MAT Blog

University of Maryland’s Resource for K-12 History and Social Studies Teachers

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Aug 26, 2014 10:12:36 AM

history_labsMost of us are accustomed to using “labs” in math and science courses, but less often do we associate them with subjects like history and social studies. The University of Maryland’s new History Labs website is designed to turn all of that on its head.

Here you will find an impressive collection of resources and assessment strategies for K-12 American history teachers who are interested in taking a hands-on approach to their subject.

Rather than asking students to focus on memorizing names and dates, History Lab’s methodology is designed to help teachers evaluate students on a continuum. In other words, students will be asked to engage in a series of analytical, procedural, and experiential activities that push them to:

  • Seek to answer an open-ended overarching question that encourages several answers and perspectives
  • Analyze sources and apply information to answer that overarching question
  • Apply literacy and close-reading skills to historical sources
  • Critically examine source materials
  • Apply grade-level and ability-appropriate interpretive skills
  • Adjust or modify the overarching question when necessary
  • Develop present, defend, and refine their evidence-based answers

To learn more about History Labs, watch the video below—and be sure to stop by the History Lab website for more resources.

15 Ways to Kick Start the First Day of School

Tags: history teachers, social studies teachers, K-12 classroom

Extensions of the Classroom: Fruits of your Classroom Labors

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Oct 11, 2011 5:10:00 AM

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, an extension of the classroom is simply a way to support what is being taught by a teacher in class when a student is outside of class: at home, on vacation or on a field trip. In a daily lesson plan, teachers can recommend and encourage an extension for what the child is learning.

Extensions may involve an outside resource such as a computer lab, the library, or even parents who are willing to help a child with extra activities. Sometimes an extension of the classroom can make all the difference to a student who is struggling with a lesson. Tactile learners, for example, need to touch and feel a concept before it is truly absorbed.

We'd like to follow up on last week's post about extending the classroom through field trips with this new video blog. Since I recently had the opportunity to attend a field trip to the apple orchard with my daughter, Sedona, I was interested to see how her teacher would tie the trip to classroom discussions or experiences.

The connection was obvious as I started to see the groundwork being laid in the week prior to the trip. One day, Sedona brought a project home that she eagerly explained; it told a story about the process of planting and growing an apple tree.

Sedona may not yet grasp the finer details about germination or pollination, but she sure understands the general process and has connected her understanding to the physical world around her. The extension of the classroom is less about mastery and more about establishing an authentic connection between in-class learning and the real world. Remember to always link motivational activities, like an "apple unit" to state standards, learning outcomes and developmentally appropriate practice. 

For more apple theme or “apple unit” ideas, many teachers love Teaching Heart.

The weather in Michigan is never predictable, but we could not have asked for a more beautiful day! Take a look at our video where Sedona explains how we end up with apples. And when you’re done, make sure you download our Free Extension of the Classroom Guide. It’s packed with creative, time-saving approaches from world class teachers. Have a great fall and make the most of your opportunity to extend the classroom for your learners.

 -Dreu Adams, Director of eCommerce Marketing, Marygrove College Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) Program

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Tags: downloads, Extension of the Classroom, standards-based outcomes, K-12 classroom, apple unit, free field trips, daily lesson pla

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