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4 Types of Questions You Should be Asking Your Students

by History Gal

I have always heard 'There are no stupid questions.' While this may be true, there definitely are ill-timed questions asked in your class. And, it's not what you are thinking. The ill-timed questions don't come from our students, but from us.

We all know the importance of 'wait time' before calling on a student and we usually remember to avoid leading a question with a student’s name so the other students don't zone out. But, beyond that, we should be purposeful in the questions we pose to our students.

There are four types of questions and the type of the answer you are hoping for is dictated by the type of question:

Do you want to spark student interest and curiosity? Then, you ask a hook or preview question.

Is there a definite correct answer to your question? Then, you ask a leading question that directs students to that answer.

Are there multiple possible answers? Then, you need to ask a guiding question.

Do you want to promote critical higher level thinking? Then, you need to ask an essential question (EQ).

Leave the Chaos Behind with Transitions

by History Gal

As a teacher, I take a lot of things into consideration when I plan out my lessons. I make sure the activity aligns to standards and will be engaging. I plan out the prep for the lesson and I have a back-up plan if the lesson is finished quicker than I anticipated or if it flops. But, for years, I left out an important piece of my daily lessons. It's something that signals a smoothly running classroom (and something administrators always look for it when they do their observations) and I didn't give it a single thought. What was it? Transitions - how to go from one activity to another without encountering all-out chaos in the classroom. 

Music and Memory – A Winning Pair in Social Studies

by History Gal

Have you ever gone through the channels on your car radio and happened upon an oldie but goodie you haven’t heard in years? Suddenly, you remember where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing the last time you heard that song. Even though you haven't heard the song in ages, you remember every word of the song. It's amazing how music interconnects with our memories. Because of this, content linked with music makes an excellent teaching strategy.

10 Activities for Teaching Historical Perspective

by History Gal

Analyzing history from both sides of the story can encourage students to delve more deeply into the people and events they are studying. But, analyzing is difficult for many students. An easy way to help your students is to add a graphic component. This helps activate various multiple intelligences to assist understanding and retention.

There are a wide variety of graphic options for perspective and viewpoint pieces. A few work best with individual historical figures, while others can be used with people or events. Here are some of my favorites.

Why You Should Let Your High School Students Color in Class

by History Gal

I've always liked to color. By the time I was in high school, I had a collection of colored pens to use while I took notes during lectures. I also doodled flowers and shapes in the margins of my paper as I listened to my teachers. As an adult, I still have a collection of colored pens and you can still catch me doodling during meeting and webinars. Because of my tendency to color and doodle, I often incorporated ways for my students to color in class. I always had containers of crayons, markers, and colored pencils ready for students to use. They made posters, brochures, picture books, colored maps, and so much more. And then, my friend Brigid of Math Giraffe introduced me to the idea of Doodle Notes - a way to join my love of coloring and doodling with note taking.

How to Make and Use QR Codes in Social Studies

a blog post by History Gal

If you’ve been in a classroom recently, you probably have noticed there is a ton of digital learning taking place. There are cell phones, iPads, Chromebooks, etc. Students love technology and the more we can incorporate it into our lessons and activities, the more engaged they might be. One type of technology that I love to use in my classroom are these things called QR codes. You've probably have heard of them, but do you know how to make one? Do you know how you can even use one? If you don’t, no worries. I am here to help!

Ways to Make Black History More Than a Month

by History Gal

As history teachers part of our job is to introduce our students to a variety of historical perspectives, experiences, and opinions. While, these diverse voices were critical to the development of the United States, most of our textbooks and the curriculum we are required to teach don't always put these diverse narratives at the forefront. That means it falls to us to do it. Truthfully, it's hard. It's extra work and time that teachers don't always have. Usually, when January moves into February and Black History Month is splashed all over television and social media, I remember to take a look at my lessons and evaluate how well I am doing at incorporating the diverse voices and experiences that molded the United States. If you are like me, here are a few tips to help your lessons become more inclusive throughout the year.

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