Friday, November 8, 2013

Perfect Marriage of History and Common Core

On Friday mornings during planning, the Related Arts team covers different grades so they can have an additional planning period to help collaborate for Common Core.  At first it was very frustrating! I felt like I was a substitute going into classes and trying to teach lessons in which I did not know the background content or how to connect it to their prior learning.  In the past couple weeks I have gotten into a routine with the classroom teachers and turned it into a time to collaborate with them. Most recently I have discovered GoHistoryGo.com.  This site is a gold mine to provide self directed common core-esque social studies learning.  There are sections on World History, US History, Geography, and Religion.  Each page has a question at the top followed by articles, fact boxes, pictures, maps, videos, and sometimes links to interactive explorations. (A downside is that many of the embedded videos play through YouTube so at my school they are blocked on the student log-on.) In fifth grade we focused on the Industrial Revolution and in fourth grade we focused on Colonial America.  While evaluating the content, students answered the questions from each page in a Google Form that I created.  I made sure that their name and teacher were required questions but the rest were optional to allow them to work at their own pace without being rushed to finish them all.  This allowed some students to really dive deeper into the questions and areas that interested them.  The classroom teachers really appreciated that the students were building on their knowledge from their classroom and then they were able to see their work as well (responses from the Google Form fill a Google Spreadsheet that I share with the teacher).

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