Problem based learning

Sprinting All the Way to the Finish (or How to Maintain Engagement up Until the Bitter End)

During the last week of school, I received an email from a parent informing me that her son was running around the house, excitedly telling anyone who would listen about the end-of-year History project that he was due to present on that day.  With two days left of school, I was thrilled to hear that he was excited about coming to school (and History class, in particular). More importantly, she was thrilled to witness his excitement for going to school during the last week before summer vacation.

Labs in History? You Bet!

Exciting and engaging inquiry is not only for the Science room.  I try to set up History inquiry "labs" whenever possible.  One of my favorite "labs" involves the 6th grade study of archaeology and ancient peoples.  For the past several years, I have collaborated on an engaging inquiry with the 6th grade English teacher at my school, for my 6th grade Ancient History students.  We got the idea from the Archaeological Institute of America:  the Mystery Cemetery

Compromise Leads to War

In American History this week, students shared and presented their findings from  investigations they were immersed in the previous week.  All groups were investigating the cost of Compromise on U.S. politics, the economy and society during the mid-19th century.  Each group was tasked with becoming an expert on specific topics and years. After each group's separate investigations, we reconvened to share what we discovered.  The only requirement that I gave the students for their presentations work was that they could not use a power point.  I demand something new!

Tips for Inquiry in the History Classroom

...Or, our third week back at school.  What's been going on in the History room?

Some time ago, I participated in a twitter chat where the discussion turned to student-centered project-based learning.  Some of the participants were skeptical about a student-centered classroom and project-based learning.  The skeptics believed chaos would reign in a student-centered classroom where student inquiry was happening.

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