Never let a student sit without a task...
On the first day of school, never let a child walk into your class without something to do. They need to read something or write something as soon a they get to their desk. As a teacher, you need to do a million things when they walk in (take attendance, answer a phone call, add a new student to class...) so keep them busy with this simple worksheet. Download for free, just click the image.
Can we trust the source?
Start the year off evaluating different types of historical evidence. As historians we need to carefully analyze historical sources (narratives and artifacts) and understand their strengths and weaknesses in trying to reconstruct an historical event.
I recommend using SHEG's (Stanford Education Group) lesson on evaluating sources (Register for free to download an awesome lesson). Click here to download their free lesson on evaluating historical sources (good for all grade levels).
In addition, use this free Google Presentation (and activity) for students to complete by themselves or in groups. You can print as placards and students write on a piece of paper which source is "stronger" than the other and explain why they think so.
Below: sample image from the presentation:
I always tell my students, "Study for the test"- but I sometimes forget to show them how to study. I encourage my students to take different kinds of notes to review for quizzes and tests and give them options to choose from. I usually make the "notes" or "vocabulary" mandatory and I do a quick spot check in class to see if they completed them. Click the image below to a hyperlinked worksheet that can give students ownership over their learning.
The DBQ Project makes wonderful Document Based Questions to answer. I use their DBQs probably every unit. In the beginning and for my EL Students I create a pre-writing activity in which students have to match evidence with claims. I write down evidence from the DBQ and also write down various claims. Their task it to match the claim with the piece of evidence. I also sometimes provide the claims but they have to find the evidence, or vise versa, I will provide the evidence and they will have to make the claims. So many ways to teach the DBQ process.
I run the chess club and pentathlon clubs at school. Most sporting competitions students get honored with trophies or medals, so I love to provide that same honor to my students competing in academic competitions. I purchase trophies once a year from Trophy Depot for my Chess Club team. The Trophies themselves are reasonably priced, however shipping can be shockingly expensive. If you spend over 100 dollars you get free shipping and sometimes they send coupons or have sales, so check frequently. Its worth it.
In my classes be conduct a lot of historical investigations, which means students are required to write many historiographies (essays). It is always helpful to do a peer review prior to submission. I created this checklist, to help students, inspired by our amazing Ms. Salas' checklist. Its also great to have students highlight evidence and analysis, because it not only is helpful for students but great for grading too!
My students are fascinated by the upcoming elections, but they don't really understand the propositions. I created this short google slide presentation on some of the propositions. It is non-biased and in kid- friendly terms (albeit, very similistic). Feel free to modify. The information was provided from Ballotpedia.org
I want to preface this saying...gummy bears are my favorite candy EVER, so this project is a no-brainer. I got this idea from Pinterest, and it totally fits into the 7th Grade History Curriculum. Students take notes on types of government and then "create" governments using the gummy bears. I put students in groups of 2-3 and put gummy bears on large white construction paper. I give them two piles, one pile they can eat and one pile they will use to build "governments." I have them take photos with their cell phones and they put the images in a Google Slide presentation to present to the class.
Note: You could do this activity for the reasons why Rome Fell too.
Check out the presentation HERE.
It is good to give kids choice and to mix things up in class. I sometimes allow my students to create "sketch notes" on particular topics. Sketch notes is when students draw out their thinking. Some students love it, some hate it (because it takes a lot of effort and creativity). Here are some examples of what my 7th Graders produced on Roman Achievements.
Check some of these sites to learn more about Sketch Notes:
2. 6 Ways to get started with Sketch Notes
3. WONDERFUL presentation about Sketch Notes
Below are some wonderful samples I found on Google Images.