New Professional Development on Demand and Online Walkthrough

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.

3. Classroom Strategies

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 support@studiesweekly.com. For more information about our in-person training, read about our training options.

 

Top 5 Science Experiments with Discovery Dan

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:

1. Solar Oven

Did someone say pizza? In this episode, Discovery Dan teaches us that we can use the power of the sun to make our own solar oven out of a pizza box!

2. Let’s Build a Rocket

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.

3. Invisible Ink

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.

4. Magic Coins 

There are many forces at work in the universe. Discovery Dan explains how gravity and inertia work according to Newton’s laws. We test it out for ourselves by experimenting with quarters.

5. Vacuum Packed

Have you ever wondered how vacuums work? In this episode, Discovery Dan investigates pressure zones to figure out how his vacuum works.

For more experiments with Discovery Dan, check out our YouTube playlist, Studies Weekly for Kids, or visit our Project Time page. We promise your students will love when it’s time for science.

Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement is a significant part of American History. What began in the late 1940’s and ended in the late 1960’s, had a profound impact on social justice and legal rights of African Americans.

Standing for Freedom Curriculum Package

Here at Studies Weekly, we strive to tell the real stories of history through primary source materials and multiple perspectives. In our new civil rights curriculum package, we incorporate the accounts of multiple civil rights activists. Join the Freedom Rides with Hank Thomas, sit at the lunch counters with Joan Trumpauer and cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Joanne Blackmon Bland.

The Standing for Freedom Curriculum Package includes: 

Standing for Freedom (30 copies + 1 teacher edition) – This magazine format guide is 30 pages of the people and events that helped change American History.

 

She Stood for Freedom (1 copy of each book) – The Amelia Bloomer Award-nominated books about the life of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her journey through the Civil Rights Movement.

 

An Ordinary Hero (1 copy) – The education version of the award-winning documentary about the life of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and the Civil Rights Movement.

 

The Uncomfortable Truth (1 copy) – The education version of the Emmy-winning documentary about the history of institutional racism in America. It provides a solid understanding and unique perspective on American History (suitable for teachers and students middle school age and up).

 

History Matters Poster (1 copy) – The engaging mugshot that has come to symbolize the Freedom Rides and called one of the most famous in American History and is a great conversation starter for the classroom.

 

Interactive Map and Timeline – Expand the experience even further with exclusive interviews and artifacts found only on our map and timeline. Don’t just read about the Civil Rights Movement see where it took place and how the events are connected.

Whether you are teaching the Civil Rights Movement, need content for Women’s History Month, want your students to understand about civic engagement and civic responsibility or are looking for a unique way to teach anti-bullying, the Standing for Freedom curriculum package is the perfect addition to your classroom.

American Indian or Native American?

There is much debate and strong feelings within our nation that are connected to how to identify various groups. At Studies Weekly, we are working diligently to create and nurture an inclusive environment.

Using the Term ‘American Indian’

To ensure that we write about indigenous people using language that will not be considered offensive, we consulted several sources. First, we conferred with the two tribal members on our Diversity Board. They informed us that they like to be referred to as ‘American Indians.’ The Grammarist states that term ‘American Indian’ is more appropriate and claims that the expression, ‘Native American,’ has fallen out of popularity. In the Native Times and Native Sun News, tribal journalists state that the term ‘Native American’ was thrust upon them by a white activist and does not reflect their desires. Whenever possible, they like to be identified by tribe. For generalized references, they prefer to be called ‘American Indian.’

Russell Means, a Lakota activist and a founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), stated, “At an international conference of Indians from the Americas held in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations in 1977, we unanimously decided we would go under the term, ‘American Indian.’ We were enslaved as American Indians, we were colonized as American Indians and we will gain our freedom as American Indians.”

A More Prestigious Status

Part of our rationale is also to be in alignment with the federal government of the United States of America. To be officially recognized by the federal government, the tribe has to have a political relationship with the U.S. government. When a tribe has that legal status, then they are known as an American Indian tribe with the power to self-govern as a separate nation. If the tribe is not federally recognized, then they are only known as Native American. In summation, all American tribal members can be called Native Americans, but it is a higher and more prestigious status to be called an American Indian.

For more information about our curriculum, visit our website.

Top 5 Virtual Field Trips in our Library

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.

1. National World War I Museum and Memorial

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.”

2. Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park

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.

3. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

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.

4. Virtual Field Trip: San Jacinto Monument

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.

5. NASA

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 in Social Studies

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.

Using Your Teacher Supplement and Other Materials

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.

 

How to Utilize Our Game-based Learning Activities

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.

Teachers

As a teacher, you may see how many coins your students are earning.

  • Log in to your online account
  • Go to studiesweekly.com/online
  • Enter username (email address)
  • Enter password
  • Click Login

  • Select the Classes tab
  • Click on Reports
  • Look beneath the Gems icon

Students

Students can access their avatar and see their progress the following way:

  • Log in to your online account
  • Go to studiesweekly.com/online
  • Enter username (email address)
  • Enter password
  • Click Login

  • In the upper right-hand corner click on the student profile picture
  • Choose either “My Rev Rat” or “Explorers”

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers, for more information on how to utilize different features within your online account, read this article.

 

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.

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.