Accessing Your Online Video Library

Here at Studies Weekly, we believe in engaging students by telling the stories of history. One way we are able to do this is through video. We have thousands of wonderful videos that you and your students will enjoy. They come with your subscription, so just log in to get started.

  • Log in to your online account

Videos Within The Articles

First things first: when accessing your publication online, each article is connected to numerous videos and bonus sources related to the topic at hand.

To find these videos, just click on the “Watch Video” or “Bonus Sources” button. It’s so easy to find the perfect video for your lesson when they are all in one place!

Almost every article within the week has a video attached to it. So, there is no shortage of videos within your account.

Searching for Videos

In addition to the videos in the publications, you can access any video in our collection by using the search bar. This comes in handy when you decide to teach a lesson that isn’t on the schedule for the week.

For example, if you decide to teach a lesson on the effects of 9/11:

  • Go to the Search area of the blue menu bar and type in 9/11
  • In the left-hand menu, click on Videos
  • To start exploring simply click on the video of your choice
  • Click play

Not only do we have videos on social studies but we have science videos as well! Our most popular science series is Project Time with Discovery Dan. In each episode, the audience follows Discovery Dan and his wacky experiments.

 

Studies Weekly Science VideosFrom primary source interviews to virtual field trips and more, we offer exclusive videos on just about anything you can think of regarding social studies or science.

So sit back, relax and prepare enjoy teaching and learning with your students!

Interview with Chief Product Officer: Kim Mogilevsky

Our Chief Product Officer, Kim Mogilevsky, has been with Studies Weekly for eight years. She currently leads the Research & Development team to develop evidence-based curriculum materials. Before joining our team, she earned her National Board Certification in 2002 and worked as a teacher for the Palm Beach County School District in Florida for 15 years. She has a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction and is a doctoral candidate for the same specialty.

Kim presents to the State Department of Education offices, school districts, state, national and international conventions and conferences all over America and the Caribbean. She’s a huge asset to our team, so we decided to sit down with her and discuss why she believes Studies Weekly is one of the best social studies curriculums out there.

The Interview

Q: Tell me about Studies Weekly and the program.

A: Our first goal is to always acknowledge the teacher as a professional. I like to say that our lesson plans are lesson plan suggestions. Because if you have 25 different kids in your classroom, you have 25 different learning styles, reading levels, and behaviors to deal with. When I came to Studies Weekly eight years ago, high socio-economic schools were buying it because they could afford another supplement and weren’t seeing it as another textbook or core content. In my case, the gifted students at my Title I school were using it, but regular education and exceptional education students were excluded. 

I began shifting the internal and external perceptions of who should use our publications. As a team, we decided this was for every student and took the necessary steps to make that possible. That does not mean that we water down, it means that we show teachers research-based strategies on how they can teach it to make it accessible for all of their students. The rigor of the product has increased since I’ve come on board. We’ve leveled all of our questions and activities using William Dagget’s Rigor and Relevance Framework, which instead of one continuum of, ‘This is an easy question, this is a hard question.’ It’s multi-dimensional.

Q: If you were going to tell a fellow teacher about Studies Weekly, what would you say?

A: I would say this is something you could use as a multi-tasker all day long. You can teach the majority of your ELA standards through social studies content. It covers all of your informational text standards, all of your writing, listening, viewing, and speaking standards. The content crosses over into science and engineering as well, because that’s a part of social studies. Our goal as a curriculum producer is to ensure that every single article, activity, project, and lesson plan covers some kind of standard and everything has value.

Studies Weekly also gives you a ton of resources. We provide you with so many primary sources, so whenever I see a primary source photo, I’m like, ‘Whoo! Free lesson!’ You can take that one image and teach a 20-minute lesson. Another one of the great things about our product is that it’s in a newspaper format. Every kid has their own copy. It’s consumable. They can write on it, highlight it, cut it up. It is a whole lot easier to send home than a textbook. Parents, pediatricians, and everyone else has noticed that textbooks are killing our kids’ backs, but this isn’t one of them.

Q: What makes this comparable to textbooks? Not comparing apples to apples, but moving ahead to what makes this the future?

A: Number one: There is a lot of information to get through in your textbooks. Typically they make one textbook, and then they slap a picture of the state on the cover. So there is a lot of information in there that is not needed for that particular state’s teacher. I always say the same book they sell in Florida, they sell in Texas and slap a picture of Texas on the front. They “Tex-ify” it, and there you go, it’s the same thing! Our publications are state-specific, and we’ve cut out all of the extraneous information that isn’t needed.

When I was a teacher, my first year, I took home the Teachers Edition. It’s usually spiral bound, it’s huge, and I cried. There was so much information, and so many lesson suggestions, I didn’t know what to do. We’re not wasting your time, our Teachers Edition is straight to the point.

Number two: Kids really like our format. We used to have this tagline: “If students had a choice between a textbook or Studies Weekly, 100% of the time, kids are going to choose Studies Weekly.” It doesn’t look scary, it’s not intimidating. And best of all, it’s developed by educators for educators!

For more information about Studies Weekly, click here.

Getting Started with Studies Weekly

So you’ve received your Studies Weekly blue box and you’re thinking, “Now what?” Receiving a whole new curriculum can be intimidating and nerve-racking at first. Learning how to use this new material may be the cherry on top of your stressful back-to-school prep, but no need to fear! We are here to make your life easier when it comes to getting started with Studies Weekly.

So first things first, let’s open the box.

After opening the box, inside you will find three things. First, is the instructions page. This page will go over how to collate your publications so that they are separated by weeks. Next, you will find the teacher resources. These will either come in one larger supplement or four separate ones. Finally, you’ll find the student editions. Each student edition comes compiled in four quarterly bundles consisting of enough weekly units to last the entire school year.

Now we come to one of the hardest parts about Studies Weekly, sorting out the publications.

Collating the publications may seem like a pain but trust us it’s worth it in the end. You can have your students sort the publications, or have some upper-class students to help you sort them into the individual weeks.

To begin, remove the first quarter of each student edition. Next, separate each week and put them into piles (each week has a different color to help you stay organized). After each week is complete, gather each pile and use either an alligator clip or large paper clip to keep the pile together. Then, place the weeks back into the blue box until your ready to start using them. Once the first quarter is done, repeat the same process for the next three quarters.

We print our publications in four quarterly bundles to help save money and ultimately keep costs low for our customers. Here’s a great explanation why:

Now you’re set for the whole year! To start setting up your Online Account, register or login to Studies Weekly online.

 

How to Leverage Technology in the Classroom

My daughter, a first grader, keeps asking me for a phone. “So many kids have them!” and I wonder, “For what?” but I know the answer: for everything. Technology is everywhere. It’s in classrooms, churches, the bus, the dinner table. Everywhere. And rather than resisting it, there are some key things that teachers, in particular, can do to leverage the growing trend for electronic classrooms to work in their favor. Here are a few of those things you might consider:

1. Have a Clear Electronics Policy in Place

No matter how much you care about your students, as a teacher, you know realistically that if given free reign of a tablet or laptop, any kid from the age of 5 to 18 (and beyond!) is going to return the device at the end of the day with the thing loaded with a variety of farm heroes, exploding candies, pictures of doe-eyed kids with flower crowns…and not to date myself even further, but I have no idea what kids are playing these days. Whatever it is, without some clear boundaries in place, it’s not going to be what you’re teaching them.

So first things first, when you come to embrace technology in your classroom, lay out a clear electronics policy. What are the consequences of excessive or inappropriate technology use? What tools are okay to use and which are strict no-nos? If you hear technology knocking at your classroom door, it might be time to get together with your school or district IT professional and determine what constitutes “acceptable use” in your school.

2. Create Natural Consequences for Misuse

With any luck, your students are growing up in environments where they understand that every action has a natural consequence. According to Edutopia, “a disruption should always be a bigger headache to the student than to you as a teacher.” When our 6-year-old is acting out like 6-year-olds often do, my husband will sometimes say, “You better stop that or you won’t go to the park tomorrow!” This is frustrating because the consequence of her action is more of a headache to me than it is to her. No park tomorrow means “hang out with mom and push every button you know she has.” Kids need consequences that are relevant to them without putting a burden on someone else.

In a classroom setting, if a student is using technology for something other than schoolwork, the consequence might be that the device is taken away. If they use tablets to take notes, then the natural consequence of misusing it is that they have to use pen and paper. If students are using devices to create presentations, they have the option of completing the project at home or again, pulling out the stone-age tools of pen and paper and creating a rough draft that way.

3. Use Your Powers for Good

With recent hurricanes ravaging the south, and the strongest earthquake in Mexico in a century shaking up and destroying homes south of the border, there is no shortage of terrible things happening. People all over the country and all over the world need help, and no student is too small or too young to make a significant impact. Consider using technology to teach your students the value of humanitarian aid. No matter the subject you teach, there are things your students can do to leverage technology to help people around the world.

To cite a few examples, FirstGiving, Pledgie, and GoFundMe exists for purposes just like this. DonorsChoose is another one that is specifically for classrooms if you have a project that needs funding or just to raise awareness or bring support to fellow educators. Students can use these tools to create awareness of what is going on in the world, or they can use them to facilitate projects of their own.

4. Make Classroom Content Shareable

There are several examples of classrooms across the country that are doing this perfectly. Teachers are now posting documents such as syllabi online for parents to review. Some schools even offer parent accounts so parents can track their child’s progress. Even students are able to collaborate using cloud-based software to work on and complete projects together.

Students are going to need to be able to navigate software programs and share ideas as they go through school and beyond, and as they grow in their professions. Whether this looks like a classroom website that all students can post homework assignments or class notes, or a Facebook page where students can bounce ideas off each other, we have seen firsthand the significant results of educators creating and promoting shareable tech.

 

6 Internet Safety Tips for Teachers

An increasing number of elementary schools across the country have access to the internet. We live in a digital age and students need to learn about this valued tool early. As a teacher, your role is an important one: How do you teach kids about the valuable tool and resource that the internet is while leaving out all the bad stuff it can bring? Here are a few ideas.

1. Read and reference your school district Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

First, make sure you are familiar with your school and district’s guidelines for proper internet use. You can either download your school district’s AUP online or get it from a school administrator. Besides informing you of what activity on the school computers is acceptable and what is not, the AUP will have great information you can use in your lessons on internet and computer use.

2. Teach students about legal issues surrounding internet use.

The internet is a massive tool and with that comes a lot of legal issues if it is not handled properly. Nowadays, every student knows what Facebook is. Most of them probably know how to unlock a smartphone or tablet, and many of them can open a webpage and play online games. But very few know about key legal issues related to their internet use. As a teacher, be sure your students are not just learning about how to use the internet, but also about plagiarism and copyright issues, Creative Commons, and how to effectively use the internet to perform research.

3. Have a lesson on internet safety.

Actually, have several lessons on internet safety. In this day and age, your students are not just accessing the internet from school under your ever-watchful eye. They may be accessing it at home or with friends, and they may or may not be supervised while they’re doing it. Make sure students are aware of internet safety issues and that you talk about it in each of your lessons. Websites such as the Federal Trade Commission and NetSmartz are good resources for additional tips and lesson ideas.

4. Know what they’re up to when you’re not around.

To speak to the previous point, students are not just using the internet at school. Keep informed of what students are doing online when you aren’t watching them. You can be more aware of issues your students are facing if you know what they’re doing when their internet use is unsupervised.

5. Protect your online identity.

As a teacher, you have a responsibility to be a role model to your students, offline as well as online. Make sure that you have strong passwords in place, and don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your students or their parents to see. Never add students or their parents as friends or followers on your social media profiles.

6. Have an open-door policy about cyberbullying and internet safety.

Ultimately, you need to be a resource for students and their parents if questions arise. A shocking 52 percent of young people in the United States report that they have experienced cyberbullying, and one-third of those kids said they had received online threats. If a student or their parents come to you with cyberbullying or internet safety concerns, make sure to address them. Get administration involved if possible. Encourage your students and their parents to talk to you if there is a concern about internet safety.

Essentially, teaching your students about safe internet use is extremely important, whether you are using the internet in your classroom or not. As a teacher, you need to be a trusted source for your students so they can stay safe—online and off.

Lesson Ideas: Blending Social Studies and ELA

One thing that we frequently discuss at Studies Weekly in our personal conversations, individual department meetings, and companywide events is the importance of social studies education. And why wouldn’t we? This is what we do every day.

To us, social studies is about more than teaching kids the states and capitals. It’s more than just learning the geography of your state or all the names and terms of the presidents. Incorporating English Language Arts into your social studies can and should be done as a richer education experience. Here are five ideas to blend ELA learning with your social studies lessons:

1. Act It Out

After reading their Studies Weekly booklets for the week, assign students a literary genre. They will then choose an article from their publication and present it to the class. For instance, they can write a poem about Christopher Columbus and recite it or act it out. Students can create a mystery story relating to the forming of their state, or a comedy sketch about the three branches of government.

Encourage students to get creative with props and the storyline, but remind them to showcase what they learned about their chosen topic.

This teaches the following ELA areas: Speaking; Writing; Reading; Listening; Analysis; Research and Citations; Art, Activities and Projects; Viewing; and Literary Genres.

2. Create a Video Journal

After reading their Studies Weekly booklets for the week, have them create video journals. This is easier to do if students have access to computers or tablets. If they don’t have access, they can create a storyboard of what would transpire in the video. The goal is not a perfect analysis of the event or the historical figure you are studying.

Video journals build fluency, prepare students for discussions, and help students practice conversation. They teach the following ELA areas: Speaking, Listening, Analysis, and Viewing.

3. Have A Debate

Set up a debate in your elementary school class. This is going to look different depending on which grade you’re teaching. A fourth grader’s understanding of the Emancipation Proclamation, for instance, will be a lot different from a sixth grader’s, but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible for them to learn it and talk about what they learned.

Have students on either side research the topic and debate the pros and cons, discuss the implications and originations of the subject, and try to come up with a compromise.

This teaches the following ELA areas: Speaking, Writing, Reading, Listening, Analysis, and Research and Citations.

4. Hold a Round Table Discussion

Have all the students choose one of the articles in the Studies Weekly booklet for that week. After thoroughly reading and analyzing the article and its subject, put all the desks or chairs in the classroom in a circle.

With their booklets in front of them, encourage the students to open up a dialogue about what they read. Encourage them to use other sources to pull information and cite from if needed to expound their point.

This teaches the following ELA areas: Speaking, Reading, Analysis, and Research and Citations.

5. Write to a Historical Pen Pal

After reading their Studies Weekly booklets for the week, have students choose a historical pen pal or when relevant, a current political figure.

Once a week, students will write to a historical figure that they have chosen to learn more about. Encourage the students to draw pictures or incorporate diagrams, and ask questions.

Once completed, pass out the letters to a different classmate and have them respond back as if they were the historical figure.

This teaches the following ELA areas: Writing, Reading, Analysis, Research and Citations, and Art, Activities, and Projects.

Newly Formed Diversity Board

We have implemented a new Diversity Board to our product development team. We organized the board to integrate and maintain cultural competence within our curriculum materials.

The Board Members

Studies Weekly is one of only a handful of educational companies to incorporate a Diversity Board onto its team. “Our diversity board helps us to ensure that our new content is culturally inclusive, sensitive and reflects our readership,” said Chief Product Officer, Kim Mogilevsky.

The Diversity Board is made up of educators and advocates who have served in various capacities working with nonprofit organizations, school district diversity and equity departments and the White House. Each member brings a wide variety of expertise and experience in multicultural education and plays a crucial role in providing social and cultural awareness.

Our Purpose & Goals

America’s students are at the heart of why we have a Diversity Board. “Our new curriculum is focused on increasing students’ on-task behavior and their willingness to engage with relevant-to-them content, which we believe will boost reading levels and test scores,” said Mogilevsky. “We love our students and in an ever-diversifying country we need to provide them with the best educational materials they can possibly receive.”

A recent report by the Century Foundation confirms our thinking. Having multiple vantage points helps students think critically and “develop greater tolerance for different ways of understanding issues.” Furthermore, the study found that such an exposure created “positive academic outcomes.”

The board aims to maintain diversity and equity in terms of race, people with disabilities, age groups, sexual and gender identities, family structures, religious and political views and socio-economic status. We believe in constantly improving and reviewing our publications so that the content reflects the varied lives and perspectives of the students who read them.

To learn more about our Diversity Board members visit www.studiesweekly.com/diversity-board

Appointment of New CEO: John McCurdy

John McCurdy has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer effective May 1, 2018. McCurdy succeeds Studies Weekly’s previous CEO, Ed Rickers, who announced his desire to step down and retire after almost 20 years of continuous service to the company.

“My role is to continue to safeguard the vision of Studies Weekly and, when the timing is right, unveil more of that vision. There’s definitely a lot more to do,” said former CEO, Ed Rickers.

Rickers has all confidence in McCurdy and his vision for Studies Weekly. “I’ve observed John’s successful career since 1996. We have so much in common in the way we think and believe. Some people are wordsmiths, John is a ‘people smither’ and I think he’s part Jedi. As Yoda would say, ‘Understand the Studies Weekly vision to make a difference for students, he does.’” Studies weekly's new CEO, John McCurdy.

McCurdy has spent the last 29 years in the technology industry with roles spanning from Area Sales Representative to Sr. Vice President of Worldwide Sales. He comes experienced in team development,  strategy, operations and channel programs. John has worked with some of the largest companies in the world in their selection and implementation of technology solutions to increase productivity in computer security, along with mobile and wireless application connectivity. McCurdy now joins Studies Weekly after playing a consultative role with the company.

“The educational process has always been a passion of mine,” said McCurdy. “A long time ago, I learned that what many call entertainment, also serves as education in disguise. If students aren’t learning the way we teach, then we must adjust and teach the way they learn. In today’s world of amazing innovations, the educational process may be evolving, but the fundamentals of connecting with the student remain the same. When the educational process is entertaining, the pace at which the student learns increases.”

McCurdy graduated from Brigham Young University in Business Management with an emphasis in Finance and Marketing. He and his wife, Deborah, are the parents of five children and grandparents of three.