Author Archives: Joe Sangillo

Five Strategies for Using Primary Source Documents In the Social Studies Classroom

Five Strategies for Using Primary Source Documents In the Social Studies Classroom

Use of primary sources was once remarkably scarce, both during in-class instruction and in textbooks. The availability and accessibility of primary sources on the Internet has revolutionized social studies instruction. But how are primary sources used in the classroom? Are students working with primary sources to make their own claims supported by self-selected evidence? Those

Jollification and gorging! Yuletide is fooltide! A look at textbook treatment of Thanksgiving.

I’m always fascinated about how old textbooks cover content, so I happily obliged when my friend and fellow Discovery Education blogger Michael Milton asked me to look in my collection for examples of how old textbooks covered Thanksgiving to support a lesson idea he had. Here’s what I found. Perhaps my favorite, American Pageant 1st

What Student Engagement Is, and Is Not

Teachers seem to be pressured into finessing their lessons around ever-changing educational trends. When I first began teaching 12 years ago, the (seemingly) only thing my supervisors were looking for was a posted mastery objective. A few years later, it was all about appealing to visual learners with our fancy new projectors and white boards.

Eight Reasons to Watch the Constitution Day Virtual Field Trip at the Constitution Center Archive

Discovery Education broadcasted a Virtual Field Trip from the National Constitution Center on September 17th, which happened to be Constitution Day! This is a fantastic opportunity for your students to think critically about the Constitution and all the ways it affects our daily lives. Here are just a few reasons why you and your students should

Discovery Education Resources on the Atomic Bombs of World War II

Tomorrow is 70 years since the United States dropped a devastating atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. August 9th will mark the 70th anniversary of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. August 15th is the 70th anniversary of V-J Day and the end of World War II. Students can examine the facts of these events in a

Getting Your Students in Top Shape With Performance Tasks

As teachers, we’re inundated with flash-in-the-pan jargon and lingo. I never heard of “performance task” before I became a content specialist and curriculum writer a few years ago. At first, it might seem like it’s just a fancy way of saying a “lesson.” But a lesson could describe anything a teacher does in class with students–watching a

How Can We Make the 63,000 Questions We Ask in a Year Better?

How can we make the 63,000 questions we ask in a year better? We ask our students a lot of questions. Questioning is the most widely used teaching strategy behind the classic lecture. (See my previous blog post about the debate over lecturing in social studies.) Research tells us we ask 300-400 questions a day, and as many

Who is Burning the Cognitive Calories? Rethinking Lecture in Social Studies

I pride myself on my lectures. I was voted “Best Lecturer” in the 2013 Sherwood High School yearbook. I’ve been told that my lectures are easily understood, engaging, interactive with plenty of student discourse–and I’m pretty darn funny! My students consistently scored very well on the Advanced Placement U.S. history exam. So what’s the issue? Lecturing works.

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