Tarr’s Toolbox

I’ve been a huge fan of Russel Tarr’s ClassTools site for a long time.  I particularly like to use the different graphic organizers he offers and the hexagon generator. (Click here to see how the latter can be used.)  I also follow Russel on Twitter (@RusselTarr).  This weekend, I noticed a neat activity he tweeted about called, “Wheel of Life,” which is an excellent way to analyze characters (both fiction and non-fiction).  When I asked Russel where I could find details, he directed me to Tarr’s Toolbox, a treasure that I am embarrassed to say I hadn’t seen yet.

Tarr’s Toolbox is Russel’s blog, and gives wonderful ideas for how to engage students in history class – though you can certainly use most of them in other subject areas.  At the top of the home page, there is this nice breakdown of different categories under which you can find key posts.

Categories on Tarr's Toolbox
Categories on Tarr’s Toolbox

Reading the posts makes me want to be in Russel’s class (why didn’t I ever have a history teacher like him?).  Failing that, I at least want to aspire to be as creative and engaging as he must be for his students.

I haven’t read it yet, but Russel just published a book called, A History Teaching Toolboxwhich I imagine is probably another dynamic resource that teachers in any department would find useful.

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