Thursday, April 30, 2015

Gummy Governments

Want a fun way to teach (or review) the different types of governments with your students?

PS...if you're not using Pinterest yet to search for ideas for your classroom...what are you waiting for?  It's not just a place to get recipe and craft ideas, there are some cool classroom activities, lesson plans, and organization strategies that can easily be modified to fit your needs.

I found this little gem of an idea there earlier this year.

Have your students "illustrate" the different types of government using gummy bears!

We focused on...
  • Monarchy
  • Dictatorship
  • Oligarchy
  • Direct Democracy
  • Representative Democracy
  • Anarchy - not really a "form of government" but fun to act out with gummies!
  • Theocracy 
  • Coup d'etat 
  • Revolution
I had our kids work in partners or groups of 3 depending on the class size.  They were to give the definition of the type of government and then create an example of that using gummy bears.  Red for citizens, yellow for those in power.

We had fun!





Anarchy, Coup d'etat, Revolution:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rewriting the Gettysburg Address


What good could it possibly to do rewrite one of the greatest presidential speeches of all time?

In an 8th grade classroom... A lot of good!

As awesome as Abraham Lincoln was and as impressive as his Gettysburg Address is, it just isn't written in language our 8th graders "get."

So we rewrote it.

Each pair of students was given a short phrase or sentence of the famous speech, with the task to make it shorter and easier to understand.

When they were finished they each read their statement aloud, and we taped them together on the board to create our very own version of the Gettysburg Address.

The final results...

Some of the comments I heard throughout the class period...

  • Wow!  This is way easier to understand.
  • Oh, now I get it.
  • This was fun!
  • Yay, we got an easy one! :-)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Making Connections

I went to a Social Studies conference at the end of February.

I have a love/hate relationship with professional development conferences.  I hate, HATE to be gone from class.  However, I love to collaborate with other social studies teachers and learn new strategies to use in the classroom.

Workshops that end up being successful in my eyes are the ones where I can walk away and implement a new strategy or activity right away.

February provided just that!

High School History Teachers, Paul Kitchen and Tiffany Houle, from Wichita Public Schools presented about using History Labs in their classrooms.  Their presentation rocked and gave me a great new idea to add to my unit assessments.  In fact, I did.  I added it the next the test kids were going to take at the end of the week.

I call it Making Connections.  (I don't remember if that's what they called it).

Here is is... (formatting may look a little weird...I just copied it directly from my test)

Making Connections:
All of these events listed occurred between 1860 and 1925 however; one event in each group does not fit with the other events three.  highlight the THREE events that fit together.  Then complete the writing prompt below.
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
·   Temperance Movement
·   Cattle Drives
·   18th Amendment
·   Carry A. Nation

·   Susan B. Anthony
·   Women’s Suffrage
·   The Civil War
·   19th Amendment
·   Swat the Fly Campaign
·   Dr. Samuel Crumbine
·   Public Drinking Cub
·   Industrial Revolution

Writing Prompt:  Choose one of the above groups (1, 2, or 3) of events.  Explain how the events that are highlighted are related to each other.  Explain your answer with at least two details discussed in class.  You need to have at least 4 sentences.

My 7th graders were completed this task and did an excellent job for the first attempt.  I also included a rubric to help in the scoring of this task...

X2 Content:  Part 1 – 10pts
·         Each event highlighted is mentioned.
·         Used at least TWO specific details from class to explain how each event is connected.
·         Stated things clearly.
·         Info was correct.
·         One event that was highlighted is left out.
·         Used at one specific detail from class to explain how each event is connected.
·         Stated things somewhat clearly.
·         Info has one error.
·         More than one event that was highlighted is left out.
·         OR incorrect event highlighted.
·         No specific details from class.
·         Not clear.
·         Info has more than one error.
conventions (cap use, complete sentence use, ending pun’t., spelling,) (5 pts)
all correct
only 1-2 errors
3-4-5 errors total
6-7-8 errors total
9-10-11 errors : (>11= 0)

I loved how this made the students think critically and connect important events together, and at the same time they got to choose which of the three topics they knew the best to write about.

This is definitely a keeper!

PS...There were many presentations that had great material for teachers to use.  If you want more ideas, click HERE for a link to the conference materials from different presentations!