Here at Studies Weekly, we know there is never quite enough time to do all you want as an educator. That’s why we try to make our ordering and our online platform as easy as possible.
We also know, with the many programs you use in your classroom, sometimes things can still get confusing. So we have a large Knowledge Base that can take you step-by-step through our online platform’s processes.
Reginald Wright took an indirect route to teaching — but it was one that led him to a career he loves.
“Every day is a new day,” Wright said in a recent interview with Studies Weekly.
Wright works as an instructional coach for 6th through 8th graders at Aldine Middle School in Houston, Texas.
“Even if they don’t learn all the causes of the Civil War, at least they saw an African American man who is youngish and educated and loves his job, and loves them,” he added, explaining that often this example is not what his students experience at home.
“I am what they can be.”
Wright has been an educator for nine years now, but it wasn’t his first job out of college.
As a senior in high school, he dreamed of being a teacher. He was a member of the Texas Association of Future Educators and enjoyed tutoring at the nearby elementary. But as he headed into college and majored in political science, he got nervous about teaching as a career.
Instead, he graduated and went to work in the local attorney general’s office. It was depressing work, he says, and after a time he moved on and became an insurance adjuster. In that field he enjoyed the freedom of being his own boss. But again, he didn’t feel fulfilled. He got to the point where he dreaded going to work.
“There wasn’t any joy in it. It wasn’t fun. At the end of the day, it was just a job. And I wanted to be more than just successful, I wanted to be significant,” he said.
He recalled his high school days with TAFE, remembering the fun and fulfillment he felt then. So, he pursued a teaching license.
“When I decided to give teaching a try, it was the best decision I’ve made in my life. I love fostering a love for social studies and helping my students fall in love with it like I did,” Wright said.
He says he loves what he does every day.
But as any teacher knows, there are many challenges. Wright’s biggest struggle and passion is to get his students to see the potential they have. He can see it, but they cannot.
“A large portion of our students have not been inspired to dream, to imagine they can do great things in the future,” Wright said.
At the start of the school year, some of the students he serves do not read on the middle school grade level, which makes it difficult for them to understand the middle school social studies curriculum. To get them to this deeper level of learning, Wright and his fellow teachers heavily utilize scaffolding techniques.
“Before you can teach them how to analyze a political cartoon, you have to tell them what ‘analyze’ even means,” he explained.
To help his students understand these deeper concepts, at a reading level they can comprehend, he uses elementary-level Studies Weekly Social Studies publications. The students learn, analyze and process the historical information while also gaining valuable reading, literacy and vocabulary skills. Wright has been using Studies Weekly for about five years, and loves that it is aligned to Texas’ state standards.
“When I first saw Studies Weekly, I thought, ‘This is awesome.’ It’s not a huge textbook, so it’s not intimidating at all. My students can read it and highlight it, circle it and write on it. Then they can fold it, put it in their backpack, and take it home with them. It’s just the best product ever,” he added.
Aldine Middle School’s ESL students also use the Spanish versions so they can understand the concepts as they learn English.
“Online, they are able to read it in Spanish, and then as they go along, we can graduate them from Spanish to English,” he said.
Wright is a passionate educator, an awesome example of the many teachers out there making a significant difference for America’s children.
To learn how you can use Studies Weekly Social Studies in your classroom visit studiesweekly.com.
We have made several additions and improvements to our online Professional Development page. From online walkthroughs, worksheets, classroom strategies and more, we’ve added all new content to help teachers use Studies Weekly to its full capacity. A lot of what we teach in our in-person training will be readily available online.
Accessing PD on Demand
Once logged into your account, click the “PD Training” tab to access the PD library.
From here, you’ll see multiple series of videos and reference guides that direct teachers on how to get started and set up their online accounts. Our Chief Product Officer, Kim Molgilevsky, even shares classroom strategies that can add structure and substance to your lessons.
1. Getting Started
This series guides you through what to do when you first receive your Studies Weekly box. It explains what you’ll receive and how to sort your publications. It also gives you instructions on how to register online. Read this article for more information on getting started.
2. Online Walkthrough
Our Online Walkthrough Series provides detailed instructions on how to set up your class and utilize your online account. This video is part of our Online Walkthrough Series where we walk you through all of our additional resources on Studies Weekly Online.
In the Classroom Strategies Series, we list activities and samples that are perfect to boost student comprehension skills. For example, we have a compare and contrast pop-up, a display tray activity, Cornell Note-Taking and more.
In addition to these three series, we provide worksheets that coincide with what is being taught. For example, here is the Display Tray Worksheet:
At Studies Weekly, we are constantly looking to help our customers utilize our curriculum and provide them with the resources they need to teach their students more effectively. Our goal is to make using Studies Weekly easy, allowing teachers to plan less and teach more. For full access to our PD library, go to studiesweekly.com/online/pdod.
Schools and Districts can also request in-person training(s) by contacting our customer service team at 1-866-311-8734 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about our in-person training, read about our training options.
Coming up with science experiments for the whole class can be a challenge at times. We have a whole collection of fun science experiments that are easy and help explain the science behind it all. Students are able to conduct these experiments with the help of science extraordinaire, Discovery Dan. Here is a list of our top five experiments:
You’ve probably heard it said sometime in your life: “It’s not rocket science.” Well, this time it is. Learn some basic rocket science and help Discovery Dan make a rocket in this episode of Project Time.
He looks like Discovery Dan, but he’s quite possibly a secret agent–at least for purposes of this video. Every secret agent needs special tools. Find out how to make your own invisible ink and secret messages in this episode.
One major aspect that sets Studies Weekly apart from other textbooks is our vast library of videos.
Exploring Virtual Field Trips
Most of our videos are created here at Studies Weekly headquarters, but for special projects, we send our video team all over the U.S. to capture interviews and virtual field trips. Taking a virtual field trip can be fun and exciting for your class, so we are going to highlight five of our favorites.
For our first virtual field trip, we take your class to Kansas City, Missouri to tour the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The Museum opened in 1926 and was designated as America’s official World War I Museum by the U.S. Congress in 2004.
In this field trip, we are led by Mike, one of the Museum directors, and taken through the history of World War I, or what was once called, “the war to end all wars.”
For this virtual field trip, we head down to the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the Florida Keys to visit Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park. The only way to get to Fort Jefferson is by seaplane or boat.
Ranger Mike of the National Park Services guides us along as we explore this amazing site. Fort Jefferson covers 16 acres and is made up of 16 million bricks. It was one of America’s greatest military assets, as it its location is right along the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
For this field trip, we take you over to Collinsville, Illinois to visit one of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilizations, the Cahokia Mound State Historic Site. Cahokia was the biggest American Indian site covering six square miles and had about 10 to 20 thousand people, called the Mississippians.
In this video, we take you on a tour with one of the lead in-house archeologists to learn more about the site and the people who lived there.
The San Jacinto Monument is located in Harris County, Texas. The historic site is dedicated to the heroes of the battle of San Jacinto. We explore the 567.31-foot-high monument, the museum and the USS Texas.
The USS Texas is noteworthy for being one of six remaining ships that served in both World Wars. It is over 100 years old and is the first battleship memorial museum in the United States.
In this virtual field trip, we take you to the Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center incorporates about 700 different buildings which most people aren’t allowed in but we take a look at the Visitor Center with Discovery Dan.
These are just a few of the primary source interviews, micro-documentaries, hands-on activity videos, fun fact videos and virtual field trips we have here at Studies Weekly. To explore more, login to your account online, or visit our YouTube page.
Teaching with primary source has become more prevalent within the classroom. Due to the internet, primary sources have become more accessible and have provided enhanced teaching opportunities within social studies.
Benefits of Primary Source
Evidence has proved that students do not retain memorized facts and dates very well. What they will remember are first-person accounts that emotionally connect them to the subject. Students remember what they find interesting. That retention can make all the difference.
Unfortunately, textbooks don’t provide an immersive experience, just details. Fact and figures do not provide meaning so students have a difficult time connecting with the information.
Without a primary source, there would be no credibility and false information would be presented as facts. Primary source provides opportunities to tell real accounts and stories from history. Without it, there would be a lack of multiple perspectives and viewpoints.
Finding primary sources can also be a time-consuming process and once found, can require intensive lesson planning. Common Core, C3 and other skills standards covering social studies instruction require students to view a variety of multimedia sources. Studies Weekly is unique in that we provide thousands of primary source materials ranging images, works of art, diaries, videos and more. Teachers can find all of our primary source materials on their online account.
Bringing History to Life
Not only do we lay out the facts, but we tell the stories of history. We let the people in history tell their own story through primary sources. As well, we paint a picture of each event so teachers can relate it to what students are doing today. As mentioned above, students remember information better when they are emotionally connected to the subject.
In addition to primary sources, we offer lesson plans and other resources to help teachers relay these stories. Using creativity in conjunction with primary sources can improve students’ conception of the event and time period. These activities, for example, could be creating a narrative or comic, acting out a skit, having a debate, or hosting a mock election.
Let us know how you use primary sources within your lessons in the comments below. For more information about primary sources, click here.
Each of our publications has corresponding teacher materials designed for it, including a teacher supplement. Starting in the 2018-2019 School Year, Studies Weekly will include teacher materials on all orders of 10 or more student publications. The teacher supplement includes assessments, lesson plans, answer keys, etc.
The teacher supplement is also available online at www.studiesweekly.com/online. You will find many other amazing teacher materials online including; lesson plans, standards correlations, worksheets, primary source documents, teaching ideas, virtual field trips, and more.
Accessing The Teacher Supplement Online
In the blue menu bar select the Reading tab
Select your publication icon from the list available
You may also select the week you are working on. This provides more Resources to you than if you were simply on the publication.
Scroll down past all weeks to the Resources tab found at the bottom
Find the quarter you are interested in viewing
You may choose to View the file online or download it to your computer
PLEASE NOTE: All password protected PDFs will be encrypted with your login email address as the password.
What You’ll Find Inside
Within the teacher supplement, each week is laced with detailed descriptions, explanations and references in regards to the lesson. It provides a list of vocabulary words and theme words for the class to know. In addition, it suggests alternate literature and websites to browse for further information and resources. It even offers a summary of what students have learned prior and what they were taught the previous year.
The teacher supplement then lists the week’s objectives and provides guided questions for each section within the week. In some cases, teacher supplements can be overwhelming but we try to make it easy and straightforward. Our whole goal is to make sure teachers are spending less time planning and more time teaching.
Go ahead and login to view the teacher materials for yourself! Let us know what you think in the comments below. For further tips and resources, view here.
After every weekly unit, there is an assigned test. These tests are located on our online version and can be accessed through the teacher’s profile. To help prepare students for the test, each article has comprehension questions listed at the end. Students can answer these questions and potentially earn coins which they can use in a few of our online games.
Refreshing Comprehension Questions
Some teachers who have multiple classes have the option of refreshing their answers so that a blank set is ready for the next class. You can do this by clicking the drop-down menu on the top right-hand corner and selecting “Clear Progress.”
From there, all you have to do then is refresh the page and you’re good to go! Once your students have completed the practice questions and have finished the week’s final lesson, then they are ready to take the test.
Accessing the Test
To activate the test, simply select the publication you are using. This will then take you to a page listing all of the weeks in order. Find the week you are working on. Each week will be accompanied by four options located on the right.
The first option will be “Activate Test.” Go ahead and click the button to change it from red to green. This will now give your students access to the test. No need to worry about students losing their progress while taking the test because their answers will be automatically saved. If you decide to edit the test, select the second option “Edit Test.”
One of the first things you will see when you edit a test is an option to add a new question. When you select that button it will provide you with a drop-down menu that includes a list of options to choose from. Below is what those options entail:
Each question will also have an “edit” button below it. This enables you to change the question and answers. You can also determine which option will be the correct answer. If you decide to keep the original question instead, you can always click, “Reset Question.”
If a student needs to retake a test, go back to the list of weeks. On the week they are working on, select the third option “Test Scores.” Make sure that the test is activated or else the student won’t have access.
When in the Test Scores tab, click on the student’s name on the left-hand side. Then click on the “Allow Retake” option below their name.
You also have the option of letting the whole class retake the test. If you select the checkbox left of the first name category, it will select every student. From there, select “Allow Retake.”
When students log into their online accounts and click on that week, they will find a test available for them to take, or specifically, to retake.
There are two main methods used in educational games: gamification and game-based learning. Gamification consists of using game design elements in the classroom in order to engage students. For example, a teacher drawing hearts on the board for classroom management. Game-based learning is a strategy that utilizes games to produce specific learning outcomes. An example would be “The Oregon Trail.”
On Studies Weekly Online, we offer four game-based learning activities. Two of the games can be found on the left-hand side within each week’s reading.
First, you will find a crossword puzzle. In this tool, students read clues and type the correct answer into the puzzle.
Second, is a game called Misspilled. In this game, students sort their incorrectly spelled or correctly spelled vocabulary words into corresponding “laboratory vials.”
The last two games are in the form of a self-contained avatar character — one being Revere the Rat and his virtual habitat, the other being your own Studies Weekly Explorer and their treehouse. Students can earn coins and gems by answering questions correctly within the publication. These coins are then used to purchase accessories for their virtual avatar and their home.
The coins act as a monetary incentive and help motivate students’ interest. To answer the questions correctly, the student has to understand the reading. This, in turn, increases student comprehension.
As a teacher, you may see how many coins your students are earning.
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.
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
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.
From 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!