2017 - History Gal

7 Sites You Should Use When Teaching About Early River Civilizations

by History Gal

It can be hard to get students excited about Early River Civilizations like Sumer, Assyria, Babylonia, India, China, and even Egypt.  But, I've found some really helpful and engaging sites that I like to use. You can pull these together to create a webquest or just pull of few of these into your own lesson.

PBS: Guns, Germs, and Steel: Variables
Early River Civilizations Podcast - Listen to the podcast or download it to see the notes
The British Museum: Mesopotamia
Dig into History: Ancient Mesopotamia and then...Create an Exhibit  (Requires Flash)
Play BBC's Pyramid Builder (Requires Flash)
The British Museum: Ancient India
The British Museum: Ancient China

Happy lessons!

5 Survival Tips for New High School Teachers

In the weeks before my first teaching job began, I alternated between feelings of exhilaration and feelings of total fear. It was my dream assignment, teaching 11th graders U.S. History. Thanks to my time student teaching, I felt confident in my teaching ability. And, I knew the content. But, it is completely different to step into someone's class and teach versus being in charge of your own classroom. I learned a lot that first year. It was challenging and one of the hardest of my career, but what I learned helped shape me and helped me become a better teacher.

Here are a few things I wish someone had told me before I first set foot into my classroom.


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?  


Using #Hashtags to Make History Come Alive

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!
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