middle school · social studies · Voices from the Community

Integrating Social Studies into Reading and Writing Workshops

For Shaista Ashraf, the thought of teaching social studies not just as social studies, but through the minilessons of reading and/or writing workshop was daunting to start. But with some collaboration, sharing of ideas, and a thorough understanding of the units and sessions she taught, it became clear, lucid, and even enjoyable!

craft · giveaway · mentor texts · nonfiction · social studies · writing workshop

Fault Lines in the Constitution: A Review, Five Tips, + Giveaway!

This new book by Cynthia and Sanford Levinson is a treasure trove of information as well as a handy example of many elements of inspiring nonfiction writing.

giveaway · mentor texts · politics · social studies · writing

Behind the Scenes at the White House: A Q&A with Nonfiction Author Katherine L. House

Just in time for Presidents' Day, I chatted with nonfiction author Katherine L. House about her recent book, White House for Kids. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of her book.

historical fiction · informational writing · persuasive writing · social studies

Writing History in Many Forms

Want some fresh ways to channel your students to write about history? This post offers some light and fast tips that could easily be turned into weighty and meaningful instruction.

informational writing · interview · mentor texts · poetry · social studies

Interview with Susan VanHecke + a Giveaway

I'm always looking for exemplary informational mentor texts. When Under the Freedom Tree crossed my desk, I knew I found one I wanted to share with you.  It's the story of the first contraband camp during the Civil War. Even though my college minor was American History (with most of my coursework focused on the Revolutionary… Continue reading Interview with Susan VanHecke + a Giveaway

social studies · tcrwp · vocabulary


I’ve been meaning to share my notes from “Methods That Matter: Using Mini-Lectures, Interactive Video Alouds, and Centers to Raise the Level of Engagement in Social Studies” ever since I attended the TCRWP’s Saturday Reunion in March.  Life got in the way of me putting them together in a meaningful way (i.e., so you wouldn’t… Continue reading Mini-Lectures

figurative language · mentor texts · social studies

Writing About Historic Events, People, or Places

Pennsylvania-based author Linda Oatman High led a session entitled "Writing to the Beat of a Different Drummer" at the KSRA Conference I attended this week.  (My handwritten notes from her session, which provided an array of ideas for getting students to write, are located at the bottom of this post in a Scribd Document.) Oatman… Continue reading Writing About Historic Events, People, or Places

friday poetry · poetry · social studies

The 50 States Challenge

I provided my students with a Geography Challenge, which I know they can all rise to, yesterday. They are to learn the names and placement of all 50 states on the U.S. Map by Thursday, June 11th. They'll work in teams of three to coach each other to make this happen. As in Ron Clark's… Continue reading The 50 States Challenge

social studies · tcrwp

Some Handwritten Notes from the Sat. Reunion

Regular readers of this blog have probably noticed my absence this last week.  I was feeling, for lack of a better word, lousy.  I came back from last weekend's TCRWP Saturday Reunion raring to go, but got stopped by forces beyond my control.  I don't like feeling under the weather (who does?), especially when there… Continue reading Some Handwritten Notes from the Sat. Reunion