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

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

Standards Based Grading in Middle School

Edited to note that while this post was written for Social Studies, these practices can carry over easily to any other subject. Both the Math and the ELA teacher at my grade level have adopted very similar practices.  I’ve already written about my new grading practices for AP U.S. History.  I wanted to make sure

Standards Based Grading in AP U.S. History (APUSH)

Last year I attended a workshop by Rick Wormlei.  Over the years I’ve been a teacher, I’ve developed a hesitancy and “leeriness”of any and all workshop presenters.  I’ve been to enough bad workshops over the years, and sometimes, they were just awful. This workshop blew away all of my expectations.  Wormlei was engaging, and interesting,