Category Archives: Social Studies

Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 4

For those of you who are keeping up to date with our COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World, today’s update is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices being made by many to help stave off the spread of this horrible pandemic.  As you can read in the entry below, some first responders cannot live with their families during this time because their work opens them up to being infected every day.  Let’s thank Mary, her family, and all of the other people who are doing so much to help us during these scary times!

P.S.  If you want to have your student add to the diary, please read the post linked above.  It gives important information about how to share it, and why some may be having technological issues.

ECE LFH 2020 Diary

Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 3

If you haven’t seen the updates that I’ve made to this post, please check it out.  There have been some difficulties out there in accessing the COVID-19 Diary that I shared.  I think I inadvertently turned off editing when I tried to fix them, but I’ve turned it back on.  Unfortunately, you may still have issues if your district blocks access.

Here are two more entries from Our COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World.  It looks like a lot of contributors own cats, and all of them, so far, have pets!  Hmm… I’m already seeing lots of math possibilities with this project as more people add to it – graphing pet numbers, mapping locations, etc…

If you haven’t shared the Diary with your students and asked them to add to it, please do!  I would like to make this as globally inclusive as possibly.  (Did I just make up a new phrase?  I’ll have to Google that…)

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (9)

 

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (10)

Smithsonian Distance Learning Resources

I recently mentioned the Smithsonian Learning Lab in this post , which features some great lessons for Women’s History Month.  Now, the incredible educators at Smithsonian have a page of links to resources they have specifically curated for distance learning during this time of quarantine.  It includes information on how to use the Learning Lab, links for learning more about COVID-19, and resource collections with a national audience in mind.  In addition, there are D.C. specific lessons (which are separated by grade level, and can certainly be used whenever they fit in any curriculum), lessons for caregivers to use with children, and resources for tweens and teens.  The last two categories also include games and maker activity links.

Thanks to the Smithsonian for providing these well-organized spreadsheets full of links that will appeal to any age group and in any subject!

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Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

 

Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 2

Traffic is starting to pick up on our COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World.  I wanted to share the following entries from two friends who have been separated by miles and a pandemic, but still keep in touch.

Keep sharing out there!  As you can see, I am trying to comment on each one!

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (6)

 

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (7)

 

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (8)

 

 

Distance Learning and Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 1

One of my biggest pet peeves is filling out paperwork at doctors’ offices, especially ones that I have already visited in the past.  I feel a quiet rebellion overtake me when I am given a clipboard full of forms that ask me questions I’ve already answered about everything from my gender to my health history.  I’m tempted to use biographical information from Anne Boleyn to see if anyone notices.  Birthday? 1501.  Major health issues?  Decapitated head.

In this day and age of computer technology, I have an overwhelming suspicion that the medical office database already knows more about me than I do, and that I’m just being given these sheets in the hopes that I won’t notice that I’m still in the waiting room 30 minutes past the time my appointment was supposed to begin.

I’m sure you’ve deduced that I’m making the connection between my own hatred of “busywork” and the way our students feel when they think they are being given assignments just to pass the time.  The number of homeschooling/distance learning resources out there are overwhelming right now, and many educators are spending this week coming up with plans for their students.    As Sonya Terborg, one of my favorite colleagues who I need to meet in IRL, mentions in this blog post, it is important that educators begin with the end in mind.  Mistakes will still be made, but we can avoid the largest and most predictable one – assigning busy work that will serve no purpose.

The above reasons are why I provided the COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World yesterday.  I know that many students love to share about their own experiences, and that they often like an authentic audience.  I am also hoping they will learn from what others have to say, and will gain a broader perspective.

I considered using other tech tools such as Flipgrid or YouTube, but settled on using Google Slides because of the flexibility of being able to choose if you want to add your own video or just write.

As Sonya asks in her blog post, “… what are we doing to connect them with each other in meaningful, authentic ways, and how are we supporting and planning for the same opportunities for student agency that have become so revered in the classroom?”

Here is a slide provided by one student today who has chosen to connect, and I hope that I will have many more to share in the future!  Please share this with any students you know!

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (2)

Bot or Not?

Since tomorrow is “Super Tuesday”, secondary teachers may want to take advantage of the resource from PBS Learning Media called, “Bot or Not? How Fake Social Media Accounts Could Influence Voting.”  This lesson plan includes a link to a 6-minute PBS News Hour video that explains how bots have been used in the past in social media – from making someone appear more popular to generating fake accounts that spread particular political agendas.  Students are directed to a website that will analyze Twitter accounts to determine the likeliness of whether or not a user and/or their followers are bots. (I checked my own account, and discovered that I score a 0.3 out of 5 in bot-potential.)  For their final project, students research issues that are meaningful to them, and invent their own “helper bot” to advocate for their selected issues.

The majority of your students are probably not current voter, but they most likely use social media.  They may find it eye-opening to see how easy it is to purchase followers to mislead people about your popularity, and the extent to which bots are being used for propaganda.  As Artificial Intelligence becomes more ubiquitous, it will become harder and harder to distinguish between real and fake accounts.  If nothing else, this lesson will hopefully inspire your students to approach social media with a dose of cynicism.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Slow Reveal Graphs

If you are a fan of helping students learn how to be critical thinkers, then you will appreciate the Slow Reveal Graphs site.   Rather than presenting a full graph to students and asking them to interpret it, teachers use Slow Reveal Graphs to allow the students to discuss, think, wonder, and predict as each stage of the graph is shown – hopefully resulting in deeper learning.  (This technique is similar to the one used in the New York Times’ “What’s Going on in this Graph?” feature.) Courtesy of Jenna Laib (@jennalaib) and other contributors, The Slow Reveal Graphs website has examples of different types of graphs (Circle, Bar,  Line, etc…), many of which have links to slide decks that have already been created for the slow reveal.  “How Long Can Animals Hold Their Breath Underwater?“, for example, begins with a bar graph that has no title or labels and incrementally adds them as you advance each slide.  The slides also have suggested discussion questions in the notes.

In case you are thinking this site will only appeal to math teachers, I should note that there are three special categories of Slow Reveal Graphs: Social Justice, Save the Planet, and Incarceration in the U.S.  Of course, any of the graphs on the site can be used in multiple subjects, including ELA.

To read more about how Slow Reveal Graphs are used in classrooms, from primary to high school, visit this list of bloggers who have written about SRG’s in the past.

If you like SRG’s, consider trying Clothesline Math and Would You Rather? Math.  One of my most popular posts, 15 Math Sites that Won’t Make You Fall Asleep, has examples of these and more. Also, follow the #mtbos hashtag on Twitter for more great math teaching strategies!

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Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay