Inner-city history teacher Aaron Brock has developed a childrens’ book project for eighth graders, many of whom struggle with academic literacy. He details how his step-by-step approach addresses important skills and serves as a synthesis and assessment tool.
Author: Aaron Brock
The Common Core expects students will support claims with evidence from a text. History teacher Aaron Brock shares an innovative technique he created to help weak readers in his under-resourced urban school develop an understanding of this process.
Teaching history students to interpret charts and graphs is often difficult, especially when their grasp of math is limited. In his low-literacy middle school, Aaron Brock used a small-group, high-interest graphing project to build skills and understanding.
Reading comprehension is a primary goal in Aaron Brock’s middle school history classroom. Building on last year’s annotation experiments, Brock has adapted the familiar 5 W’s strategy to help students pay closer attention to the meaning behind the words. It’s working.
Social studies teacher Aaron Brock prefers to limit lectures to five minutes in his eighth grade inner city classroom and then shift to cooperative learning activities – giving as much attention to research skills as specific history content.
While inner-city history teacher Aaron Brock agrees that lecture has been chronically abused in the middle grades, he uses short flexible lectures and image-heavy slides to help prepare students for deeper learning in his diverse classroom.
There’s no room in an adolescent’s world view for the loftier goals of history study, says Aaron Brock. So when teaching about American rights of assembly and petition, Brock has students write petitions about issues close to their own school lives.
In history class, experiential lessons have great potential to transport students to another time and place, says teacher Aaron Brock, but they are difficult to orchestrate and can present ethical dilemmas. Brock shares a hands-on lesson from his Civil War unit.
Students shouldn’t come away from a role play “having done something memorable and learned nothing valuable,” says history teacher Aaron Brock. “There should always be a core skill or concept guiding the activity.” He offers 2 examples to illustrate.
State assessments will soon require history students to read texts & make arguments supported by evidence. Aaron Brock believes non-traditional tests, like a recent poster project in his 8th grade inner-city classroom, can help build those skills.