Hey Middle School Teachers – It’s Okay to Skip Some Standards

One of the most daunting tasks presented to teachers is for them to cover all the standards. This is particularly problematic for Social Studies teachers, as we often have both content and skills standards built into our frameworks. In recent years, the skill standards have grown as teachers are now expected to teach students to

Teacher Interviews – Flipped Teaching with Andrew Swan

One of my goals as a teacher blogger is to promote the voices of regular teachers. So many teachers are engaged in developing innovative and amazing new strategies for teaching Social Studies. They are advocates, they are inventive, and they are working with students on the front lines. Yet, their voices are often lost in

How to Create Assessments that Evaluate Historical Thinking Skills

I previously wrote about how I came to conceptualize how I would assess historical thinking in my classroom, now I thought I would show you how these tests come together. As always, I start with the skills and content knowledge that have been practiced in that Unit. At the beginning of the year, I assess

Assessing Historical Thinking Skills with Middle School Students

When I first realized that the new New York State assessments would require knowledge of historical thinking skills four years ago, I was honestly excited. Rote memorization had never made me fulfilled as a history teacher. I’ve always preferred to teach my students to think, and I was happy that I would now be teaching them to

Why Teaching is a Political Act

We see this phrase “teaching is a political act” often times when teachers are defending a political stance they have taken on social media or in the classroom. However, while this phrase is often utilized, it seems that its meaning is often obfuscated by rhetoric. Before anyone enters the teaching profession, they must really understand why teaching is

Teacher Self Care – Using a Planner for Your Life

Teacher self-care has become a trending concern for teachers in recent years. It’s unfortunate, but it’s easy to invest all of your free time in your teaching career and lost yourself in the process. In my teacher self-care series, I provide easy steps teachers can take to make sure that they keep their own lives

December Reads with Peacefield History

In mid-December of 2017, I challenged myself to read more proactively on a regular basis. To keep myself accountable, I decided to post about my reading habits on Instagram, and then blog monthly about the books I’ve read.  I only started this challenge midway through December, so I have a total of four books for

Why Interactive Notebooks Don’t Work for Me

As I’ve become more involved in the teaching community, I’ve noticed a growing tendency towards turning history into a series of craft projects. This issue has been very well documented by Jennifer Gonzalez (Cult of Pedagogy) in an article titled “Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?” Basically, her argument points out that there are many

I Used to Have my Student Take Notes – I Don’t Anymore – My Class is Better as a Result

As a Social Studies teacher, I’m obsessed with having my students think critically about the topic of History. Still, it’s difficult to have students think critically without some background knowledge. Therefore, I’ve taken on the task of making sure that my students gain background knowledge with a variety of activities and tasks. It has been