I hope that this week found you well. It seems that a good part of the nation is getting blasted with a heat wave so I hope that you are keeping cool. I had anticipated to attend the AP Annual Conference this week however after scratching my head for a few weeks wondering why I did not receive a registration confirmation I decided to call the hotline. Sure enough, someone booked my hotel room but forgot to register me for the conference. Oops! Fortunately I had a roommate so it was not a total loss. I followed the conference on Twitter from home without the expensive parking (15 dollars a day), excessive heat, and Disney madness.
This is a huge week for me. It is my last week as a full-time employee of Florida Virtual School and the World History course that I have been working on for the last nine month is set for a full release of the final two modules. I am really excited to reach completion of the course development project and am looking forward move to my next adventure. Oh yes, and I how could I forget, this new adventure includes teaching AP Human Geography for the first time. (If you have any "sharables" I would be grateful.) Have a great week everyone.
Part A (Please respond to one of the following questions):
1. Keeping it simple here--is drilling a good thing in the Social Studies? Does it have a place anywhere? Please respond.
2. According to Willingham, practice should be spaced out to avoid the boredom factor. How do you space out skills that need to be practiced in the Social Studies in your classroom?
Part B (All respond)
3. How could you team up with other departments/teams in your school/institution to make the practicing of certain essential skills more relevant and meaningful to students without overkill? What are some examples of how you are already doing this? (p. 84)
Aristotle - We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
This was a real "light bulb" chapter for me. Shauna, I am going to take the liberty of changing "drilling" in that first question to "practice." It would seem to be the natural progression from Chapter 2, and the idea of making sure that students have the requisite "factual knowledge" before they can move on to other activities. Willingham would also seem to suggest that once they have that knowledge they can practice it through a variety of activities, both immediately and throughout the year in which they have to take that information and apply it in different situations.
It cleared up some of my concerns from our discussion about my students ability to use the Constitution and the Bill of Rights after studied it in the beginning of the year. My problem may have been that I didn't give my students enough of an opportunity to practice with the information before expecting them to be able to apply it in different situations. My expectation that they would be able to apply that information after having studied it once and taken a test on it was the problem from the beginning. That will be my big "take away" from this chapter, that I need to work in more practice time to assignments during the year.
I was fortunate this past year to be a part of first effort at an interdisciplinary effort between U.S. History and ELA. We started it as a thematic program for sophomores, which will continue form them this year as juniors. Our first unit combined the American Revolution with Julius Caesar, and allowed us to discuss the importance of giving one's word (Brutus and the other conspirators) versus having to sign something (the Declaration), and gave us an opportunity to discuss the Declaration from a different perspective, which I believe helped them to understand better the words that were there. This does require an incredible of collaboration along the way, but for those students that were willing to work with it, they ended the year with a better understanding of both disciplines because they got to practice with the information in different venues throughout the year.
It sounds like you school has really taken teaming to a new level. I am excited to hear what type of interdisciplinary projects that you come up with this coming year.