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 number of “skill standards” have grown, as teachers are now expected to teach students

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

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

How to Find Joy in your Teaching Career When Colleagues Make you Feel Like a Dying Star

I’m really lucky. I teach in a small rural school district, with great kids (students, but I always refer to them as my kids). They’re largely well behaved, inquisitive, and their parents are supportive. Most days, I get to go to work, try out new activities, and observe my students thinking and learning.  It’s not

10 Ways to Encourage Primary Source Analysis with Middle Schoolers

As Social Studies education has transformed in the past few years, I’ve found that I need to have my middle school students analyzing documents almost every day of the year. Simply having students read and answer questions becomes tedious and boring after a week of class. Therefore, I’ve developed quite a few strategies to “trick”

Rhiannon Giddens – Music and History

Whenever possible, I try to incorporate music into my history classes.  With my high school classes, I teach the full American History.  Therefore, it’s rather easy to find music to play for the 20th century. With earlier History, finding meaningful music to incorporate can be much more difficult.  Of course, the Hamilton musical, and it’s

8 Great Podcasts for Teachers of History

I absolutely love listening to podcasts in my spare time.  It’s an easy way to delve in to history topics I know little about, and it provides an alternative to reading.  I can listen to a podcast on my morning walk with the dog, or when I’m cleaning up a garden bed.  History podcasts often