Yes, it is confusing...the holiday break. I, once again, awoke on the first morning of the break to the scratchy-throat-ed awareness that I was sick.

The holiday break is finally here - hooray! That is, until you wake up sick. While some of us may spend more holiday breaks than not recovering from illness, here are some free resources to help make your life a little easier!


I have a mile-long to do list each holiday, and each holiday, I get sick. I wallow on the couch, occasionally trying to get something done, but eventually succumbing to sleep. My son dances around me, asking if he can please have a coke or play "Grand Theft Auto."

That's the point when I lift my heavy head off the couch, croak a bleary "No!" and go back to sleep. I always awaken to him wasting his holiday away on Mincraft and cartoons.

Why does this happen every year? I don't know, but I've spoken to many other teachers who often endure the same fate. Someone once told me, "We hold it together, and then we collapse."

Perhaps.

Teaching is a great, family-friendly profession that allows for great hours and a LOT of time off.

But the time off is spent recuperating from and preparing for the whirlwind race that is the school year.

So here's to the holidays and making a teacher's life easier. Free stuff for your classroom below. Try not to write any lessons for the next week, and happy holidays!

From me, here's a free (for a limited time) lesson on analyzing primary sources. There are activities, a PowerPoint, and cloze notes.

Primary Source Analysis
Click Here!
Here are a set of free reading task cards from Jessica Tobin:

Self-Checking Story Element Cards
Click Here!
Here is a wonderful free Shakespeare Scavenger Hunt from Juggling ELA:

Shakespeare Scavenger Hunt
Click Here!
Or try this free clip art, perfect for Presidents' Day from Charlotte's Clips:

Presidents Day Clip Art
Click Here!

Enjoy, and let me know how your holiday is going in the comments below!

Stay tuned next week for my latest world history interactive notebook reveal and yet more fantastic freebies.

Until then,
Leah
This is how we usually test in my classroom:

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

We break out the dividers, and close ourselves off. Talking is a cardinal sin, and we look down, down, down. That's how testing should be, right? Well...yes. Most of the time.

But last week, we tried something new. Collaborative testing.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Notice, the dividers are stacked against the wall, and interactive notebooks are out. This is not a strategy I would use often, but I will use it occasionally. Here's why:

1. The students were focused.
2. They discussed questions.
3. They searched for answers.
4. In several cases, they chose not to answer as their partner did, but they explained why.

In short, they considered and discussed each response.

It was astounding to watch. I believe using it too often would cause the strategy to lose its effectiveness. Plus, a test definitely has value as an individual assessment.

But used sparingly, it encourages collaboration and debate.

The activity I'm having them do in the new year is the opposite--it encourages reflection and introspection. Students compare historical New Year's Resolutions to current ones and use foldables to create a booklet of their own.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

You can get it for free here:

New Year's Resolutions
Get it Here!

It's also featured in the Arts and Humanities Teachers Pay Teachers Winter Holiday Ebook. This book is full of tips and free gifts from fabulous teacher-authors. It's a gem, and there's one for every grade level. Thanks a million to Julie Faulkner for taking the time to put this one together:

Arts and Humanities Teachers Pay Teachers Winter Holiday Ebook
Get it Here!
Speaking of fabulous teacher-authors, check out my fantastic free finds for this week:

On the management end of the spectrum, this lesson plan template from Michele Luck’s Social Studies is perfect for planning a whole unit:

Lesson Plan Template
Get it Here!
This high school freebie is an amazing deal from Jamie Edwards—Write On! It includes a PowerPoint, worksheets, and common core aligned lesson plans on teaching the writing process:

Introduction to Writing: The Stages of Writing
Get it Here!
And for teaching a difficult concept to the younger students or struggling readers, you can't beat this Inference Carousel Activity from The Teacher Treasury, complete with pictures, captions, and worksheets:
Making Inferences Picture #6
Get it Here!

Have you ever given collaborative tests? Leave a comment below, and let me know!

Enjoy your much-deserved winter break, and check back in next Monday for more teaching tips and freebies.

Until then!
Leah
Especially when it's about crime. Oh yes, all about crime. In my sociology class this past week, we cut out articles from the newspaper, explained what type of crimes they exemplified, and analyzed them under the umbrella of specific sociological theories.
Scrapbooking is a fun activity to do in the classroom, as long as you have an engaging topic and lots of solid guidelines for students! This sociology activity all about crime, deviance, and conformity will engage students and teach them a lot about these topics!

Scrapbooking is a fun activity to do in the classroom, as long as you have an engaging topic and lots of solid guidelines for students! This sociology activity all about crime, deviance, and conformity will engage students and teach them a lot about these topics!


It was engaging for the students, plus it re-enforced the information we needed to learn in our Deviance and Conformity Unit.

We followed the activity up by assigning punishments to the crimes based on Georgia's Crime and Punishment Code. The students read the suggested maximum punishment according to Georgia Law, and then explained the punishment they would dole out for each crime and why.

After that, we watched Frontline's "Solitary Nation," about the effects of solitary confinement in prison. The students answered questions on a film guide and considered alternatives to solitary confinement.

Overall, it was an engaging and relevant activity, and you can get all of the worksheets and links here:

Sociology Crime Scapbooks
Get it Here!
Two weeks 'til the holidays and working to keep it relevant! What are you doing to keep your students engaged so close to the finish line? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Here are my fabulous free finds for this week:

Astoundingly amazing clip art and borders from RebeccaB Designs:
Sunshine Frames Papers & Alpha
Get This Freebie Here!
Homework passes any student will covet from Queen of the Jungle:
Rock Star Owls Homework Pass
Get This Freebie Here!
And finally, a Non-Fiction Worksheet appropriate for nearly any grade and any subject from Ruth S:
Non-Fiction Trifold Template
Get This Freebie Here!
Have a quick and productive countdown to the break!

Check in next week for more fabulous freebies plus a bonus holiday activity from me.

Until then,
Leah
Death, Divorce, and Moving--the big three. Thankfully, we've only been moving for the past week. That makes everything out of sorts around the house--and my blog late.

But it's not too late to talk about Thanksgiving. There are still three days before my students disperse for the holidays, and hopefully a little turkey and family time. I will not be assigning homework over the break, but we will pause in the curriculum on Friday to consider the holiday.

It's an interesting one and not unique to America as many of the students believe.  We'll look at a brief summary of the history of the holiday as a large group, and then break off into small groups to examine particular eras of Thanksgiving history.

Students will create one page with a summary and picture for their assigned era. Each page will go into a notebook, so that the class has a picture book of the history of Thanksgiving. We'll read the book together as a class and drink hot cider. Fun times....

Early finishers will complete a Thanksgiving crossword, word search, or riddles for extra credit. The riddles are my particular favorite. They include anagrams, Limericks, and rebus (picture) puzzles.

You can find the entire assignment (including the puzzles) here:

Thanksgiving Activities: Creative Writing with a History of Thanksgiving
Get it Here!


Here are some of my Thanksgiving borders for documents and PowerPoints. Download them for free, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Borders Freebie
Get it Here!


Do you have any holiday assignments for Thanksgiving? Leave a comment to share your ideas.

Check back in next Monday when I reveal my next interactive notebook--Enlightenment and Revolutions.

Until then,
Leah



I create a lot of original work for English and world history, but only some for sociology. I've been teaching sociology for three years, now, and almost immediately, I stumbled upon Introsocsite. It's a fantastic resource for any sociology teacher.

Sociology is a really fun course to teach, and it's made even more fun thanks to a website called Introsocsite. Learn about some of the awesome activities I've used in my own classroom from Introsocsite in this blog post!I credit Introsocsite not only for the organization of my course, but also for some fun and highly useful games.

Last week, when we were studying a unit on social organization, we needed to discuss the difference between competitive and cooperative societies. Introsocsite linked me to a fantastic idea--using musical chairs to illustrate the concept.

In the first round of musical chairs, students played in the traditional way. It was highly competitive, and of course, there was only one winner.

Sociology is a really fun course to teach, and it's made even more fun thanks to a website called Introsocsite. Learn about some of the awesome activities I've used in my own classroom from Introsocsite in this blog post!The second way involved taking away a chair each time as usual, but students had to figure out a way to keep everybody in the game. They rose to the occasion. They sat in laps, stood on chairs, and formed pyramids. It was interesting that leaders emerged, directing everyone into positions so that nobody would "be out."




Sociology is a really fun course to teach, and it's made even more fun thanks to a website called Introsocsite. Learn about some of the awesome activities I've used in my own classroom from Introsocsite in this blog post!Introsocsite has directed me to several hand-on, creative "game" activities. Here are my students putting together puzzles in the first unit to illustrate sociological theories:


Sociology is a really fun course to teach, and it's made even more fun thanks to a website called Introsocsite. Learn about some of the awesome activities I've used in my own classroom from Introsocsite in this blog post!Here they are in the unit on social inequalities playing Life Happens--a game that gives each group a different income, and asks them to create a budget for the year. As they are struggling to make the budget work, the teacher drops "Life Happens" cards on their table. The cards present various real-life situations, like the need for a doctor's visit, or the expense of new tires for the car.


Of course, I still create products for sociology and am slowly uploading them on to Teachers Pay Teachers. But this is happening VERY slowly thanks to Introsocsite. It's not much yet, but these are my sociology products so far.

Have you found a web resource for you classroom that you can't live without? Let me know in the comments below.


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Unit 6: The Age of Exploration...Revealed!

Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook
Click Here!
Everything you need for a unit on Exploration. It covers European Explorers, Muslim Empires, Native American Empires, and China and Japan.

Only six more to go (for that course). These things are time consuming to create but a pleasure to implement.

Students cut, paste, draw, write, analyze, and keep it all in one place.

So how is it going after 11 weeks?

On the plus side: students are still keeping up with their notebooks, bringing them to class each day, taking pride in their work, and using them as study guides.

On the downside: it does not solve all of your classroom woes.

Take last Wednesday, for example. I was giving a lecture (if you've used any of my notebooks, you know I don't lecture long, and I break up the block with transitions and variety). My students were not having it, though...no, not at all.

You know what I mean, talking and laughing. No amount of redirection worked. I stopped the lecture right there and had them use their books to fill in their cloze notes.

That evening, I called several parents, and the next day, I met sudents at the door with all of their assignments and directions typed up on a handout. I call it "going on strike." I type at the top that if they are on task and working quietly and they raise their hands, I will go and help them.

It's a boring, boring day.

I don't do it often, but when I do, it's pretty effective. The point I want the students to get is that there's an entertaining way to do things, and a not so entertaining way. The entertaining way is a privilege.

Most of the students get it, and we can usually return to class as usual the next day, minus the behavior issues.

Thankfully, it worked well last week, and we were back to interacting with our notebooks by Friday.

How do you "rein" your students back in when they get out of control? If they never get out of control, be sure to give me your secret :). Leave a comment below.

Stay tuned for next Monday when I discuss the benefits of musical chairs in sociology (no really), and any other mishaps that most certainly will occur.

Until then,
Leah

I love Halloween. I love the fall--the crisp air, the red and gold leaves, that feeling you get when you sit outside with a book and a cup of coffee (audible sigh)....Fall is all about change, and change is very bittersweet (let's not think about the alternative to change, not on this beautiful day). Winter reminds us of that.

By fall, the school year is in full swing, and the honeymoon is long gone, but that's okay. That just means that it's time to reignite the flame we all felt at the end of summer holidays.

Routine is important--vital for students in this changeable world. But the best way to rekindle the excitement that peaks around the first week of the school year is to throw a little holiday fun their way when you can. That's why I've spent the past week with my head in the clouds, thinking about holiday activities.

And I can't let family game night or family movie night go unanswered. So my apologies for not having my Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook up and running. It's almost ready, but not quite, and I want everything to be "just so."

What I do have are Halloween Activities for English, social studies, and sociology. They will break up the daily routine, and encourage students to collaboratively write scary stories, learn about the history of Halloween, or consider the social implications of Halloween costumes.

Scary Stories with the Elements of Plot
Get it Here!

History of Halloween Gallery Walk
Get it Here!

The Sociology of Halloween Costumes
Get it Here!


I even bought an electric tea kettle and hot cocoa for the occasion....I'm excited!

What is your favorite holiday, and how do you celebrate it at school? Leave a comment below to let me know.

Come back next week when I really do reveal my Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook!

Until then,
Leah
We're having midterm exams this week at my school, so it's been looking over old tests and playing review games in tandem with working on the new unit (we have no time to waste in world history on the block schedule).

I'm a big fan of playing Jeopardy "trivia-style" because it saves time. My students are already seated at tables of 4. I project the Jeopardy "answer," and they have 30 seconds to bring me the "question" on a scratch sheet of paper with their table number on it. At the end of he game, the table with the most points "wins."

I also like to play "The Fly Swatter Game" with vocabulary. I write all the vocabulary words on the board, and students face off in pairs, each with a flyswatter. I read the definition or an example, and the first student to "swat" the correct word "wins."

I find it useful to give students copies of old tests with printouts of answers they missed the first time around (We use clickers to record our test responses, so I just print "student results" from my computer). They use their notebooks and their partners to try to figure out the correct answers.

But one thing has been notably absent from my world history class reviews--the gigantic study guide.

We don't need it. We have interactive notebooks. The notebook is a complete study guide for the students. Everything they need to be successful on the exam is there, in one place.

I'm not sure exactly why these work so much better than 3-ring binders, dividers, and loose-leaf paper, but they do. Perhaps it's because it feels more like a dynamic creation to them than a static, "Put this paper behind the unit 3 divider," or, "This goes with your notes."

Whatever it is, I'm not questioning it. Here are my students, busy at work on Unit 6: The Age of Exploration (which I'll reveal here next week):

When you've got exams going on, you need whatever you can get to help students review in engaging ways. I'm sharing some tips on my favorite ways to review with my secondary students, and I share a bit about my new interactive notebook! Click through to read more.


You can get the individual foldables they're working on here:

Triangular Trade Foldable
Find it Here!

A Worksheet to Reinforce the Concept of the Columbian Exchange
Find it Here!
Also, take a minute to check out my Unit 5: The Renaissance and Reformation Interactive Notebook:

The Renaissance and Reformation Interactive Notebook
Find it Here!
It's packed with activities, cloze notes, PowerPoints, foldables, and a test.

How do you review for exams? Do you have any amazing games or simple reviews that the students love? Let me know in the comments below!

Check back next week when I reveal my Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook.

Until then,
Leah


I'm always looking to mix things up--even if it's just to go outside on a beautiful day for a review game or a lesson. Just like anyone else, students appreciate a change of venue. And, let's face it, different is memorable.

This is when I get to have fun with my elective, sociology. I'm fortunate to work close to a town square and that we are on the block schedule, so walking field trips are no problem, with permission slips, of course.

But even if you're not so fortunate, these things can be assigned for homework and discussed in class.

Last Tuesday, my students and I took a walking field trip to the town square to complete a socialization scavenger hunt. We walked and talked and listened to music--it was fun.

When we got to the square, I turned them loose to begin the scavenger hunt. They went into various shops and observed various people and answered questions about gender and age expectations.

This is the Socialization Scavenger Hunt that we used:

Socialization Scavenger Hunt
Get it Here!
The next day, they answered the questions on the last page, and we had a pretty good discussion about socialization and expectations for gender and age.

Getting the students out of the classroom is a great way to engage them in whatever you're doing.

When do you get your students out of the classroom? What types of activities do you do? How has it worked out? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Check back next week for more in the interactive notebook saga. I'll be revealing my Renaissance and Reformation Interactive Notebook.

Until Then,
Leah



You heard me--I'm bringing crafts to high school history class. Pop-ups aren't just for babies anymore. I'm an equal-opportunity popper.

At first, they complain. "We're not in second grade."

Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)
 But slowly, they get into it, and what's more, they remember it.


Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)


We're not just cutting to pass the time. There's a method to my madness--a standard it supports. My philosophy has always been, "Why do the same old book work when you can cover the identical material with art or drama?"

The standard my Middle Ages Pop-Ups cover is

SSWH7 The student will analyze European medieval society with regard to culture, politics, society, and economics.
a. Explain the manorial system and feudalism; include the status of peasants and feudal
monarchies and the importance of Charlemagne.

Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)

Here's how we do it:
1. Discuss the manorial system and feudalism using a prezi, cloze notes, and a film clip.
2. Show the step-by-step instructions with pictures on a PowerPoint.
3. Students follow along and make the pop-up.
4. They paste the pop-up into their interactive notebooks.
5. They scan the QR Code on the handout, and answer the questions directly into their notebooks.

Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)

Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)

It's a creative and fun way to discuss the manorial system and feudalism. What's more, when we come to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution 3 units down the road, students "get" why it was such a big deal that the lords fenced off the common land.

The manorial pop-ups are a part of my Middle Ages in the East and the West Interactive Notebook Bundle that you can get here:

The Middle Ages in the East and the West Interactive Notebook
Get it Here!
Don't need the whole thing? No worries. Just get the Pop-Ups here:

Middle Ages Manors Pop Ups
Get it Here!
How do you reach across the curriculum? Whether it's STEM or the arts, what do you do to connect with other subjects in your classroom in order to engage students? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Be sure to come back next Monday when I discuss a scavenger hunt through local shops in sociology.

Until then,
Leah
I'm a planner. I plan everything--my work day, my family time, my alone time--everything. Maybe it's from spending most of my life listening for a bell to ring. I'm serious. When my son was a baby, I had a schedule that read like this: 6:00 AM, feed baby; 6:15, rock baby; 6:45, put baby in crib--you get the idea (too much information, perhaps?).

So, when things don't go according to plan, I feel...off. Case in point--Friday morning.

I got up and began getting ready for work. My son got up, and he was sick. I was horrified to have to call in.

Even if you're not a planner but you teach, you know what I mean. If you have the task of teaching the history of the entire world in 18 weeks, then you really know what I mean. We do not have time to get even a day behind.

I got a sub and began the lengthy process of setting out sub plans.

Sociology, let's see, a movie and film guide. Check.

World History, hmmm...I was supposed to introduce Islam. I had a PowerPoint, film clip, activity, and a few Kagan structures going on that day. What to do?

Seriously, we couldn't afford to get behind, so the sub plans HAD to be meaningful.

Then I remembered Teachers Pay Teachers. I sell products on that site, and I've used products on there in my instruction, so why hadn't I thought of it as a time-saving sub resource?

I discovered on Friday morning that it definitely is. In under 10 minutes I had found a meaningful activity (creating a timeline, in my case) that required no prep and had step by step instructions perfect for a sub. My students got a thorough introduction to Islam without my being there.

The best part? I paid $1 for it.

This made me think--why do I focus so heavily on big unit bundles and exclude the small stuff?

So I loaded several small assignments--all under $2. Here are a couple of them:

The Fall of Rome: Different Opinions from Secondary Sources
CLICK HERE

Plato vs. Aristotle: Two Worldviews
CLICK HERE

Compare the Justinian Code to Your State's Law Code
CLICK HERE

The Mongols: A Webquest with QR Codes
CLICK HERE

Three Events Foldable
CLICK HERE


This sets me back until this weekend loading up my next world history interactive notebook bundle, but I felt like uploading some smaller assignments could be beneficial to teachers in a pinch like I was Friday morning.

What do you do when you have to be out at the last minute? Leave your comments below.

Check in next week to see my new world history interactive notebook bundle and to find out how the Manor Pop-Ups (see last week) went!

Until then,
Leah
I took the Labor Day Holiday off to spend with family. We went into the city (which here means Atlanta) cooked out, and played a new game called "Seven Wonders." It was a great family weekend.

But my mind always wanders back to my classes.

My sociology students completed and presented their research projects before we went away for the holiday. They conducted experiments or surveys, reviewed research literature, and presented their findings to the class in the form of Prezis, PowerPoints, and videos.

Some of them (and they got really excited about this) performed ethnomethodology (or breaching) experiments. They behaved unexpectedly in  social situations. Some rode tricycles around campus; others stood on chairs and read in the media center; still others breached proximity (stood too closely to others in an elevator--pretended to be on the yearbook staff, and took extreme close-ups).

Still others conducted surveys. They were searching out people's tendency to conform or their ideals of beauty.

Whatever they did, they had a blast, and took a lot of pride in their research. It was fun to watch it all unfold. You can get my editable research handouts for free here:

Sociological Research
Get it FREE here


In world history, my students were very concerned that I took up their interactive notebooks today. They really seem to be taking pride in these, and they want them back NOW! What they don't know is that I have a surprise in store for them for the next unit on the middle ages (I will post the entire interactive notebook this weekend in my TPT store). Manorial System Pop-Ups....You can get the pop-ups here:

Middle Ages Manor Pop Ups
Get it HERE

I'm also slowly but surely posting all of my materials from my years as an English teacher. My latest two include foldables, graphic organizers, and examples. I never have assigned anything to my students without doing it first myself. So, if it's a descriptive narrative, I've gone through the process and written one. The same goes for short stories and everything else. You can check them out here:

Descriptive Narrative: Better Writing through Sentence Imitation
Get it HERE
The Elements of Plot
Get it HERE

Enter to win a copy of "The Elements of Plot" for free HERE!

Check back next Monday when I reveal the 3rd and 4th units of my interactive notebook, along with student pop-ups of the manorial system.

Have you ever done an amazing research project with your students? Leave a comment below, and let me know.

Until then,
Leah
Busy Monday. I don't know about the rest of you, but we are back with a vengeance at my school. A vengeance.

I did manage to crawl out from under a pile of paperwork today to have a guest speaker in Sociology.

She is a social worker from a local group home. At first, I was nervous because, I'm ashamed to admit, I've never had a guest speaker before. I was afraid of mishaps...yawning, heads going down, phones coming out, inadvertently rude questions....

But it went well. Better than well, actually. The speaker was engaging and offered a real-world perspective that I cannot offer. The students paid attention and asked thoughtful questions at the end.

It made me wonder--why have I not had a guest speaker before? What have I been waiting for? I know I can't offer my students everything they need to understand real-world applications of my subject. I'm only a teacher, after all, and that's just about all I've ever done.

Honestly, I think I'm a little afraid of giving up control. What if the speaker is boring, or worse, the students are rude? But today made me realize that's not fair to the students or the community. I don't need to underestimate any of them, and how will they become productive citizens if they don't connect to their community?

So, my challenge to myself--make connections, and have more guest speakers.

The students had to take a break from their research projects, which are quite a bit of fun, by the way. I'm going to discuss them in detail next week. They involve the students getting out into the school and conducting experiments and/or surveys. I'll also offer the materials for you to make it happen in your sociology class.

Do you invite guest speakers into your classroom? Leave a comment below, and let me know how you work it out!

Until Then,
Leah

On another note, the interactive notebooks are still going great in world history. I've posted my Unit 2: Classical Greece and Ancient Rome bundle. You can get it HERE for 20% off through tomorrow.

Classical Greece and Ancient Rome Interactive Notebook
BUY NOW!

A week and a half and the honeymoon's already over. The students are getting comfortable, and their true personalities have emerged. I'm okay with that, though. This is when it gets interesting.

Not one of my sociology students was prepared for the test today, I realized, as we were playing the review game. It was time to check my type A at the door and roll with the punches. I stopped the game and assigned each group a concept and a sociological theorist to research and present to the class. We're taking the test tomorrow.

In a situation like that, I'm conflicted. They knew the test was today. They should have been prepared. Do I really want to set the precedent of giving into their slacking ways?

But I really want them to understand the material. And sociological jargon and theory can be overwhelming to high school students at first. So I gave in. I had to think that if they were that lost at this point, I had slipped up somewhere. I will revise my first unit to include more formative assessment and review. I'm also going to work on strengthening my vocabulary reinforcement in this course like I did for the unit on culture below. It includes:

- Table of Contents
- Ideas for Implementation and Differentiation
- My Quizlet Link
- Vocabulary List and Definitions
- Vocabulary Activity with YouTube Video Link
- Vocabulary Puzzles (Rebus [Picture] Puzzles, Anagrams, and Limericks [Riddles]
- Answer Key
- A Quiz
- Answer Key

Sociology Culture Vocabulary Unit
Buy it HERE
 The honeymoon's over in my world history classes, as well. But the Interactive Notebook format is working amazingly well.

The thing is, at this point, I'm used to feigned interest falling away and materials being left on kitchen counters (but never their smart phones). This is the point when I say, "Take out your notes on India," and several of them stare at me blankly, while I cut short excuses for why they don't have them.

They're talking more, as usual, and getting bolder in their behavior, but in a week and a half, only one student has forgotten his notebook, and that was only once. There have been no missing papers at all. I am sold on the Interactive Notebook. The students own these, and they like them. WOW.

The biggest success of the Interactive Notebook is how it builds on itself. It makes organization and referring back to things simple. I'm offering a part of it for free--Analyzing Primary Sources. It includes:

- Primary vs. Secondary Sources PowerPoint
- Cloze Notes to go along with the PowerPoint
- Group Activity: Telling the Difference Between Primary and Secondary Sources
- APPARTS Primary Document Analysis Foldable 

We use this throughout the entire course to analyze documents. Its a real time saver, and it gets the students used to working with primary sources.


Primary Source Analysis
Get it for free HERE

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale on August 20th, and everything in MY STORE will be 20% off. I won't have my Unit 2 Interactive Notebook (Classical Greece and Ancient Rome) in my store until this weekend, so I will offer it at a 20% discount on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, August 23rd-25th.

Have you ever thought all was well only to discover that your students were completely clueless? Leave a comment below to let me know how you dealt with it.

Check back next Monday for when I discuss more sociological mishaps and unveil the Classical Greece and Ancient Rome Interactive Notebook!

Until then,
Leah


It hasn't been quite a full week, yet--our students returned last Wednesday--but we are going along full steam (English teachers, forgive the cliche; I'm too tired to think of something original). What an (almost) week it's been!

If you read last week's edition, you know I am doing interactive notebooks for the very first time in my world history classes. I was skeptical but had heard so many good things, so I decided to give it a try. I revamped my unit 1, and on Friday, we put together the notebooks. The verdict? Here goes:

- It took a lot of precious time to set up (the history of the world in 18 weeks? No time to spare!).
- 30 10th graders, all waiting for instructions--you know they didn't wait, and there were plenty of mistakes.
- The pictures I took for my blog--they didn't turn out.

So, things went wrong, but here's what went right:

- Today, every student, except for one (out of 60) had their notebook with them in class. This is phenomenal!
- By the time the bellringer was over, most of them had already pasted the handouts I had for them to pick up on the front table when they came into class, on the appropriate page in their notebook.
- When I said, "Turn to page 9 so we can finish your notes on Egypt," everyone turned, and we were on the same page. No time wasted looking for rogue papers.
- They seemed to actually enjoy working on their vocabulary activity in the notebook, as opposed to doing it as a separate worksheet.

The verdict? So far, the pros outweigh the cons. I will keep you posted, but I am definitely revamping the rest of my units to the interactive notebook format. You can get a copy of my unit 1, Ancient Civilizations here.



What's your opinion? Leave a comment below and let me know if you've had any successes (or failures) with the interactive notebook.

Stay tuned next week for more on the interactive notebook saga, plus, my adventures in sociology.

Until then!
Leah


Although they're all the rage right now, interactive notebooks are not a new teaching tool - in fact, they've been in use since the 1970s. However, if you're wanting to get started with them, then I've got some information for you about how I use interactive notebooks in my classroom in this blog post!
Sounds daunting, right? Well, it is, a little, when you're first starting out. These things have been around since the 70s (so the technology involved is a xerox machine and a bottle of glue--no dittos, please), but they seem to be all the rage, lately.
I have been teaching for 13 years now, seven of those dedicated to world history. For the past two years, I can honestly say that I've been pleased with my classroom structure and routine. The once overwhelming content is now manageable. I've finally learned to streamline--an essential skill when you have to teach Ancient Mesopotamia all the way up to today in 18 weeks!

So why would I want to completely overhaul my course?

But the more I read about interactive notebooks, the more intrigued I became. 

And now, I'm committed. I'm revamping all 12 of my world history units into an interactive notebook format. Preparing and organizing the materials is the tough part. The execution is surprisingly simple.
  • Students purchase a notebook (for my class's purposes, an 8 1/2 x 11 100 page spiral notebook is best).
  • They dedicate a few pages at the front to classroom management stuff (syllabus, behavior plan, etc...).
  • They number every page, front and back (I have them do it one unit at a time and separate each unit with tabs).
  • I provide them with a table of contents for each unit (or they can make one).
  • They glue documents, handouts, and notes into the notebook. The interactive part is that they work with them right on the same or opposite page.
The beauty of this system is that you can say, "Okay, everybody, turn to page 15." And, voila! No digging around for a crumpled up paper at the bottom of their book bags, no rifling through a three-ring binder that's supposed to be for history but also has last year's math homework in it.

Here's what's in my Unit 1, Ancient Civilizations Interactive Notebook:
Ancient Civilizations Interactive Notebook
Preview It Here
  •          The ENTIRE unit’s worth of daily lesson plans, aligned to the common core curriculum
  •          An Ideas for Implementation page
  •          A table of contents for the interactive notebook
  •          A PowerPoint presentation complete with film clips with instructions on how to set the notebook up.
  •          25 Handouts and Foldables                        
  •          8 PowerPoint Presentations
  •          A Unit Test and answer key
  •         A Jeopardy Review Game
  •        Cloze Notes for:
  •     Primary and Secondary Resources
  •     Writing a Myth
  •     Ancient Egypt
  •     Ancient Mesopotamia
  •     Ancient India
  •     Ancient China
Although they're all the rage right now, interactive notebooks are not a new teaching tool - in fact, they've been in use since the 1970s. However, if you're wanting to get started with them, then I've got some information for you about how I use interactive notebooks in my classroom in this blog post!
Here's a preview of units 7-11 in action.
World History Interactive Notebook Mega Bundle
Preview all of my world history interactive notebooks HERE.
Have you ever implemented interactive notebooks? How does (or did) it work for you? Leave a comment below, and let me know!

Stay tuned for next Monday, when I discuss how the first week with the notebooks went!

For more information on interactive notebooks, check out this video blog from tools4teachingteens.com

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