pedagogy

Fact-Free History

Happy AdministratorThere’s nothing more terrifying than finding out your district administrators have just returned from a conference somewhere, and they’re excited about something. You know because they suddenly smile too much, and now they want to come talk to your department or hold a special faculty meeting.

Teach Like You

BCE SnobI’m a fairly narcissistic fellow. I don’t mean to be, it’s just that I’m vain and self-absorbed. At least I have the skills, style, and cojones to make it work for me. I make no apologies; every rose has it’s - oh, are you still here? I hadn’t noticed.

Reading in Social Studies

Reading Sets You FreeI'm a big fan of reading in social studies. I realize there are reasons we don't do more of it, but I don't want 'lack of ideas' to be one of them. Questions about why and how and when to fit in reading to an already overcrowded schedule deserve more time and wisdom than I'm able to give them here, but that hasn't stopped me from anything else on this site, so...

What IS An 'Academic' or 'Historical' Argument? (And What Is It NOT?)

Argumentative WritingIn an academic context, argument isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, it's crazy beneficial. It's how science is supposed to work - great minds doing research and writing papers primarily so other great minds can criticize and question everything about them and explain why they're flawed or incomplete. It's our preferred format for difficult legal questions, whether determining the constitutionality of a company policy or trying to figure out if you actually stole that car before or after the body was stuffed in the trunk.

And it's how history and its interpretation(s) get sorted out. At least, that's how it's supposed to work...

Writing With Brownies In A Box

TypingIf you ever want to have real fun, start talking about the 'correct' way to teach writing with any group of teachers. For serious fireworks, try it with AP History folks after you've all had a drink or two. Better you stick with safer, less provocative topics like abortion, religion, or the validity of comic books and superhero movies as cultural touchstones.

Training the Voices In Your Head (Slightly Less Awkward Practice)

A slightly less awkward way to promote awareness of those ‘inner voices’ is to use a movie clip of some sort as our temporary substitute for a reading selection. We’ll watch a bit of it, then stop and practice some of the types of questioning and thinking we want to inculcate in our reading voices as well. Ideally it’s something high-interest but which most of them haven’t seen before.

Let’s start with this:

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