We recently redesigned our website at Studies Weekly, and as part of that, we moved the blog its own page and tab there. To read current blog posts that include more Thinking on Education, product updates and how-to’s, visit studiesweekly.com/blog. Thanks for reading!
Studies Weekly publications continue to win awards and recognition.
The Textbook & Academic Authors Association recently announced its 2019 Textbook Award Winners and two Studies Weekly publications took top spots.
TAA awarded “Oklahoma Studies Weekly – Our State, 6th ed.” as one of just two 2019 Textbook Excellence Award Winners for K-12. This publication, in magazine or newspaper format, uses Oklahoma’s history, geography, ecology, economy, and people to introduce social studies concepts in a vibrant, engaging, and age-appropriate way.
Chief Product Officer Kim Mogilevsky,
Editor-In-Chief Monica Sherwin, and Graphic Design Manager David Hall wrote the Oklahoma publication from the ground up with 100 percent new content, as part of the state’s adoption of Studies Weekly materials.
TAA also awarded “New Mexico Studies Weekly – Our State, 1st ed.” as one of just two 2019 Most Promising New Textbook Award Winners for K-12.
This publication, in magazine or newspaper format, provides a comprehensive overview of social studies topics — including complex issues like race and ethnicity, opportunity cost, and citizen rights and responsibilities — handled in a deft and engaging manner.
Mogilevsky, Sherwin and Graphic Designer Heather Larsson created the New Mexico publication also with completely original content.
The Textbook Excellence Award recognizes excellence in current textbooks and learning materials, and the Most Promising New Textbook Award recognizes excellence in 1st edition textbooks and learning materials, according to TAA information.
“Monica and I had a blast writing and developing these. We also enjoyed collaborating with our amazing designers, Dave and Heather, and so many other team members who helped to edit, review, post, print, box and ship the publications to our schools, teachers and students,” Mogilevsky said. “Producing quality publications is a labor of love!
If your students are just reading our Studies Weekly Social Studies newspapers or magazines each week, they are missing out on so many other experiences.
We love our products so much and we love the teachers who help create our lessons. We also love coming up with new classroom strategies for using our publications.
You can see just one of the many ideas for fully utilizing them at http://pages.studiesweekly.com/how-to.
The example there shows you how students can use the Studies Weekly Reading Label Challenge.
In this activity, your students: highlight facts, timelines, sequence, informational texts, main ideas and supporting details, and identify Tier 3 vocabulary words.
You can also see how to create mini ELA lessons that ask your students to identify pronouns and verbs.
Fully Using Studies Weekly
We design our print products to be very hands-on and fully consumable.
(And, no, we don’t mean your students will enjoy munching on them for lunch!)
When we say consumable, we mean cutting out our images for a 3D Graphic Organizer or an interactive notebook. Or highlighting and discussing facts versus opinions, the main idea, or point of view in our informational texts. Or using our Primary Source Analysis Tool to observe, reflect and question the source right there on the paper.
On every weekly publication, we include learning activities your students can do right on the publication — vocabulary crosswords, writing prompts, inquiry strategies and ‘Think and Reviews’.
But that’s not all.
Professional Development on Demand
Our Professional Development on Demand page highlights even more ways to use and consume your Studies Weekly publications. You can explore those at studiesweekly.com/online/pdod.
Plus, we share ideas with our teachers here at our blog. Here’s some examples:
- How to blend social studies and ELA
- How to increase critical thinking
- How to use our K-2 leveled readers
And if these aren’t enough ideas, we have a great Facebook community of teachers who share their own Studies Weekly projects and lesson plans as well.
But wait, there’s more!
(Sorry, yes we know we sound like an obnoxious infomercial).
Studies Weekly Online
Through the Studies Weekly online platform students can:
- Access an online platform featuring thousands of primary source and other related media, including photos, paintings, audio and video clips — with leveled questions for related media
- Take virtual field trips to historical sites around the U.S.
- Listen to an audio reader recorded by real people, for better language acquisition
- Enjoy our game-based learning experience, which includes a reward system to earn points and build a virtual world
Through the Studies Weekly online platform, teachers can learn:
- How to get started using Studies Weekly
- How to register and use an online account
- How to access the Studies Weekly online video library
- How to assign and edit online tests
- How to use our Professional Development on Demand platform
All these tools and resources are available through each teacher and student account on studiesweekly.com/online.
Your online access is free with your subscription to Studies Weekly.
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.
As a teacher, you know that parent involvement is one of the key indicators in the value of your students’ education. You also know firsthand that your students’ parents can either be your greatest allies or present difficult hurdles into your teaching.
After several years of experience with our online tool, and after feedback from some of our valued educators, we added the awesome Parent Accounts feature. The ability to create Parent Accounts is one of the greatest tools that we have available to you and your students’ parents. This tool allows parents to closely monitor how their kids are doing and how they’re using Studies Weekly online resources.
Here are some of the important things you should know about Parent Accounts. These factors will help you increase parent involvement in your classroom, and give everyone a better education experience.
1. Setting up Parent Accounts is easy.
First, login to your Teacher Account at Studies Weekly. As a reminder, you can register by clicking here and filling out your information. If you have a subscription to the Studies Weekly print publication, then your online account access is included for free.
Once you have logged in, click on the CLASSES tab at the top of the page. Click on the class name on the lefthand side. Your roster will look similar to this:
From there, click on the Manage Parents tab to add, delete, or change parent information.
To add a parent to your student, click on the + Add Parent button on the right.
Enter the parent’s name and email address, then click the Send Invite button. The parent will get an email similar to the message below. Once they click the link, their Parent Account will be active.
2. Parents can login from anywhere.
Studies Weekly Online is web-based software, which means that parents can access their Parent Accounts from anywhere they have internet access. Our software is designed to be used across both mobile and desktop, so whether at home or on-the-go, parents can easily access their child’s information.
3. It includes a built-in messaging feature.
One of the trickiest parts of teaching is trying to ensure that information conveyed to students makes it home. With Parent Accounts, you add parents to your students’ accounts and communicate with the entire class or with specific parents. You can send weekly reminders to your students’ parents about tests coming up, reading assignments, and more.
4. It increases parent involvement.
One of the best ways to increase parent involvement is to get students and their parents talking about school and online activities. Encourage parents and students to use and talk about the online Parent Accounts. We designed this tool to promote dialogue, increase parent involvement, and provide a more robust student experience.
5. It is completely transparent.
Parent Accounts give parents the option to see what their students are doing within the Studies Weekly tool. With the Parents Account portal, parents can track their child’s account to see how they did on assessments, rewards accumulation, and view notes and highlights in their reading.
6. Student information is private and safe.
We live in a digital age and sensitive information is shot across the internet every second. Therefore, the privacy and security of our data and certainly our children’s data is paramount. Rest assured that with the Parents Accounts, your students’ information is private.Our two-step verification built into our parent registration process ensures that no student data is transferred outside the teacher-parent relationship. No one has access to your child’s information but you and their parents.
If you’re looking for a robust curriculum that complies with state standards, is engaging for your kids, and also increases parent involvement, order your free 30-day trial of Studies Weekly online and request your free sample today.
Critical thinking is more than just being able to think clearly about a topic or a problem. It is a crucial life skill that every student must learn.
Many of our students will not learn this essential skill at home, so it becomes extraordinarily important to increase critical thinking at school. (In the meantime, you can get parents more engaged with our Parent Accounts.)
Teachers have actually been using Studies Weekly to incorporate critical thinking skills in their classrooms for decades. Here are some ideas that we’ve come across.
1. Start by Asking a Question
The easiest way to increase critical thinking in your students is to begin your lesson with an open-ended question. The question should require some research and problem solving.
One thing we encourage teachers to do is have students read an article out of their Studies Weekly and discuss it as a class. What are the similarities between the people in the article and your students? What might your students do differently for alternative outcome?
2. Have Students Collaborate
Collaboration is not only an essential skill for critical thinking, but it will serve your students well to learn now how to cooperate with peers. As students gather around their Studies Weekly and discuss a problem, they are able to come to conclusions and process information by learning from their peers.
3. Hold a Mock Debate
Holding a debate is a great way to increase critical thinking about both sides of an issue. Take an issue from your Studies Weekly publications for the week and have students discuss each side. Ask a question and have students take turns debating their stance.
If students are up for it (older kids might be “too cool” at this point so gauge what will work best for your class!), you could even have them role play both sides. Seeing it from another perspective can be a great way to get students thinking analytically and creatively about a problem or issue.
4. Increase Critical Thinking Through Information Fluency
Information fluency is a key ingredient in critical thinking. This involves knowing how to use the information you gather to determine what is useful and appropriate, and what is not. When you ask your question at the beginning of the lesson, pull out some phrases from the Studies Weekly text and write them on the board. Have students decide based on the question which pieces of information are useful and which are not.
5. Teach Open-Ended Problem-Solving
Assign a student or a group of students a problem. Perhaps they have to build a tower or hat out of unrelated out of unrelated, very different ingredients. The goal of the project is to get students learning how to problem solve. There will be a lot of trial and error and discovery, as students are forced to try different things to accomplish the goal.
Critical thinking is an essential skill for your students to have a successful adult life. For more of our classroom ideas and to download some free lesson plans, subscribe to our newsletter. Or you can sign up for a free trial of Studies Weekly.