A couple times last week I did something that had a remarkable effect on class discussion. In both cases I wanted students to share thoughts and questions from a book excerpt I’d assigned them to read. I simply announced that I would be keeping track of who participates, and that each student would get a quiz grade based on their participation. A…[Read more]
Here are the books my students read yesterday during reading time. It’s pretty representative of our selection.
A History of the Amish by Steven Nolt
The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-three Centuries of Anti-Semitism by Edward H. Flannery
The Mayos: Pioneers in Medicine by Adolph Regli
Uncovering Soviet Disasters: Exploring the Limits of Glasnost…[Read more]
I address this question in my latest blog post, but I’m sure I haven’t exhausted the topic. How have you faced this question, or some version of it, in your unique circumstances? What answers have you found effective?
It’s not a carefully curated collection, just a shelf full of maybe about 100 nonfiction books that are related in some way to history or geography (since in my classroom this activity is part of history class). I brought roughly 1/3 of them from my personal library, and the rest were rescued from the storage to which they were relegated from our…[Read more]
Songs often vividly reflect the times and places of their origin, and I like to bring them into my high school history classroom. In my church history class a few weeks ago I sang* some Christmas songs that illustrate important trends in Christianity: “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” (Christological controversies in the early church), “Let All…[Read more]
Update—With the majority of the school year behind us, I think I can say that my reading experiment has been a success. Students read willingly and seem to enjoy it in a low-key way. I haven’t found it necessary to change the procedure described above. It’s been gratifying to see some students make significant progress through very thick books t…[Read more]
We have two meetings like this, one in the fall and one in the late winter or early spring. They are planned by a committee made up of a patron couple and a staff member. The meeting generally includes reports on the budget, fundraisers, staff or facility needs, and the like. We often have a speaker, much as Jonas described. One year we had time…[Read more]
I’ve long believed that names and dates should consume a minimum of our time and energy in history class. Yes, some of this instruction is necessary, but only to the degree that it truly aids understanding of the past. Regarding dates in particular, I consider them important mostly for helping us to understand how events are situated in time…[Read more]
I was afraid someone would ask that. 🙂 This is something I don’t feel like I have a good handle on yet. Drawing largely on some things I’ve read here on the forum, I emphasize active engagement of the memory rather than passive reading and rereading. I give students review sheets with questions and tell them to write the answers using information…[Read more]
This is a problem that I’ve also struggled with over the years. Ultimately, the solution is for students to value knowledge as they ought, and that’s a battle I continue to have my ups and downs with. But there are a few things I’ve found helpful for encouraging timely test preparation and discouraging those last-minute lingerings over the…[Read more]
I recently wrote a blog post about cultivating class discussions, and thought I’d start a thread for asking questions and sharing ideas on this subject.
What have you found helpful for promoting good discussions?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. I also do not believe that every problem a person may have is a sign of mental illness that needs to be labeled and treated. It can be difficult to untangle symptoms of mental illness from the normal flaws of human nature, and hopefully this student merely has excessively high standards and needs to…[Read more]
I use a secular text called History of a Free Nation, published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. It’s about 20 years old by now, but I don’t mind because most of US history happened more than 20 years ago. 🙂 It’s a reasonably well-written, comprehensive text. It is very evenhanded towards religions and ideologies, with an obvious and pretty successful…[Read more]
Regular contact with sticks and stones would probably tear them up before too long, but I think they’d hold up fine if used in grassy areas. And they might absorb moisture if used in wet grass, taking some time to dry out.
Byron, that sounds amazing! I’ll have to tell my administrator about this.
I’ve been using Gradekeeper for several years. It has a few idiosyncrasies, but it works very well for me. It has some reporting capabilities that I’ve never really used; from what I’ve seen, they’re pretty basic (then again, I just noticed that I’m not using the latest…[Read more]
Sorry for the late reply. The balls we have are at least a couple years old, and some are older. Almost all of them are still in excellent condition. It is worth noting that they’re mostly used indoors. But yes, they should last a few years.
We had the year’s first reading time in my 9th and 10th grade US history class on Monday. I’ve assembled a nice selection of nonfiction books related to history from the school library and my own bookshelves. My plan is very close to what I outlined in my June 16 post above. Every Monday students will spend the first 20 minutes of class reading.…[Read more]
It’s nice to see such a vigorous discussion here. I’ve very rarely allowed students to retake tests, and when I have I’ve usually given a grade averaged from the two attempts, but Brian’s argument is highly persuasive. It’s given me a lot to chew on.
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