Sparking the Learning

The person I am today is the direct result of the many wonderful, generous, and talented people in my life, and all of them are near and dear to my heart. But one in particular stands out as he’s one of the first friends I made when I entered the teaching profession: @primohistory. While Gregg and I have moved to different schools from the one which started our friendship, we have remained close friends as we share the love of history as well as similar teaching philosophies and general outlook on life. I bring Gregg up because he’s the one who coined the phrase “history is a verb” to describe how history should be learned, taught, explored, and experienced. Even though we teach different grade levels as well as content within the social science discipline, we have found that good teaching strategies transcend content and grade level bands. In fact, we regularly share new ideas and discuss revisions of old favorite practices to change things up on our respective classrooms…

Which brings me back to the reason for this post: Sparking the Learning.

I will be the first to admit that history was not my favorite subject in school. And that wasn’t because I didn’t have awesome teachers (I had many), but it was because the emphasis tended to be on rote memorization of names, dates, and events. I swore that I would do everything I could to make history fun, engaging, and worthwhile. In other words, I planned to design my class around the term: history is a verb.

The moment my students walked through my doors, I told them that they were mini-historians. I explained that it was my job to teach them historical analysis skills, but it their job to make sense of the primary and secondary sources set before them. They were going to be active participants in the learning process, and I was merely the guide on the side. But in order to spark the learning, I had to design active learning tasks.

I preface all of this because I am excited to host a workshop for @edtechteacher21 titled Inquiry & Reflection: History is a Verb. This three-day workshop is scheduled for June 20, 21, and 23 and will include lesson ideas, best practices, and student samples on how to make learning history active, engaging, and meaningful. The details for this workshop and many, MANY others hosted by a talented crew of educators @edtechteacher21 can be found on their website: edtechteacher.org.

Please join me on June 20th for Inquiry & Reflection: History is a Verb. I’d love to connect with you!

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