that way." Also, try to ask questions like "Did the basketball team win last night?" "Did any of you see the new movie ___________," etc. They really appreciate the personalization questions like that give, but DO NOT become their friend. Keep it friendly, but professional. Don't be one of those teachers that finds themselves in trouble because they talked about inapproperiate things with students (alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.).
     
  26. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

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    Nov 13, 2008

    If you're preparing them for university plan to devote a fair amount of time to teaching writing and critical analysis for history. A student who knows how to approach a paper will be better prepared for any uni class than a student with a lot of knowledge of a subject who doesn't.
     

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