History Gal
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How I Teach the Electoral College

Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution established the Electoral College, a body of electors who actually elect the President instead of the U.S. voters. And, without fail, the Electoral College confuses students when they first learn about it.

Are Your Students Confused About Impeachment?

Are your students confused about impeachment? Well, they aren't alone! Somehow, impeachment has gotten equated with removal. I'm not sure why. No President has ever been impeached and removed. 3 Presidents (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump) have been impeached and each have been acquitted.

Before you decorate that teacher planner...

by History Gal

Have you seen all the amazing teacher planners out there? They are filled with beautiful writing, inspirational sayings, colorful stickers, and just looking at them makes you excited to teach. BUT, before you go overboard and spend hours decorating yours, you need to remember their purpose - planning. Your year will go a lot smoother if you spend some time looking at the scope and pacing of what you need to teach. Not sure how to even begin? Read on and I'll explain how I organized my planner.

My Favorite Low Prep Review Game

by History Gal
I love review games, but I HATE spending hours to create them. Out of necessity, I came up with a couple of review games that required very little prep time on my part and would work for all of the different subjects I was teaching. In fact, all you need for them is about 5 minutes to write down terms, vocab words, important people, important events from your current unit on some scrap paper, cut them out, and put them in a container so either you or student can draw from it.

Growing a Classroom Library? Add these books!

By History Gal

Lately, I've been daydreaming about creating a social studies classroom library. When I see the amazing collections amassed by my friends who teach ELA, I think back to the collection of thirty year old encyclopedias, old textbooks, and atlases that made up my classroom library when I was in the classroom. They definitely served a purpose, but students weren't exactly excited to use them.

What if teachers added books to their libraries that hooked students and made them want to learn more? What if the books made a foreign culture or time more relevant? What if the books were just fun to read? What if the classroom library became a spot that students liked to go to and were excited about?

While I was creating a wish list of books for my dream library, I realized I didn't have many recent books on my list. So, I asked my good friend and ELA teacher, Rachel of Writing by Rachel, to make me a list of recent books that should be added to a middle school social studies classroom collection. Here are her amazing suggestions.

Do This Before Your Students Open a Textbook!

by History Gal

Have you ever done things a certain way for years and then had a revelation that you've been doing it wrong? Well, this happened to me a few years ago.

I've always liked to assign reading homework to my high school students so they'd be prepared for the next day's lesson. And, every time, the results were dismal. I'd pretty much given up on having students read when a conversation I had with some other teachers helped me realize that I was going into the new school year with a huge assumption.

I assumed that somewhere along the line - in middle school or as freshmen - that my students had been taught HOW to read secondary sources. 

I was wrong.

Inexpensive Rewards Middle School Students Love

By History Gal
 Rewards for your students don't have to cost a lot. Here are ten your students are sure to love!
1. PENCILS - I'm always surprised at how popular pencils are (I even give pencils away at my house on Halloween and kids will pick them over my stash of good chocolate candy!).  If you are headed toward the dreaded fill-in-the-bubble sheets, make sure the pencils you are giving away are #2. I have a canister of plain to wildly decorated and holiday theme pencils for students to choose from.
2.  HIGHLIGHTERS - The various dollar stores have good prices on highlighters, but I also keep an eye out for great back-to-school sale prices. I buy the assorted color multi-packs and students get to choose one color.

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