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

Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook
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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.

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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
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History of Halloween Gallery Walk
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The Sociology of Halloween Costumes
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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!

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

The Renaissance and Reformation Interactive Notebook
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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!

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