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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefits of Available Bundles
Sometimes, people hesitate to purchase bundles due to the higher upfront cost. There is often concern over the quality of the resources and whether this justifies the price. Thankfully, the Social Studies Super Bundles contain TONS of high-quality printable and digital resources. Best of all, the bundles are only $20 during this exclusive sale!
The Social Studies Bundle Sale provides incredible benefits! First, the bundles contain excellent social studies lessons. Teachers will save HOURS of time planning and designing with all of the ready-to-go resources. Second, all of the bundles offer
updated and innovative teaching strategies. Students will love how these lessons move beyond boring worksheets. Third, these bundles will significantly build your teacher library. There are over 200 resources that students will love to use year after year. Thankfully, your wallet will receive a much-needed break from buying additional materials.
Secondary American History Bundle
For only $20, teachers will receive dozens of resources! This bundle contains fun, engaging, hands-on social studies lessons. For instance, students will complete stations about WWII, analyze primary resources, and study the Articles of Confederation. Furthermore, they will complete a Genius Hour project and learn about landmarks in the USA and worldwide. There is even a digital escape room to start the year in a fun and exciting way. Students will genuinely love American History with this bundle!
Secondary World History and Geography Bundle
Students will learn all about the world for only $20 with these social studies lessons. For example, there are lessons on Ancient Chinese philosophies, revolutions, and Greek Mythology. Likewise, students will learn about landforms, maps and globes, and Alexander the Great. There are so many incredible activities packed into this bundle. Students will be excited to learn about the world with these creative lessons.
Secondary Government and Civics Bundle
Due to the different branches and legal components, the Government can be challenging to understand. There is just so much to learn! Hence, this $20 bundle has tons of activities that will break down complex topics. For instance, students will learn about presidential roles, modern federalism, and the three branches of government. There is even a classroom economy simulation!. Just like above, all of the activities are high-quality and filled with updated teaching methods.
Secondary Super Bundle
Like many secondary social studies teachers, you have multiple preps. While you want to give each class your absolute best, it can be hard when planning so many lessons! Thankfully, there is a SUPER bundle that contains 3 bundles! This includes American History, World History, and Government! While each bundle is $20, this product comes with an even bigger discount during the Social Studies Bundle Sale. So, all 3 bundles can be yours for only $50! Every single prep will have social studies lessons students love!
Elementary Social Studies Bundle (Grades 3-5)
As students get older, they are ready to learn more complex topics. However, elementary students still need support and guidance. Here, students will learn about so many amazing topics through interactive lessons! This includes national parks, branches of government, and medieval knights. Furthermore, students will plan how to open and run a business and design a summer vacation. Honestly, there is an entire year's worth of social studies lessons to ensure students learn about many topics. Even better, everything included only costs $20 during the Social Studies Bundle Sale!
After buying the Social Studies Super Bundles for a HUGE discount, teachers will feel the stress melt away. Importantly, this incredible offer will not be around for long. You can save hundreds of dollars if you grab these social studies lessons from August 7-14. The Social Studies Bundle Sale is a one-time opportunity, so be sure not to miss out!
If you do not want to miss out on the Social Studies Bundle Sale, join my email list to ensure you do not forget! Teachers are so busy preparing for back-to-school, and you do not want to let this opportunity slip away!
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies
Give this a try HERE!
All you need to do is print a classroom set of packets, get paper for students to trace on, and watch them have fun!
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies
Let me guess, now that we're in August you're having some of those "teacher dreams" that only a teacher knows about. Or you're looking at the calendar and counting down how many days until you go back and are realizing how much you don't have planned.
The endless list in your mind.
I get it.
I'm a full-time middle school classroom teacher who will be entering my 23rd first day of school very soon. I am fully aware that I will have the night before school butterflies like I do every year. Then, 10 seconds after that final bell rings to start the first class, I'll think, "Oh yeah... I remember how to do this!"
So, whether you're a veteran teacher or someone just starting your career here are some things I wish I would have known, done, or believed when I first started teaching:
How cute your classroom is does not equate to how much your students are learning or how good of a teacher you are. Some of the teachers who meant the most to me when I was growing up - I remember how they treated me, not what their classrooms looked like.
Keep a small notebook that is specifically for you to write the date and an attainable goal for the day. If your goal for the day is to greet students at the door, then make sure you do that on that day. If your goal is to connect with 3 students you hadn’t connected with yet, then connect with those 3 students regardless of how your day is going. At the end of the day, dozens of things may have gone wrong, but at least you'll have done that one thing that was your goal for the day. That’s important.
It is OK to say, "No." Especially if you are a new teacher, you might feel like you are obligated to take on EVERYTHING! You're not. If adding something else will take away your serenity, which will take away from how available you are for your students, then by saying, "No" to that thing, you are actually saying, "Yes" to yourself, and therefore your students.
Pick one night every week that is your night, and you will not do ANYTHING school related after a certain time on that night. If that happens to be Wednesday at 5:00, then be true to that. If 5:00 on Wednesday is your time to do what you want then you will get in the habit of scheduling everything else around that time. You will look forward to that night as much as the weekend!
Be at peace knowing that it is 100% OK to take a "mental health" day. During the emergency announcement before a flight, they always tell you that if the oxygen masks drop down, you need to put your own mask on before assisting others. There's a reason for that - just like there's a reason for taking a mental health day. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. I promise, you will feel SO much better for doing so!
I'll have a bi-weekly email that will be coming your way on Sundays and Thursdays this year filled with tips, freebies at times, and resources I'm featuring or currently using in my own classroom.
All the best!
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies
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.
Students typically work in pairs and choose a person/group/invention/event from the list provided, conduct research, and then write speeches to try and advance their topic to the next round. Everything is laid out in the instructions!
I sweeten the tournament by showing students the following prizes for making it through the different levels of the bracket:
I hope you enjoy one of these tournaments with your own students, too
All the best,
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies
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.