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

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”

Socratic Seminars in the Middle School Social Studies Classroom

Setting Up a Socratic Seminar Middle school students are still learning the art of conversation, so when we as educators decide to have our class conduct a Socratic Seminar, we need to offer some structure to make sure that the debate offers a positive learning experience.  I’ve had several debates over the years, some much

Graphic Organizer and Rubric for Inquiry Based Essays

I’ve been working with inquiry based learning for the past few years.  As soon as it was introduced as a concept for teaching and learning, I immediately began to adapt my curriculum.  I love the way that it compels students to think about history and analyze history, and not just memorize specific events. My students

The Best Inquiry Based Social Studies Lesson Plans on the Web

As you begin to learn about inquiry based Social Studies education, you might find the quality pre-written inquiries are hard to come by.  In the post, I’ve collected the best that the internet currently has to offer.     1. Who Built America? This website is specifically focused on Social History, so their inquiries have a

Shays’ Rebellion – Inquiry Based Learning – C3 Framework

Social Studies education has undergone (and is still going through) a revolution in teaching practices.  The idea of teaching History through the authentic process of inquiry has completely revived my curriculum and my approach in the classroom.  I’ve found my students to be more involved and engaged, and simply more interested.  The inquiry process works particularly well

Book Review – Reading, Thinking, and Writing about History

As I’ve delved more into inquiry based learning in my classroom, I’ve been collecting any and all resources that can provide specific lessons for me to implement.  Recently, I purchased a copy of Reading, Thinking, and Writing About History: Teaching Argument Writing to Diverse Learners in the Common Core Classroom, Grades 6-12 (Common Core State