Learning about the counties within Minnesota

As a native of Minnesota, I’m always interested in learning more about my home state. It was this that led me to create a new project for middle and junior high students (or younger if you want a challenge). Through a written report, poster, presentation, or brochure, your students will enjoy learning about Minnesota’s 87 counties via this new PBA (project-based assessment) and learning guide (found via the menu above). This PBA is multi-disciplinary as it involves reading, researching, writing, about a Minnesota county (and therefore includes social studies). Dependent on your needs and interests this project can easily be worked on independently or in a group setting. Each county has been formatted into the form of a bookmark.Simply print these pages and cut (there are four per page). To cut down on total pages, the listing of all 87 counties (designed to be the back of all bookmarks) precedes the individual pages. After learners have selected their county (via taking a bookmark or you have handed one to them), they will need to locate where their county is in the state of Minnesota. Have a Minnesota county map available at this time. You will see through the learner handout […]

Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy

I wrote about Countdown by Deborah Wiles back in February of 2017 and am pleased to share a few resources for Revolution, the 2nd in the Sixties Trilogy by Deborah Wiles. While this documentary novel took me a bit longer to finish, I enjoyed it almost as much as the first in the series. I found the middle of the novel to be a bit slow however the storyline picked up once I reached the third part of the book. Revolution also steps it up a notch in terms of the maturity of the content included. I appreciated this as most of the readers of this novel would be older than they were for the first in the series and they would be building off of their prior knowledge. Just as the first novel did, this one includes a variety of primary documents throughout the text. This is one of the things I liked most as it asks readers to look into the time period and seek out information about the actual events of the time. I believe these novels would fit in well in any middle school or high school library collection. Additionally, these would be a great addition to a course […]

A Bit About Bulgaria Learning Guide / Curriculum

From 2010-2012 I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria. During the end of my time there I decided it would be useful to create a curriculum for students when I came back to the states. I finished this curriculum in 2012 however decided it needed an update now that we’re living in 2017. I’m happy to share that the entire learning guide / curriculum has been updated as of January 12th, 2017! Bulgaria is a small country in Eastern Europe that is home to a long history and strong culture. The topics included to not try to explain all aspects of life in Bulgaria but will give you a glimpse into many aspects of life within the country from 2010-2012. “A Bit About Bulgaria” is an integrated, student-centered, learning guide / curriculum that is a great addition to any social studies or homeschool curriculum. All videos incorporated into the activities were made with 5th and 6th grade students in Sliven, Bulgaria, from 2010-2012 in an after school English club. Additionally, these are accompanied with scripts for better understanding. I find it most successful with students in 5th-8th grade. Best of all, the activities do not need to be completed in […]

The Great Wall of Los Angeles

This summer I was able to visit the Great Wall of Los Angeles. This was a destination that came up when I was searching for free things to do in Los Angeles that looked interesting. And though it looked like everyone else there was catching Pokemon, the mural completely exceeded our expectations. It’s an amazing depiction of California’s history from prehistoric times to the 1950s. Though a lot of the material was unfamiliar to me, it made me want to learn a lot more about the history of California. The mural is 1/2 mile in length and is located in the Tujuna Flood Control Channel of the San Fernando Valley. Most importantly, it was created by SPARC – the Social and Public Art Resource Center – that have been creating sites of public memory since 1976. This mural in particular began in the summer of 1976 with a team of 80 youths, 10 artists, and 5 historians collaborating under the direction of Chicana artist Judith Franciso Baca. By 1980 the mural was more than a 1/2 of a mile and had consumed some 600 gallons of paint and 65,000 kid-hours. To date the number of participating youths has reached over 400; however, this wall is […]

Quality Resource: National Council for the Social Studies

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) provides a great deal of resources including their online teacher’s library, position statements, professional development, and the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for the Social Studies. One resource within the position statements is their piece on Media Literacy. Media literacy is greatly needed within our information overloaded society. I would highly recommend reading this short piece as the key questions included are useful to any educator and the concept is one of great importance. In addition, the NCSS publishes a list of notable trade books for young people. You must be a member for the current year’s list however all prior lists are accessible without a membership. This is a great list to consider when deciding what books to add to your home, classroom, or school library! Your librarian, Katelyn