Hi there! We (members of the Smithsonian's History Explorer project team) are excited to host this group and offer a space to exchange resources and ideas about history education! We'd love it if you could introduce yourself--just a few words about what you do, what you hope to discuss in this group/why you wanted to join, and/or anything else you'd like to add!
I am a 5th grade teacher in Auburn, Alabama. My present assignment is teaching Social Studies with Reading skills integrated. The focus of our 5th grade curriculum is American History- Prehistoric/Early Civilizations through Civil War/Reconstruction. I joined this group b/c two of my favorite people (Carrie and Jenny) are members and I always love learning from them. They pose thought-provoking questions that push me to be a better teacher. I hope to find out what others teach and learn about new resources. I am presently gearing up for a unit on Early Colonies- and scavenging the web and all available resources for good reading materials regarding Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth. My current conundrum is finding good reading material for my MANY leveled learners to introduce this social studies content in ways that are meaningful and engaging, but still provide appropriate opportunities for reading. Primary sources are super...but when you have kids struggling with reading...it seems cruel to try to explain why the letter S looks like an F in historical documents....we need simple and engaging texts!!
Thanks for joining! I hope you'll share what you learn or great resources you encounter as you go...your challenge is one of the biggest, especially for elementary teachers, and I know the group would appreciate your strategies. Primary sources from this era are definitely tough. To what extent do you modify sources for your readers, i.e. providing a copy of the original with excerpts but also a transcription for them? Or perhaps even a rewritten modern or kid's version next to that (which is what we did for colonial sources at my former employer)? Or, have you had one higher level reader and one lower level reader work together to create a modern version of the text that makes sense to both of them? Let us know what works for you!
In 2008 I completed my doctoral dissertation in Instructional Technology and I researched how Pennsylvania teachers are using technology to teach the American Civil War. I also run the Teaching the Civil War with Technology website (http://www.teachthecivilwar.com). I frequently give presentations to teachers and use resources from Thinkfinity (I'm a certified trainer) and the Smithsonian's History Explorer pages.
I joined this group to learn new ways to integrate technology into the teaching of history.
Thanks for joining! I'm sure you'll offer a great perspective for the group. Please let us know what resources and ideas you come acrosss for your presentations and blog and what works well (or not so well) for teachers on our site as you present it! We're looking forward to your input.
My name is Mr. Kacy Carter. I am an 8th grade social studies (U.S. History) teacher at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon, Ohio. I am joining this group mainly because I am always looking for more resources to use in my room. I continually try to find ways to use technology in my classroom, and I always am trying to find new and better ways to make history more interesting for 13-14 year old kids.
I use twitter quite often, so give @Mr_K_C a follow. If you are ever interested in what we are doing in class, check out my website at http://www.jackson.stark.k12.oh.us/webpages/kcarter/ .
Every year I try to form one goal consisting of something new I want to try in my classroom. This year, I am looking to have a video conference with an expert using Skype/Google video chat. I've never done anything like that before and I am not sure who I could hold a conference with. But, I do believe that it would be valuable to bring in someone from outside of our area to discuss relevant class information. So, if anybody has any tips/hints/suggestions, let me know! Thanks!
Thanks for joining! We are indeed following you! Which reminds me that you all should follow us, too, on @explorehistory. I'm including it in the "about us" section. What sort of expert are you looking for for your Skype chat? A historian? A museum professional? And on what topic?
I teach American History from Colonialism through Reconstruction after the Civil War. So, I am looking for someone to conference with on either the American Revolution, Constitutional Convention, Hamilton/Burr, Lincoln, etc. What I am after is someone to give the kids the "inside scoop" on a topic, if that makes sense.
I got the idea from Eric Langhorst (teacher from Liberty, MO - someone you should get on this board, excellent teacher). He had a skype between his class and a historical fiction author.
What I would like to do is have my kids develop and refine a list of questions ahead of time. I would then forward that to the speaker (to give them a heads-up) and then set up the time for the video-conference. I am looking for 15 to 30 minutes - no major time commitments for the speaker.
I have contacted, through email, the American Presidency Project a few nights ago, but I have not heard anything back from them. My main thinking with all of this is to go out and bring in someone far more qualified than I who can give the students useful, engaging information.
I know I'm rambling a bit, but I just wanted to try to lay it out as clearly as possible.
While we don't normally offer this sort of activity here at the Museum, there are plenty of institutions that offer video conferencing programs (the Minnesota History Museum and the National Air and Space Museum come to mind, as does the National Archives, which has a videoconferencing program on the Constitution among other topics), and I wonder if they wouldn't be willing and able to do the same program over Skype. I'm not at all sure of their capabilities or requirements, but it might be worth asking, if you have an institution or program in mind and don't have the equipment for a video conference. If anyone else has experience with this, please share with the group!
I noticed this offer from the Harlan Institute to have a lawyer conduct a lecture on the Supreme Court via Skype with your class on Nov. 11--seemed like a good opportunity, and (given your interest in video conferencing/Skyping with professionals) I thought you might want to check it out!