David Goldberg wanted to create thought-provoking lessons that taught his fourth graders 21st century skills while also integrating history content about the settlement of California. He shares his first experiment, using the popular Minecraft video game.
Author: Jody & Shara
History teacher Jody Passanisi pauses during the end-of-year whirlwind to reflect on classes that went well and teaching that will need more work. TodaysMeet and Ideapaint get a thumbs up. Student blogging will need adjustments. For now, summer PD beckons.
Jody Passanisi’s post on confronting her flipped classroom bias is among MiddleWeb’s most popular articles. A year later, as she reflects on her flipped teaching experiment again, she finds herself “a little less starry-eyed and a little more strategic.”
The new series Engaging With History in the Classroom can build historical thinking & help meet standards, say Jody & Shara. Lessons, primary sources & discussion groups bring the American Revolution, Civil War, Post Reconstruction & Civil Rights Era to life.
Should middle grades history classrooms emphasize project learning or teacher lecture? Written or activity-based assessment? Student inquiry or teacher designed units? Teacher Jody Passanisi considers the pros and cons and wonders about the right blend.
The Concept Attainment teaching strategy has students analyze an idea by comparing it to contrasting ideas and determining its special characteristics. When Jody and Shara used the strategy, their history students grasped and retained the content better.
When student teams create skits to gain perspective on different aspects of the same historical event, they may begin to grasp complexity of history. Sometimes they leap to fresh insights, as they did during a Revolutionary battle in Jody Passanisi’s classroom.
When students created a current issues exploratory, Jody Passanisi found they not only showed great compassion and understanding–as well as anger–about world events, but they stepped up to lead the class and drive an open, research-supported inquiry.
Last year Jody Passanisi concluded that her go-to lesson on types of government no longer gripped students’ attention. Here she evaluates the successes and challenges of a redesign: lots more student ownership, but is there enough understanding at the end?
After watching a music video parody by history educator Mr. Betts, Jody Passanisi’s 8th graders begged to create their own parodies using American History topics. The resulting lyrics effectively synthesized the content and ideas they were studying.