Images below are the property of @MsKressHistory
When students walked toward my classroom on the first day of school, I would say to a student I didn't even know yet, "Good morning! (and motion to the bulletin board to my right with a smile) Who are you closest in height to?"
It was so fun to see that first student look at the board, see the ruler, measure themselves, and then search the board :) As the other students approached my classroom I would always hear one of them say, "Whoa! What's this?" as they watched the first student measuring themselves.
Why did I do this?
It gave me a chance to bond with students right away, it gave students a way to talk to each other, and it gave me a way to hook them into history by making a personal connection before they even knew who I was or what our class was going to be like. It's such a fun way to start the year!
Give it a try! Click HERE
It doesn't always take something fancy to get students engaged for the day. Here's a simple activity I used for years in my classroom to let students expand their minds before our lesson for the day.
Every student would get a strip of these three shapes and I'd give them 10 minutes to create whatever their minds takes come up with using the images in each of the three boxes. I'm always surprised by their creativity!
After the time was up I'd have each student stand up and meander around the room looking at what their classmates came up with using the same images they had.
I'd ask, "What do you think the reason for doing something like this was?"
Sometimes a student would say, "Because you needed 10 more minutes to get ready?" [which was sometimes the truth :)]
There'd be someone who would share that just because we all see the same thing doesn't mean that we all see it in the same way.
Click the .pdf to the right (there are 4 slips on one sheet). If you decide to give this simple little activity a try, I'd love to see some of the images your students created and will add them to this post!
Send any of your student creations to email@example.com
When March Madness rolls around it means that spring break is near. When spring break is near it means that the end of the year is beginning to appear on the horizon and the feelings of summer become a reality.
One of my favorite ways to use that energy and excitement to our advantage in class is by creating a “Tournament of Champions.” I teach 8th grade U.S. History, so my focus has been for students to try and determine which person/group/event/invention had the greatest impact on the history of the United States.
Click the image above to get to the resource
There is no better place than a social studies classroom to get students talking about the world they live in. This year, the November 3rd election will be one off the liveliest elections in recent history... so get your students involved!!
When it's presidential election season, I start by having a countdown every day to let students know how many more days we have until election day.
I teach 8th graders, and they are either 4-5 years away from being able to vote, but they are at the age where they are starting to see the bigger picture in life, and understand that who is president can have an enormous influence on the world in which they live .
This 2020 Presidential Debates resource will help your students become active listeners to both sides of the political spectrum. There are four debates scheduled between now and election day, so find a way to make this a part of the lives of your students. Offer extra credit... have a raffle for a candy bar... a free late assignment... whatever it takes - just get them involved!
Once you've got the hooked, then let then see who they would vote for based on skimming the surface of 10 Mystery Candidates backgrounds. Once we do this in class, the next step is to understand how a president is actually elected.
Now, there's this. I've been teaching for over 20 years, and I've never had a student NOT play the electoral college game that I made. To be honest, years ago, I came up with this idea out of desperation as to how I was going to make learning about the electoral college fun for kids. Then, and now... it's neve let me down!
You'll hear cries of, "Yessss! I just won California!" Or, "Arghhh... how could I lose Texas?"
It is, literally, one of my favorite days of the year!
If you are new to social studies this year due to COVID-19 and had a role change or if you are just looking for new ways to get your students involved in the political process. I hope these resources help. Enjoy them, and have a great election season!
Check out these other presidential resources if you're interested.
All the best,
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies
This year, my district has switched from teaching 49-minute classes to teaching 90-minute classes. That being said, this doesn't mean that we can get through almost twice as much curriculum each day because our students are with us for longer. I teach middle school, and our students are sitting through five 90-minute classes during the two days they are in school for in person learning.
The nice thing about this activity is it allows students to help each other out while still social distancing in class. In fact, this is encouraged!
I tell students, "Everyone gets stuck once in a while... so ask for help if you need help, and help someone if you know how to do what they're struggling with."
What's great about this activity is that it gives students a chance to talk with each other and solve problems together, which is something I want them doing all year long anyway! This gets that ball rolling.
I teach 8th grade, and this activity takes students about 20 minutes to do (depending on their level of expertise using Google Slides).
What's fun is that when students are done and you make the answer key available, you'll hear some laughing in class and comments like, "Oh, wow! I was WAY off on the Mississippi River!" Or, "Meh... I was pretty close on New York City."
Some students will turn their screens toward each other to show them either how close or how far away they were.
They get a chance to do something, talk to each other, and begin a bond that will hopefully grow as the year goes on.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.