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Middle School Social Studies

Contributor: Michael Roessler, Portland Public Schools

Tools: Description:
A test in need of revision Many teachers—both new and experienced—are weak at writing traditional assessments. This exercise, and those linked to it, should help these teachers sharpen their test-writing skills.
Test-writing guidelines This resource presents a list of questions that can be used to evaluate the quality of a traditonal test.
Writing good fill-in-the-blank items This tool presents criteria for evaluating fill-in-the-blank items and invites the user to revise some of the items from the "Test in need of revision."
Writing good matching items This tool presents criteria for evaluating matching items and invites the user to revise a set of items from the "Test in need of revision."
Writing good multiple-choice items This tool presents criteria for evaluating multiple-choice items and invites the user to revise a set of items from the "Test in need of revision."
Writing good true-false items This tool presents criteria for evaluating true-false items and invites the user to revise a set of items from the "Test in need of revision."

 

Resources: Description:
Building varied mental challenges into reading assignments This resource presents ten different ways for secondary content-area teachers to build additional mental stimulation into their reading assignments.
Designing your ideal social studies graduate This resource presents a method for teachers to identify and compare the social studies knowledge, habits, attitudes and skills that they hope an ideal student would acquire by going through their district's K-12 program.
Developing essential questions: A social studies example This resource illustrates how a unit can be planned by laying out the key ideas, essential questions and unit questions that it will focus upon. The sample unit represented is from an 8th-grade U.S. History course.
Exploring content expectations: A sample chart This resource presents a sample chart that a middle school social studies teacher might create to identify what students will need to remember, do, and understand to meet a particular benchmark.
Friday Forums This resource presents guidelines for students on how to participate in an extended open discussion called a "Friday Forum." This example can help social studies teachers think about how to organize their own current events discussions.
History icebreaker This activity can be used to used to help your students get to know each other and to introduce them to some of the key concepts of your course at the same time.
Planning a pre-assessment This resource invites the user to explore the utility of pre-assessment actitivies by presenting the options available to a Geography teacher about to begin a unit on Africa.
Using letters to connect with parents This resource presents a sample letter showing how 8th-grade U.S. History teachers might introduce their courses to their students' parents.
Using letter-writing to assess students' feelings about a course This resource argues the value of having students, at the end of the year, write letters to those who will be taking the course the following year.