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Integrating Geography into Your History Class



What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word "Geography?" Chances are, it isn't "History." But, geography and history are intimately intertwined.  It's extremely difficult to teach history without touching on geography. Geography helps us understand why civilizations emerged in Mesopotamia, why certain economies developed, why wars were lost, and even why some civilizations flourished while others failed. Students cannot truly understand a period of history without also understanding the geographical context surrounding that time period.  

One way to incorporate geography is to use the 5 Themes of Geography as a lens to view history.
Location:  Every civilization and country has an absolute and relative location. The absolute location of a civilization significantly impacts the history of that civilization. Through the centuries, changes in transportation and technology have changed the relative location of civilizations and countries.

Place: Every civilization and country has physical and human characteristics. These characteristics shaped the developed of the civilizations and countries.

Human and Environmental Interactions: Civilizations and countries depend on, adapt, and modify the environment around them. Examples of this stretch back to the Neolithic Revolution and are prevalent today.

Movement: Throughout the millennia, history was shaped when people, goods, technology, and ideas spread throughout regions and the world.

Regions: Areas with similar characteristics have formed and changed throughout history.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Cell Phones in the Classroom

By History Gal



I have a love/hate relationship with cell phones in the classroom. Do you?

WHAT I LOVE: Smartphone technology is amazing! Since we don't have daily access to computer or tablets at my school, it's great to be able to tap into the technology that students hold in their hands for lessons and activities. 

WHAT I HATE: My students don't (or can't) disconnect. It's a constant battle to get them to put their phones up when they aren't being used in class for a lesson or activity.

I WONDER: Do the things I hate like the constant distraction of smartphones and the classroom management headache outweigh the benefits of using and incorporating smartphones into my lesson and activities?  

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY? 

#Not My President Throughout History


By History Gal
I love history. And, I want students to love history. It should not be boring and rote. As a result, I am always trying to figure out ways to bring history to life for students. Most students have heard the phrase #not my president on the news or social media about the 2016 election of Donald Trump. I decided to use the phrase to get students to take a different perspective as they learn about the Presidents of the United States in the U.S. History class.


Create an Easy Review Game Your Students Will Love!

By History Gal
It's a fact: tests raise stress levels. Midterm and final exams are incredibly stressful for high school students. A few years ago (Ahem, it's not polite to ask how many!), I wanted a fun way for students to review the content that would be on their midterm exam, so I created  a game I call 1-2-3 Draw! It's a variation on drawing games that you may have played when you were younger and it works for all subjects - not just history!

The Coloring Revolution and Why Your Students Should Be Doing It

By History Gal
It seems like every store I've gone into recently has a display of adult coloring books. Some stores are even hosting wine and coloring nights! What is this trend all about? Well, it turns out coloring helps adults unwind and relieves stress. By focusing on coloring, adults set aside their worries and their stressful schedules and are transported back to a simpler time. I admit, that I was a skeptic. But, I tried it and it worked!

Confessions of a Teacher Who Lets Her Students Play with Food

By History Gal
I like to keep my students guessing about they'll be doing in class each day. And, one of my favorite
twists is to let my students use food as a manipulative. In particular, I like to have my students use gummy bears to create scenes that represent various topics. It may seem a little odd, but my students (even my too cool for just about anything Seniors) love this change of pace. Here are some different ways I've used gummy bears in my classes.

How I Cut My Grading Time by at Least Half

By History Gal
I teach high school on the alternating block schedule - meaning I teach 6 class in total, but I only see 3 classes a day. I have a total of 173 students (!!!). So on days with quizzes or tests, I end up with 173 quizzes or tests to grade.

Here's some scary math:
If it takes me just 15 seconds to grade each student's 25 multiple choice question quiz, it'll take me about 45 minutes to grade them all. If it takes me 1 minute to grade 100 matching/multiple choice questions on a test, I'll spend almost 3 hours grading those tests (not even including any written parts!). I don't know about you, but there's a lot I'd rather be doing than all this grading!
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