This year, my husband, Chris, is teaching AP Government. He was a Political Science major (and is a giant nerd when it comes to politics), so this is right up his alley.
Needless to say, our house has been filled with C-Span, news outlets of every kind, and tons of primary source documents relating to government. I have now been schooled in The Federalist Papers, Class Theory, and our founding fathers' ideals. All of this is great because I am also interested in government and politics.
This morning, Chris' challenge to me was to see if I could list the amendments to the Constitution in order. I did pretty well with the first 10, but I fell apart after that.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, Constitution Day is this week! It's a great time to familiarize students with the US Constitution, and I have a product to share with you that will do just that!
This is a 50 question Constitution Scavenger Hunt created by Chris and me that will walk secondary students through the basic tenants of the US Constitution, including the roles and responsibilities of each branch of government, the Bill of Rights, and all the amendments. Some of the questions are true/false, some are fill-in-the-blank, and some are free response. The Constitution is pretty dense reading, so the scavenger hunt is organized to mirror the Constitution itself for maximum accessibility. All you need to do is provide each student a copy of the scavenger hunt and a copy of the Constitution! (Chris will also be providing students with patriotic cake on Tuesday... lucky AP Gov kids!)
Here's a sneak peak of the scavenger hunt, which is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store:
It's also a great way to get students reading Primary Source Documents -- a critical aspect of The Common Core State Standards.
Cheers to the red, white, and blue!
Monday, September 9, 2013
My featured Product of the Week this week is my Detailed Participation Rubric. I developed this handy tool several years ago after having students ask "Why did you give me that participation grade?" I think if the phrasing of that question doesn't irk you a bit, you probably haven't been asked it yet!
After I bit back the urge to say, "I didn't give you any grade; you earned it," I realized that I was being pretty ambiguous about students' participation and should probably provide students with the criteria by which I was judging their participation!
So... I made this:
rubric is that it stays away as much as possible from simply being "citizenship" points for good behavior. Instead, it demands that students engage, listen, speak, and use time wisely -- all critical points for academic success. By using this rubric, students are held to a higher standard than simply "being good." They have to engage in class.
In my class, I have normally had students self-assess their participation twice a quarter. I have found that by self-assessing, students are typically very honest and usually tougher on themselves than I would be. If your students are struggling with participation, it can be useful to have them self-assess more often to raise their awareness of the importance of participating and how it affects their grades.
Right now, my Detailed Participation Rubric is available on Teachers Pay Teachers for only $1. What a bargain!
I hope that it makes your life easier! I know it was a huge help to me!
Katrina, The Teacher Lady
PS The amazing chevron design on my Participation Rubric cover is by Blair Turner. Definitely check out her Teachers Pay Teachers store as well! She's got lots of great stuff!
Monday, September 2, 2013
As a secondary teacher, I have found that it can be tough to get boys to read, especially fiction. I wish I could say that I've unearthed the perfect formula for what makes a book appealing to teen boys. I haven't. However, here are a few that I've found almost always engage my male students, especially those who are a little skeptical about reading.
Peak by Roland SmithThis easy-to-read book is perfectly appropriate for middle
school and early high school students. It follows the story of Peak, a teenaged climbing enthusiast who gets into legal trouble after scaling a high rise building. Peak is sent to live with his father, a world-class mountain climber. Prior to his stay with his father, Peak's teacher encourages him to keep a diary in a Moleskine notebook, and the book is comprised of Peak's journal. Unbeknownst to Peak, his father is hatching a plan to climb Mt. Everest, taking Peak along for the ride. If Peak succeeds in summitting Everest, he will be the youngest person to achieve this goal; however, a young Sherpa begins to make him see his goal -- and his father -- differently. Boys will learn the value of friendship, trustworthiness, and honor in this fast-paced page-turner.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexieunit available for this book on Teachers pay Teachers!
Monster by Walter Dean MyersEver since I read Slam in junior high, I have been a huge
The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I'm teaching an Independent Reading class this semester, and I will be recommending these books to the guys in that class. I'm sure they will have some suggestions for me, too! I'll make sure to pass those suggestions along to you as well!
Have a marvelous week!
Katrina, The Teacher Lady