American History Plans

I am so excited for the upcoming school year, and the content I will be teaching for American History II.  Our complete focus will be on the time period from World War I through World War II.  It is going to be incredible!

A couple highlights from the picture.

History Theme:  Our theme for this year’s history study will be, Rise

Year at a Glance:  Our course of study is all laid out on the Rise Word Chart.  The larger the word, the more emphasis that lesson will receive throughout the year.

Our Monthly Lessons to Buy a Ticket For:  I like to lead to a major lesson every month.  It gives us purpose, and it keeps our minds on track.  I dub these lessons, “A lesson you would buy a ticket for!”  This concept is from the incredible education book, Teach Like a Pirate.  

If you are interested in a closer up shot of the monthly lessons or the year plan, just drop a comment in the comment section!

As always, be passionate and keep growing!

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Easter Monday?

Creating an Easter Sunday Mindset in our Classroom the Entire Year

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He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

The euphoric, emotional high that is felt by Christians throughout the world on Easter Sunday morning is intangible.  On one day of the year, we unite together proudly proclaiming a risen Savior.  

Perhaps, you had an extra-special focus on our Savior’s actions throughout Holy Week in your classroom as it all culminated with a joyous worship service on Easter Sunday.

When we think of Easter we think of joy, victory, enthusiasm, and an inward reaction to run and go tell others the Good News!  

Wouldn’t it be great if we took that same attitude and emotion that we feel on Easter Sunday, and have it permeate our classrooms throughout the entire year?  Having that attitude of joy and victory and enthusiasm in all that we do.

That mindset always begins at the top.  Yes, teachers, I’m looking at you.  You are the one who sets the tone of your classroom.  What type of tone are you setting?  It is one of joy?  Is it one of that no matter our weakness, we are victorious through Christ?

Students notice the smallest of imperfections from their leader, their teacher.  If you are often stressed out, they will notice.  Do you come to school with tired eyes?  They notice.  Do you stand to yourself rather than smile and laugh with the other faculty and staff at lunch or recess?  They know.  Are your lessons taught with the enthusiasm and importance?  Oh boy do they notice.  

Continue reading “Easter Monday?”

Our Curriculum Needs a Super Bowl

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It is the weekend of the big game, and its finally here!  The entire season has been leading up to this point.  All of those long hours watching the preseason, regular season, and playoffs will finally going pay off with the big game.  All of the analyzing, preparation, and reflecting is over.  The time is now, this is the weekend!

Just like football fans look forward to the big game each and every season, we, as teachers, can build to that same crescendo each year in our classroom.

The crescendo that we build to can take on many different forms in our individual classrooms.  The big idea is that we have individual lessons sprinkled throughout the school year that our curriculum builds to in order to reach a climax.

Much like a good book, students love the anticipation of a good story arc.  A story arc in which you have plenty of groundwork and anticipation leading to an unbelievable resolution.  Subject areas in which this can be successfully done are subjects like history, science, God’s Word, Reading, and more.

A wise teacher once stated, “If students had a choice to sit in my classroom, would they?”  While the goal of education isn’t entertainment, our goal should be excitement and passion for learning.  At the end of the day, don’t we want students to be passionate about what they are learning?  While each and every goal can’t always be successful, our overall goal remains.

Last school year we spent six months learning about ancient Rome.  I realize this is not possible for every school.  As a history teacher, I love being able to dig miles deep into a topic rather than just scratching the surface.

Continue reading “Our Curriculum Needs a Super Bowl”

In the Heart of Harvey: Destruction Creates Hope

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As of the last measurement, Friendswood, Texas has received 49.23 inches of rain during the deluge of Hurricane Harvey.  As many of your are aware, this has caused massive flooding in the Friendswood area and throughout Houston.  The creeks, our natural drainage system in Friendswood, are all at record flood stage.  Over 30% of the city’s homes are under water, and that number could continue to rise.  Parts of the city are totally cut off from emergency services.  It is the definition of a disaster.

Many other parts of Houston and the surrounding areas have lost everything.  As we speak, there are several communities going through mandatory evacuations.  There are concerns over rising rivers, structural levees, and continued release of waters from Houston’s reservoirs.

We have seen rescues by air, water, and boat.  We have seen total strangers come from hundreds of miles away just to give a helping hand.  We have seen communities come together even in the midst of the storm.

I’ve had the privilege of serving in Friendswood, Texas as a principal and teacher for the last 14 years of my life.  God led me to Friendswood to serve at Lord of Life Lutheran School.  I long for the days of being back in the classroom teaching a history lesson.

However, through these last few days one thing has become evident to me.  Through all of the devastation, destruction, and chaos, our God reigns!

There is this truly proud, American mindset that we will pick ourselves up and that we will rebuild and we will come together as a community to move forward.  It is an American thing.  It is a Texan thing.  But it is also a God thing.

The underlying knowledge that we have something that is more powerful than the awe-inspiring nature that has been on display for nearly a week.  The knowledge that God is watching over and caring for us on an individual basis.

It is one thing to say that God cares about people.  It is all the more humbling to think that God cares about _____________ (fill in that blank with your name).  Through this storm, He knew every worry, every struggle, and every situation.

Watching the news reports on television, how can we not come out of this with a sense of hope?  Seeing stranger help stranger.  Seeing boat after boat lined up on the street to go help.  Seeing a convention center full of food, clothing, and volunteers.

Hope overcomes all.  God overcomes all.  God is the source of all of our hope.

Continued prayers for all who are affected by the devastation in Houston.  For many, the worst is yet to come.  The rivers are rising, the bayous are rising, the reservoirs are backing up.

Our hope is there, our hope is unchanging.  Our hope rests in Him.

Bringing Literature & Writing to Life

Having a challenging time bringing some life to your literature and writing classes this last month of the school year?

One of my favorite activities to use is a comic strip creator available through PC, Apple, or Android.

We just created our own comics last week in literature class.  The students created their own graphic novel written in the style of the popular thriller series, Goosebumps.  The students loved it, and it has caused some of them to delve into the series further.

Check out this handy graphic organizer, and start your students on their own comic today!

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