It's inherently vain to post lesson ideas. It’s a rare educator who doesn’t know many things I don’t or do numerous things in their realm far better than I could ever hope. I’m equally certain there are things which work for me that not every other teacher could pull off. It’s the nature of the profession – we talk about it like science (and some of it is), but we live it like art.
It’s part of why so many teachers can never feel quite satisfied or consider themselves accomplished – you ever meet an emotionally healthy musician, author, or painter?
I don’t wish to overly dramatize what we do. Our “pieces” are supposed to take over the process from us as much as possible, and become their own creations – not ours. So maybe what we do isn’t exactly art… but it’s certainly not pure methodology.
You may one day be replaced by a computer, but a computer will never, ever, at its most sophisticated, emulate even a fraction of what you do every day. An interactive program can help you get better at Scrabble, but it’s unlikely to woo into you an appreciation for the subtleties of a brilliant short story. You can look up facts on the internet, but only a developed learner can organize or utilize them meaningfully. And honestly, when was the last time Microsoft Office or Quizlet suggested you close your document for now and instead let’s talk about what’s bothering you and what happened to your arm?
But I digress.
The point is, I originally hesitated to post my personal pedagogy for all the world to ignore. I’m doing it anyway.
My Teaching Philosophy – Because what could be a better use of bandwidth than one more opinion about how teaching should work?
Asking Questions, Pre-Reading, and the Voices In Your Head – Asking Good Questions, Pre-Reading, and other Miscellany generally applicable to whatever content you're teaching this time 'round.
Post-Reading Assignments (Artsy Fartsy Stuff) – Things to do after the material has supposedly been ingested to make it a bit stickier. Quick-Writes are also tucked in this section, despite being very much NOT artsy-fartsy.
Primary Sources (Text) & Political Cartoons – Primary Sources and, um... well, you probably figured this one out already.
Writing A Historical Argument – Basic Thesis Statements and such, with focus on new writers and academic argument.
Reading in Social Studies – Why Read In Social Studies? And book suggestions for specific grades and topics. Your suggestions are strongly encouraged.
Document Activities – Probably the coolest things I've ever created for class.