Welcome back to another Loves, Links, Reads, and Reviews – the monthly link roundup where I post my best Social Studies related and teacher finds from the internet, and discuss all that I’ve been up to in the past month.
Loves and Links
RPG Playground – I found out about this website this past month, and I can only imagine all the possibilities for Social Studies. This website allows students to make their own RPG games!
Merriam-Webster Time Traveler – This website allows students to search by year to find when words were first introduce to English. Honestly, I’m not sure how I might use with this with students, but I could see it being utilized with a decades project in some form.
Teacher Evaluation – Nationwide, evaluating and penalizing teachers rarely works – Essentially this article summaries the results of a study discussing teacher evaluations. I’m not at all surprised that the study found that the whole process of teacher evaluation didn’t really lead to any improvements in student achievement. You can find the original study here.
“Colloquially, the words “I’m demoralized” are usually taken to mean “I’m really upset, bummed out, sad.” But as I use it, the term describes teachers’ feelings about the moral and ethical challenges they face. Many teachers become dissatisfied not because they’re exhausted and worn down but because they care deeply about students and the profession and they realize that school policies and conditions make it impossible for them to do what is good, right, and just.”Doris A. Santoro
Although this concern has certainly been amplified by the pandemic, I felt that this idea encapsulated how most teachers are feeling. They’re not necessarily burned out, instead, they feel like that aren’t being heard, and they don’t see hope that their experience will change.
rasterbator.net – Not the best name for a website, but this site make poster-sized prints from PDF files.
Sunrise Alarm Clock – (affiliate link) – One of my favorite Christmas presents was this new alarm clock. Do I love waking up to an alarm clock? No, of course not. Still, this alarm clock is quite fantastic. It mimics the sunrise with a orangey orb that slowly lights up. Once it reaches the official wake up time, the sound of birds plays. I really, really felt different waking up this way! It was definitely better than the violence of beeping from my phone.
New Peacefield History Resources
Big Business – With this activity, students will learn about the major vocabulary surrounding the rise of industry. I find that understanding of that vocabulary is often assumed and is not explained well. Therefore, I created a scenario with an interactive slideshow to explain each of the terms before diving into the history. Students will then assess several cartoons discussing the industrialists (Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller) to determine if they could be best described as robber barons or captains of industry.
Industrialization – Word Wall – Help your students build and retain key vocabulary terms with a visually appealing word wall. This resource includes 45 word wall terms related to the Industrial Era, vocabulary review strategies, and a review puzzle to support your students’ learning.
Industrialization – Review and Assessment – This resource includes two different versions of an assessment for the 9 lessons in my Industrialization unit and a review worksheet for the entire unit.
Industrialization – Full Unit Bundle – Yep! I finished a new unit for U.S. History I am so proud of this unit. It contains tons of detail and options for teachers working in many types of situations. Within this unit, students will analyze the complex forces that led to industrialization during the Gilded Age. They’ll examine the influx of different immigrant groups, see how these groups struggled and persevered in the U.S.. discuss the development of capitalism and industry, and analyze reactions against that force – through unions and strikes. Students will analyze primary source relating to all kinds of topics – immigration, child labor, and big business are all discussed. They will play a variation on the “Urban Game” that has them visualize the demographic changes to 5 Points in NYC. They will learn about this time period through many teaching methods, including direction instruction, station activities, cooperative learning activities, game play, and podcast listening.
Reads and Reviews
I improved slightly with my reading focus in December. I realized that sometimes I needed to read books that were more history adjacent. That really helped to revive my reading funk for the new year.
Amy Hanley first appears as a regular 20 something women. A bit lonely, but exited about her plans to become a EMT and dedicated in that pursuit. Still, as the story unfolds, clues about Amy's mental well being gradually reveal a deeply depressed and isolated woman. I could throw many labels towards Amy relating to any number of afflictions - still, her story was really about unresolved and unrecognized grief. She's a frustrating and unreliable narrator, but ultimately I only felt sympathy for her circumstances. If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, you will definitely appreciate this story.More info →
This novel starts from the perspective of Travis Wren, a man who has been hired to search for Maggie St. James. His search leads him to a reclusive commune called the pastoral.
A History of Wild Places is not about any history, instead, it's more of a contemporary dystopia. This book had a timeless quality. It could have taken place in the 1950s or the current day. The story follows the path of three characters as they become lost within the the world of a reclusive commune. Without giving away the plot, I would note that the novel really explores conceptions of reality - and how that conception can be so blurred by invasive ideas. I do wish that the author had explored some of the more details that are embedded along the way. Still, this novel was very engrossing and I was finished read it with a few days.More info →
When Caroline Parcewell discovers that her husband has cheated on her after 10 years of marriage, she decided to go on their anniversary trip alone - to London. In an attempt to explore the historical researcher side of her life that she had left behind years before, she decides to go along on a little historical adventure that involves finding objects that have appeared from the historical muck of the city. Her discovery leads her towards a path of intriguing historical research and self-discovery.
Although it's probably technically classified as historical fiction, half of the book takes place within a historical era and half of the book takes place in the modern day. This book is probably the closest I might get to reading a "romance" novel. It's actually about the rejection of romance, and finding one's self - independent of any romantic partner. (I'm not sure what that says about me.) My only criticism of this book is that it is a very "tidy" story. Caroline is able to uncover all the secrets through her research. I wish historical research worked this way, but often times, that's just not the case. At one point she finds an abandoned location that had not been touch for over 100 years - in London! Given the value of London real estate these days, I found that particular plot point rather unlikely. However, if you have dreams of spending your days immersed in historical research, this book is a cozy read.More info →