Muddling through the blogosphere

March 21, 2010
by blogwalker

Teaching Social Studies – When do we let students in on the “great secret”?

On of the upsides of being a commuter is that I can start my day by listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation. I’m still thinking about Thursday’s topic, Do Your Textbooks Tilt? Neal Conan hosted the show, with New York University history professor Jonathan Zimmerman leading the textbook discussion, and sharing some gems along the way, such as:

  • history is a series of question marks
  • what historians really do is present arguments
  • so when are we going to expose students to the what historians really do? When are we going to let them in on the “great secret.”?..we don’t actually know what happened when talking about events we did not witness.

With Professor Zimmerman’s words on my mind, I paid more attention this week to social studies resources that came into my reader or email this week – and found some excellent ones:

Politics and Civic Literacy for the Digital Generation – Wow! Great resources for teachers, gathered from a number of sites, such as the this challenge-based learning video from the Apple Exchange on what voting is all about to the video below from the YouTube Safety team, Detecting Lies and Staying True:

And if you want to use your phone for keeping current on anything from White House press briefings to C-span’s Podcast of the Week, checkout the Taking It Mobile link.

Smithsonian Education – I’ve been a long-time fan of “our Nation’s attic,” and include their royalty-free, copyright-free photo gallery in my teacher workshops. I re-visited their site this morning after coming across the link in my Edutopia Magazine.  I really like how the Smithsonian has divided the site into easy-to-navigate and inviting mini sites for teachers, students, and families.  The IdeaLabs area for students includes some great annotated slideshows, such as rationing during World War II.

Object of History – but wait…there’s even more from the Smithsonian – Through my subscription to  Thinkfinity, this new resource from the museum came into my email yesterday:

A highly interactive Web site, Object of History, takes middle and high school students behind the scenes with curators at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to explore six objects from the museum’s collections. Students watch videos, listen to historians and curators and then create their own online exhibition. Resources include videos, interviews, primary sources, virtual artifacts and lesson plans.”

Complete with a teacher guide, a forum, and student and teacher walk-through tutorials, what a great resource for helping students get “ready, set, curate!

Heading off to download 60-Second Civics Podcasting🙂

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