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MaryBeth Spencer
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MaryBeth's posts

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"You Hit My Battlefort!'
As in the Game of Life activity, it can cut down on lots of direction and instructional time to use familiar games to support class concepts. This way, many if not all of the students will already know the rules of the game and can simply apply it to the ne...

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Complexity of Character: Teaching de las Casas to Middle Schoolers
One of the more difficult transitions of teaching history to middle schoolers is to leave behind the relatively simplistic, binary understanding of 'heroes.' In their elementary years, students tended to learn about historical actors as one-dimensional figu...

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New Perspectives on the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Underground Railroad
I have written about edX courses before , but now I have a renewed appreciation for the massive open online course (MOOC) movement now that I am fully immersed in a new course. For the past few weeks, I have been following (and loving) renowned historian Er...

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Imagining Life in the Mills
Because of the great success of our Roanoke Island mystery assignment, I wanted to give the students another authentic experience of sifting through documents and really "doing history." In our study of the early Industrial Revolution, I wanted to focus on ...

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Classroom Performers
If you follow this blog at all, you know that much of my inspiration often comes from stories heard on NPR. This post is no exception. Recently, while running errands in the afternoon, I heard a story on All Things Considered  about "teachers as performers"...

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Have you checked out Understood?
Understood is really intended as a resource for parents of students with learning differences, but it can be tremendously helpful for teachers, as well. The site has information about learning disabilities, simulations to "see the world through your child's...

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It's Club Season!
Now that the winter session is upon us, it is time for the winter club season here at our school! Over the next few weeks, I will be posting about some activities from my two clubs, the Middle School Art Club and the Middle and Upper School Comics and Gamin...

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Washington Crosses the Delaware
Throughout my course, I find that I always want to teach a common tension throughout the entire field of historical scholarship -- understanding and familiarity with the accepted iconography and narrative, while also teaching an undertone of critical questi...

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Scootin' for Newton
This week, I made my annual visit deep into the back of the P.E. closet to pull out the old scooters.  It's Newton time again.  While covering Newton's three laws of motion, we try to demonstrate each of the laws in class, and this demo works really well fo...

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Keep or Toss?
What can reality shows on television and the "real food" movement teach us about the future of education? It may seem like a stretch, but in reading some of the most recent writing out there about radical new teaching techniques, there may be some parallels...
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