I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.
Need some help with your American History lessons? Take a peek at my lesson plans and ideas.
My first year teaching I was dying to see other teachers' plan books, but most of them were either blank or didn't seem suitable for our students ("high-risk" with poor reading skills). After teaching American history to 8th graders for a few years, I've developed this webpage in the hopes that it can help first year teachers get an idea of what to do, or help out some experienced teachers freshen up some lessons. Just to let you know, my "at-risk" students have the same passing rate on the history portion of the state standardized exam as the "advanced" students.
Here is my initial set up to explain how my classroom operates. Please see my additional lenses for my weekly lesson plans.
Here's my class procedure for every day starting week 2.
1. Students come in, grab their notebook from the notebook box, and answer the Warm-up question on the top left side of the back of the next page. As soon as the bell rings, I start my kitchen timer. They have 5 minutes to finish the Warm-up. If they finish before the timer goes off, they raise their hands, and I stamp the page. I don't read their answers. I just glance at the page to see that an attempt was made. (When I grade their notebooks, 3 stamps amount to 1 point of extra credit.)
2. Students write in the objective and homework in their agenda notebook. These notebooks are signed every weekend by a parent/guardian.
3. We have 3 minutes of "Celebrations" wherein anyone can share good news that's occurred recently. Students raise their hands, and I toss them the class stuffed animal. You can't talk if you don't have the animal. For the first few weeks of class I don't time them.
4. Go over the Warm-up. People who share their answers (I limit the number if necessary), get 1/4 point extra credit every time they share. I just tell them they get extra credit.
5. Class activities (always done on the right hand side of the page across from the warm-up. If the class activities take up more than one page, the students will always do the next day's warm-up on the back of the last page of the class assignments so that the warm-up and wrap-up will always be across from their corresponding activities.)
6. Wrap-up (always done on the bottom left-hand side of the page under the warm-up.)
7. As students leave, they put their notebooks in their class box, which is on a table right next to the door. As soon as they leave I put the box of notebooks away and put the next period's notebooks on the table for the next class to retrieve as they walk in the door. I store the notebooks in my room so that they're never forgotten. The notebooks never leave my classroom.
Are you a history teacher?
This is what my board looks like every single day.
My board is set up with the date at the top left corner in green. Below it is the objective and homework (I'll write "none" if there isn't any) in blue, and below that is the History Question of the Week in black along with the correct answer and winner from the previous week. To the right of that is a brief schedule of events for the class written in blue. To the right of that is the warm-up written in red. The directions are always written at the top ("As soon as you come in, answer the following question (s) on your next top right page:") The middle of my board is empty. The far left side of the board has the directions to the wrap-up written in blue. On my other board I keep a running "Table of Contents" for what should be in their folders for the current unit.
Using Your Textbook
You have the textbook your school gives you. I'm not especially fond of the ones we have, especially since they actually expect my students to read on grade level. (Most of my 8th graders read on a 5th grade level or below.) I use our textbook as one of many resources. When I think my students can benefit from the information in the textbook, we read from it as a class.
For each class, I have a bag containing their names on individual cards. I pull out the name, and that student reads one paragraph. Then I pull out the next name. Sometimes I put the names back in the bag so that a student who has read cannot simply stop paying attention once s/he has finished reading. I also have the rule that if I call on a student to read, and s/he does not know where we are, the entire class will have a quick pop quiz (that does count as a grade) over what we just read. Peer pressure works wonders at this age!
We read as a class rather than individually so that we have the opportunity to discuss confusing items together, allowing students with more difficulty reading to still understand the material.
Occasionally I do have the students answer questions using their textbooks. This works as a great preview and as a decent punishment for classes that act too unruly during the planned class activities.
My first year my students kept forgetting their textbooks. What was I supposed to do? I devised the shoe method. .
At the beginning of the year, I order a few extra textbooks. I keep them in the bookshelf behind my desk. If a student leaves his/her textbook in my class, I add his/her book to the collection until s/he requests that I return it. I lend these books out to students who forget their textbooks. In order to get one, though, they have to leave a shoe at my desk. This guarantees that they will not walk out of my class with the borrowed textbook.
Additional Teaching Resources
I frequently use activities from TCI's History Alive! United States History to 1900 binders. Unfortunately, I think the big blue binders are no longer produced and I am uncertain as to what they have changed with their new material. I am still using the old binders. If you don't have access to them, you can always create your own worksheets and create PowerPoint presenatations in place of the slide shows. Even though I frequently use activities from TCI, I do NOT recommend using their textbooks. Look below for more books I use all the time.
I do use parts of DVD's frequently. Whenever my students watch part of a DVD, they have to take a specified number of notes (depending upon the length of the DVD). They can always take more than the requested number of notes and receive an extra point of extra credit for every additional note. This encourages and rewards hard workers, and it's easy enough for even the lowest-achieving student. No, I'm not picky about what constitutes an actual note. Sometimes I do have students answer specific questions from a video. I'll always print the questions on a worksheet so that they do not have to look back and forth between the board and the TV. I don't do this as frequently because then students frequently zone out what is not related to the questions. I rarely show an entire DVD. Usually I'll show a 10-minute clip.
Additional Teaching Resources - I use these books all the time!
I don't like our textbook's exams. Instead, I went to the TEA web site and printed off all the previous TAAS and TAKS standardized exams. I divided the questions into my units, and that's what my students take as their exams. Occasionally I add in a few questions if we spent a lot of time on something.
I always make 3 versions of my exams: A, B, and C. A and B have the same questions, but they are in a different order. C is the same as either A or B, but with one of the four multiple choice answers blacked out. Sometimes it has less questions as well. C exams are for students requiring modifications. I always have students write if they have exam A, B, or C on their scantron. That way they know there are more than one type of exam out there. This helps prevent cheating to some degree.
I do grade on a curve. The student with the most questions correct gets 110%, 2nd most gets 105%, 3rd most gets 100% and sets the curve for the rest of the class. I do this for each class. In order to review exams, I have first period highlight the correct answers in the class set of exams. They all get an automatic 5 points added to their exams for doing this. The rest of the classes get 15 minutes to write down as many questions and answers (the full answer, not just the letter) of the questions they got wrong on the exam. For every 3 questions/answers they write out, they get an additional point added to their exam.
My exams last the entire class period. I know that's a long time, but I see it as a way to prepare them for the 3-hour standardized exams they'll have to take later. Whenever students finish, they put the exam and scantron in the correct pile (A, B, or C) and then begin work on a worksheet that introduces them to the next unit. This keeps the students who have finished their exams quiet as other students continue with their exam. Unfinished worksheets are completed for homework.
We always play a review game the class before the unit exam. Frequently I'll use actual exam questions, and I always project the questions on the overhead so that the entire class can participate in the review. The favorite games are probably Baseball and Football.
BASEBALL: I divide the class into two teams. I place three chairs in the front of the class. Team One sends up the first person. If s/he gets the answer correct, s/he gets to sit in the first seat. Person two comes up. If s/he answers the question correctly, person one moves to "second base" (the second chair) and person two moves to "first base" (the first chair). If someone gets an answer wrong, the team gets an out. If the bases are loaded (there are three people in the chairs), and the next person gets the answer correct, the person on "third base" sits back in her/his chair, and the team gets a point. When the team gets three outs, it's the other team's turn.
FOOTBALL: I have a football field drawn on the board. We flip a coin to see which team starts. Team one starts at the 50-yard line (in the middle). Each student on team one comes up individually to answer a question. For every correct answer, they move toward the goal line. If they reach it, they get a point. Team two gets to play then. If, however, a student answers incorrectly, it's a fumble, and the opposing team has a chance to answer the question correctly and "steal the ball."
We also play JEOPARDY. When we don't have much time, we play WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW or HANGMAN using concepts from that unit.
What works best for you depends on your personality. The most important thing is routine. While the teaching activities vary, my students know what is basically going to happen as soon as they enter my classroom (look at Class Procedure). I only raise my voice about once a year. It's quite effective when you reserve it for that "special" occasion.
Here's what is written on my "consequences" chart: 1) Warning 2) Meeting 3) Call Home 4) Essay 5) Referral. When a student misbehaves, s/he gets a warning (usually me simply walking by his/her desk). Next comes a verbal warning ("If you continue, we'll call home."). If that doesn't work, we have a "talk." If the student is very disruptive, I'll have him/her stand outside or in the back of the room until we can talk. For some students I ask what's going on. For others, I simply and sternly tell them, "That's not acceptable behavior in my class. I don't care why you're doing it, but it's to stop now." We call home if needed. Next comes an essay. I usually have the student write a 500 word essay on a topic related to what we're learning about like "How George Washington Helped America Win Its Independence from England." The essay is due the next morning before the first class starts. If I don't have it then, the student receives a referral. I don't do detentions. I tried that my first year. Most kids didn't show up, and it didn't seem to affect the behavior of the kids that did show up.
When I have a student who is constantly disruptive, I try a few other things. I'll have him/her sit next to a student who behaves well, or I will have him/her sit alone either in the back of the class (where s/he doesn't have an audience) or in the front right next to me. Frequently, I'll also arrange a time when I can talk with this student alone (usually during a quiet class activity or during homeroom). We'll discuss what s/he thinks the problem might be. I'll say what I see the problem to be and why it's disruptive in my class. We'll try to plan what can be done to prevent the impermissible behaviors. I write all of this down in front of the student, who signs the sheet. If this does not help, I arrange a meeting with the guidance counselor and parent/guardian. A quick note on parent meetings: try to involve all of her/his teachers in the meeting. If a teacher can't make it, have him/her e-mail information to be given to the parent.
When the entire class is noisy, I use peer pressure. My students quickly pick up that when I've asked them to get quiet, and they don't do it immediately, if I look at my watch, they're in trouble. For every 30 seconds they take to get quiet, it's 30 seconds off when they can leave my class up to 3 minutes after the bell rings. I verbally tell them as the time passes, "That's 30 seconds, 1 minute..." After the bell rings, I stand in front of the door and after a little while, I'll dismiss students individually with the students were were acting up as the last students to leave.
I keep a paper trail going of what I've done. The first day of class I have students fill out a sheet with their schedule and parent contact information. I keep all those papers in a notebook. Whenever I call home, I write down the date, time, and what was said (or left on an answering machine) on the back of that paper. I also put referrals, discipline essays, and failure intervention papers behind that person's sheet as well. That way when we have a parent conference, I can pull out the book and show all the things I've tried.
My class percentages are divided as such: 10% Homework (consisting mainly of them having their parents/guardians sign their agendas every weekend. I rarely give out homework because after a couple years of trying, I determined that my students don't do homework. I stopped fighting and only assign it rarely), 45% Classwork, and 45% Major Grades (exams, pop quizzes (only counting as 1/10 of the other major grades), major projects, and notebooks - graded at the end of each unit).
My first year teaching I thought I had to grade everything. Oh, that took me so much time! I quickly learned a few secrets:
1) The beauty of a check mark: Many times it's not that important if the students get every single thing correct as long as they get the general idea and make a decent effort. Frequently I'll put a check mark (=100%) on papers that look correct and complete, a check plus (=105%) if I notice extra effort, a check minus (= 85%) if it looks somewhat incomplete, and a minus (= 50%) if the student simply turned something in with his/her name.
2) Grading as a group: When students work on a written assignment in a group, sometimes I'll grade each group the same by simply RANDOMLY pulling out one of the papers from each group and grading that paper. The rest of the group gets that grade, whether they did more or less. I warn them ahead of time, and tell them to make sure they have the exact information on all the sheets.
3) Grade immediately: If you don't return something within two class days of collecting it, the students will forget about it; thus, trying to figure out what they did wrong will be lost.
4) Give a second chance: I always tell my students that if they get a grade below an 85% that they are not satisfied with, they can re-do the assignment and turn it back in to me. I will grade it normally, but the maximum grade s/he can get is an 85%.
5) Always offer plenty of extra credit. It rewards the over-achievers and gives a "second chance" to the under-achievers. I give a lot of extra credit, but then I also have a bunch of assignments that weigh out the extra credit. One additional piece of extra credit I offer every unit is a worksheet that contains 2 primary documents from that time period and questions regarding what is in the primary documents. I usually pass them out about a week before the exam. Students have until the day of the exam to return them. Students can earn up to 100 points of extra credit in classwork for answering the questions correctly. I get the worksheets from my teacher's manual workbook. You can make up your own if you don't have anything like that. Keep in mind, though, that most of the questions should be challenging.
I grade students' notebooks whenever they have an exam (usually at the end of a unit). In Excel, I create a chart with 4 columns. The first column has the names of the items that should be in the notebook for that unit. I always include if it was a right- or left-sided assignment so that students can more easily identify the item. I always start the list with "Table of Contents (Extra Credit)" and "Pages numbered and dated" followed by the individual items. The following three columns are labeled in this order: "Exists, Complete, Complete/Creative/Well-Done." As I go through each student's notebook, I check off the status of each item. For an assignment to simply "exist," that means that it's incomplete. I give them credit even if barely anything at all is on there. I check an assignment as "Complete/Creative/Well-Done" whenever a student did more than I asked, even if it's a little bit. I also check this if I can tell a student put in extra thought to their answers. It's usually the "left-sided" (warm-up and wrap-up) items that get these marks. If a student got a stamp (completing his/her warm-up within the first five minutes of class), I'll write an "S" next to that assignment. I then count up the checks (no matter which column the check was in). If I had 50 required assignments and Eeba had 46, she'll start with a 92%. For every check mark that was in the "exists" column, I'll deduct one point. 3 of Eeba's checks were in the "exists" column, so she now has an 89%. For every check that was in the "Complete/Creative/Well-Done" column, I add one point. Eeba had 5 in that column. She now has a 94%. I now count up the assignments that had stamps. For every three stamps, she'll get an additional point. Eeba had 9 stamps, so she'll get three points aded to her grade, leaving her with a final grade of a 97%.
At our school, students receive progress reports every 3 weeks, so they know if they're failing. By the end of the nine weeks, if a student is still failing, we fill out an Academic Recovery Plan sheet. It includes the students name, class, current grade, and goal grade. Then we write down the three reasons s/he thinks her/his grades are not good, the three things s/he will do to improve her/his grade, the three things I, the teacher, can do to help her/him, the three things her/his guardian/parent can do to help her/him, and a general goal for this class. The student signs it, I sign it, and a parent signs it. (The student receives 10 extra credit points in classwork for returning it to me signed, so that usually assures that the paper will be returned.) I keep the paper in my class notebook (see Discipline). This could be done earlier in the quarter if desired.
History Question of the Week
Every week I write a new American history trivia question on the board. Students have all week to answer that question. In order to answer the question, they write their name, class period, and the answer on a sheet of paper and put that paper in a box on my desk. At the end of the week, after all my classes are gone, I shake up the box and pull out an answer. I keep pulling them out until I get one that has the correct answer. That student has the option of either selecting a full-size candy bar (usually Skittles packs work best) or 20 points extra credit, applied to a classwork grade. The following week, under the current History Question of the Week, I write the prior week's correct answer and the person (plus their class period) who won. Our school also has a channel on the school TV with continuously running power point announcements. I submit the History Question of the Week, the answer, and a picture of the winner to be shown on the announcements. Most of my questions come from Mrs. Newmark's Question of the Week.
Odds and Ends
1. Get a kitchen timer or one of the timers that projects from your overhead. As soon as the bell rings, I turn on the timer for five minutes for the warm-up. After the timer goes off, no one else can have her/his warm-up stamped. I also use the timer whenever I have the students working on assignments. I tell them they have 10 minutes to do an assignment. When they hear the beep of the timer start, most of them know they need to start immediately. If I see most of the class has been working hard and needs extra time, I will add an appropriate amount of time.
2. I have a Teacher Resource 3-inch Binder where I keep a copy of all my class papers, worksheets, transparencies, and notes. That way I have almost everything I need each year in the same place in the order that I use them.
3. Developing a sense of community is vital to my students being successful.
I develop a sense of community in a few ways:
o Celebrations every day (look at "Class Procedure")
o Celebrate birthdays. The second week of school I pass around a calendar and have everyone write in their birthday. I then transfer the information to the class calendar, and post it on the class bulletin board. We always sing, "Happy Birthday" to students celebrating a birthday. On that same note, our team of teachers (who teach the different subjects to the same students) have pre-printed birthday cards with our signatures. In homeroom, a student celebrating his/her birthday receives the card and a tootsie-roll pop. (Some teachers also add a "Homework Pass" coupon for their class.)
o Play games. I have a mental list of various "get-to-know-you"/silly games that we play whenever we have a spare 5-10 minutes at the end of class or whenever I start losing interest during note-taking activities. See below for my list of favorite games.
4. Some classes love having me play music when they brainstorm or do bookwork. Enya's Greatest Hits is definitely the favorite. I also have a few CD's from Gary Lamb (which are very calming) and some classical CD's. Occasionally I'll have a class that finds the music distracting. If that is the case, I won't play music in that class.
5. When a student is absent, s/he is responsible for going to the "Class Notebook." I keep a notebook going of the warm-up, notes (always photocopied rather than handwritten so that I can tell they're mine), and wrap-up. If I passed out any worksheets, extras will be in there for the students to take. I will write the name of each student at the top of the worksheet placed in there for him/her so that I know who got their worksheet and who needs to be reminded to make up the work. The student must answer the warm-up, copy the notes, complete the worksheet (if there is one) and respond to the warm-up. I recommend that students come to my class during their homeroom or come before or after school to complete the items, but they can try to complete them if they finish with other items in class. I do check my notebook often to replace stolen items. I never add lessons ahead of time.
6. Going to the bathroom is a favorite activity of my students. At the beginning of each quarter, I pass out a sheet of 4 "bathroom passes." Students write their names on the back so they won't get stolen. During the quarter, each student can go to the bathroom four times. If s/he doesn't use the bathroom all quarter long, s/he can turn in her/his four bathroom passes for 20 points of extra credit toward the classwork grade.
7. Color is so important! Almost everything my students do is in color. Colored pencils are used daily. I also always use colored paper when photocopying worksheets. I don't know what it is, but it makes a big difference!
Wonderful Inspirational Music
Games to Play to Build Classroom Communities
Or to Wake up a Sleepy Classroom
1) TOSS AROUND AN OBJECT: Have everyone sit on top of their desks. Have them toss around a soft object, like a beanie baby. The students toss the object around. Before s/he throws the object to the next person, s/he must say the name of the person to whom s/he's throwing it. If the person doesn't catch it, s/he must sit down. If the person throwing the object threw a really bad throw, s/he must sit down. Very quickly add in a few additional objects for them to throw at the same time.
2) PAPER PLANE WARS (done best during a note-taking day): Tell everyone to take out a sheet of paper. They have 2 minutes to make a paper airplane. Have them write their names on their planes. Have everyone stand against one wall and toss their airplane. Give a piece of candy to the person who had the plane that flew the furthest. Select a few people to quickly clean up while everyone returns to their desks. Resume note-taking.
3) PAPER BASKETBALL (also best done during a note-taking day): Tell everyone to take out a sheet of paper and crumple it up. Have each row of desks take turns trying to toss the paper into the garbage can. If more than one person from a row makes it into the can, have them do a second (or third) toss off. If no one from a row makes it in, the winner is the person who got the closest. Give a piece of candy to the winner from each row, if desired, and then assign them the task throwing away all the balls that didn't make it. Resume note-taking.
4) CLASS MAD LIBS: These are books that have fill-in-the-blank stories. If you don't know what they are, look them up on-line and buy a few. OPTION A: Have the class write in their own words on their individual sheets of paper. Then read the story and let them SILENTLY fill in the blanks with whatever words they had written down. OPTION B: Call on individual students to give one answer for each fill-in-the-blank. For example, have Javier give you a color, Rachel give you a number, etc. Write the responses on the board, and then read off the stuory inserting those answers.
5) FIND SOMEONE WHO: (I always have a class set of these in my filing cabinet so I can pull them out when needed): Prepare "Find someone who" sheets. At the top of the sheet, write "Find someone who..." Under that, draw a grid either with 12 or 16 squares. In each square write a description (speaks 3 or more languages, doesn't like rap music, etc.). Leave space for them to write a persons's name in that box. First explain the directions: "You are going to get a sheet with descriptions of things people can do or have done. You're going to go around the class and have a different person sign whatever box is applicable to them. For example, I have been to a different country, so Sherika could have me sign that box on her paper. Marcus has three sisters, so she could have him sign that square. You'll have 5 minutes to get as many different people to fill out your boxes. As soon as the time goes off, sit back down and count how many squares you have filled out. The person with the most squares filled out wins. Again, remember you must get a different person to sign each of your boxes." Pass out the sheets and start the timer. more than Race to see who finishes first. (Examples: Find someone who: has eaten a frog; has gone to Disney; has nice shoes, has forgotten to put on deodorant before, can touch his/her tongue to his/her nose, has never been outside of Pennsylvania, prefers Pepsi to Coke, has great hair, is good at sports, is the oldest person in their family, prefers the beach to snow, loves to cook, wants to be a teacher, you'd like to get to know better, can juggle, etc.)
6) MYSTERY DESCRIPTIONS: (This is a game that takes up 1-2 minutes of a few class days.) Have everyone write down three things that they think no one else knows about them. Forewarn them that these papers will be read to the class. Have them write their names at the bottom of the sheet. Collect the sheets. Randomly select a few sheets each day, and have everyone in the class try to guess who is being described.
7) SCATTERGORIES: Have about 10 topics/subjects (sports, cars, names of girls, store names, animals, famous people during the American War for Independence, menu items, countries, etc.) Pick a letter of the alphabet. Everyone has 2 minutes to come up with a word beginning with that letter for each topic. For example, if you select th letter "D," for sport, you'd write "diving", car: "Diablo", name of girl "Daisy", etc. They cannot use the same word for 2 topics (i. e. Daisy for a flower and for a girl's name). When time ends, have the student who filled out the most topics read off his/her answers. If someone else wrote the same word for the topic as him/her, they both cross it off and receive no points for it. Have the next person who had the most line filled out read out his/hers, and again have them cross off any answers that other people in the class write down. I usually have 3-5 people read theirs off. From those people, the one who got the most points gets a piece of candy.
8) WHO IS IT?: Have everyone tear a sheet of paper into 10 pieces. Everyone writes down 1 different name on each piece of paper. They should try to write down the names of people that everyone in the room would of heard of. It's okay if two people write the same names. Put all the strips of paper into a container. Divide the class into two teams (girls vs. guys or the left side of the room vs. the right). Flip a coin to see who goes first. Team A sends up one person. That person pulls out a name and then begins describing the person who is on the sheet of paper. They can speak, gesture, point, etc. -- anything except saying the name itself (or spelling it, etc.) When the person has gotten their team to guess the name on the slip, they pull out another name. S/he has 30 seconds to try to get their team to guess as many people as possible in the given time. Then Team B sends up one person from their team, and s/he has 30 seconds to try to get his/her team to guess as many names as possible. Continue this until 3-5 people from each team has gone up to describe people.
9) PARTNER UP: Have everyone stand up and walk around the room as you play music. When you stop the music, call out a number. Everyone must link arms in groups of that size. For instance, if you call out "5," everyone must get into groups of 5. Those who are not in a group of 5 must sit down. Play music again, and call out another number. Continue until only two people are left.
10) MINGLING: Have everyone stand up and walk around the room as you play music. When you stop the music, each student must pair up with someone close to them. Call out a question like, "What is your favorite radio station?" The students in each pair ask the other person the question and answer it. Start the music again, and have them walk around again. When you stop the music, have them pair up with someone who they haven't paired up with before. Throw out another question for them to ask and answer. Continue this until they've asked each other 5-10 questions. (Example questions: How many brothers or sisters do you have? When is your birthday? What's your favorite book? What's your favorite food? Where would you like to go for a vacation? What do you usually do after school? Who's your favorite athlete?)
11) PICTIONARY/WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW
12) FOUR CORNERS: Designate each of the four corners of the room as 1, 2, 3 and 4. Have one student sit at his desk, lay his/her head down, close his/her eyes, and count to 15. Everyone else should stand up and stand in one of the four corners of the room. As soon as the student is finished counting, have him/her say a number between 1 and 4. All the students standing in that corner must sit back at their desks. The counting student counts again, as the students still standing move to a different corner. The counting student calls out another number, and the students standing in that corner are out. This continues until all the students are out. Go back to taking notes, or play once more with the student who was left standing counting.
My Lessons for the Entire Year
Are you ready to open up my lesson plan book?
Weeks 1-2: First Week of School & Geography Lesson Plans for 8th Grade American History
Weeks 3-8: Thirteen Colonies Lesson Plans
Weeks 8-13: American Revolution Lesson Plans
Weeks 13-16: Constitution Lesson Plans
Week 17: American Literature Lesson Plans
Weeks 18-19: Our New Nation Lesson Plans
Weeks 20-22: Industrial Revolution Lesson Plans
Weeks 23-26: Westward Expansion & Roads to Freedom Lesson Plans
Weeks 26-30: Civil War Lesson Plans
© 2010 Shannon
SIGN MY MESSAGE BOARD - Please let me know you dropped by. I love getting feedback from you!
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 08, 2018:
I'm so happy you've found this to be helpful! I've posted all of my lessons. The links to them are at the bottom of this page just above this comment section. They are under the heading "My Lessons for the Entire Year."
camille monchamp on July 08, 2018:
Thank you so much for being so open and sharing all your information. I am teaching US history for the first time, and this helped. Any suggestions on interactive lesson plans or activities for 8th grade US History? I am not a fan of textbooks.
melinda on June 26, 2017:
Some very good ideas, thanks for sharing.
Shannon (author) from Florida on December 07, 2015:
I taught in a school system that uses the block system of scheduling. I had longer class periods, but only met with them MWF one week and Tuesday/Thursday the next week.
Yvette Garcia on October 15, 2015:
I love your class structure and lesson plans. I noticed that there are plans for 2-3 days a week. What do yo do on the other days?
Shannon (author) from Florida on September 15, 2015:
I'm so glad you have found this to be helpful!
Shannon (author) from Florida on September 15, 2015:
I'm so glad you found this helpful!
XULA01 on August 31, 2015:
I am a first year 8th grade US History teacher and I use ideas from these lessons everyday...especially for bell ringers, groupwork and homework.
PooleSR on August 30, 2015:
Thank you so much for this post. I am interviewing for an international position that requires me to teach English and Social Studies. I have never considered teaching anything other than English, so this was great.
Shannon (author) from Florida on June 30, 2015:
Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful year!
XULA01 on June 30, 2015:
I'm a new teacher and I will be teaching 8th grade American History this year. I can't think of a better resource than what you've provided here. Thank you.
Shannon (author) from Florida on January 23, 2015:
Thank you so much!
Mary on January 17, 2015:
I teach English but you have been so helpful. I will refer newbies to your site. Thanks!!
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 23, 2014:
@amackey1688: Yes, the questions do make sense! I have the specific warm-up question I use for each lesson posted at the beginning of each of my lessons. I created some of them and got others from summer workshop materials. The questions always relate to what we will learn that day.
amackey1688 on July 23, 2014:
Hi- I had a quick question what sorts of items do you use for the warm up question? Is it just one question or multiple questions based off of a source? Also, does it follow the material you were teaching the day before or a preview of what you will go over that day. Hope those questions make sense :)
Shannon (author) from Florida on March 15, 2014:
@anonymous: Thank you!
anonymous on March 13, 2014:
I think I like these, it is indeed very interesting information, great lenses!
Shannon (author) from Florida on December 01, 2013:
@DbJaxn: I'm sorry to hear you've had a challenging year! I'm so happy you've found my lessons to be helpful! Hopefully the rest of your year will go a bit more smoothly.
DbJaxn on December 01, 2013:
Thank YOU!! I am a first year teacher at a Title 1 School. There is an entirely new staff this year with MANY first year teachers. The only thing worse than the test scores the past few years has been the discipline. I have no mentor in my building because there are no Social Studies master teachers and I have been working hard to "reinvent the wheel." I know it's late in the year, but I appreciate every bit of help I can get!! THANK YOU!!
Shannon (author) from Florida on October 03, 2013:
@cyndai: I'm so glad you've found my lessons to be helpful!
cyndai on September 28, 2013:
I'm a first year teacher in English and social studies, and I'm so grateful to read how you teach! Some of the things I already do, and others I am definitely going to be implementing to try out! Thank you again for sharing!
Shannon (author) from Florida on August 19, 2013:
@anonymous: You're welcome! Thank you for visiting! I'm glad you'll be able to use the lessons! I don't think the blue binders are produced anymore by TCI.
anonymous on August 18, 2013:
THANK YOU!!!! This is my 11th year teaching, but my 1st year teaching American History. I feel like I'm starting all over!!! Your lessons are helping me prepare for this upcoming year. I haven't found the History Alive! blue binders, but I have found some other resources, big yellow box, at my school. Again, THANK YOU for posting your lessons!
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 31, 2013:
@anonymous: I'm so glad you've found my lessons helpful! The binders are probably 20 years old and TCI stopped producing them years ago. I have no idea how to get them beyond contacting TCI and asking about them. They are a set of 5 big blue binders that are filled with activities and resources.
anonymous on July 30, 2013:
I am looking on Amazon and trying to find TCI's History Alive! United States History to 1900 binders; but I only see text books. I am guessing that what you have is some sort of teacher's edition? Do you have any idea where I could find what you have or do you know what the closest thing would be to what you have?
I have used several of your activities while teaching and my students love them. I found your website in the middle of the school year last year and now I am looking forward to using more of your ideas this year! Thank you so much for sharing!
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 15, 2013:
@anonymous: I'm so happy you've found my lesson plans to be helpful!
anonymous on July 15, 2013:
Thank you so much for the helpful tips. I've been teaching for 8 years, but every once in I receive an 8th grade class. This information is beyond helpful. Thank you for posting this and taking the time to put this together. Awesome!
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 03, 2013:
@anonymous: You're welcome! Thank you for visiting!
anonymous on July 02, 2013:
@anonymous: I'm in the same position! What a great resource...thanks so mcuh!
Shannon (author) from Florida on June 28, 2013:
@anonymous: You're welcome! I hope you have a blessed year!
anonymous on June 28, 2013:
I haven't taught 8th grade social studies in 20 yrs and am excited (and a little nervous) about getting back to it. THANK YOU for sharing so many valuable ideas and resources. I feel better already!
Shannon (author) from Florida on November 28, 2012:
@anonymous: I'm so glad this has helped!!!
anonymous on November 25, 2012:
This is a great resource and has rejuvenated me, a 9th grade World History teacher who is dealing with a great deal of apathy and that's not the students! Thanks
Shannon (author) from Florida on September 03, 2012:
@KimGiancaterino: Thank you so much!
KimGiancaterino on September 02, 2012:
Nice job ... your tutorials are always excellent.
Shannon (author) from Florida on August 31, 2012:
@anonymous: Thank you! I am a teacher and love it!
anonymous on August 31, 2012:
My goodness, I think you have a calling to be a teacher, if you aren't one already. :)
Shannon (author) from Florida on August 30, 2012:
@anonymous: Yikes! Hopefully you'll find this lens helpful! Have a blessed year!
anonymous on August 29, 2012:
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was just hired for my first year teaching - one week before school starts. I will need all the help I can get, and this info looks great!
Shannon (author) from Florida on August 10, 2012:
@dream1983: Thank you so much!
dream1983 on August 09, 2012:
I enjoy reading your lens, nicely done! thumbs up
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 13, 2012:
@lisa-h-trimble: I'm so glad this has been helpful!
lisa-h-trimble on July 12, 2012:
Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have been teaching for 12 years and I found several freshideas I can incorporate into my classroom. I also teach th grade U history! Thanks again!! :)
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 10, 2012:
@Virginia Allain: Thank you! I hope your niece will find my lessons and tips helpful!
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on July 10, 2012:
Terrific classroom tips. I'm posting this on facebook for my niece who's a middle school teacher. She will love it.
Shannon (author) from Florida on July 06, 2012:
@GregKuhn: I read your lens. It's very helpful! Thank you for sharing it!
GregKuhn on July 04, 2012:
Hello iijuan. I can tell by reading this lens that you were/are a wonderful teachers. I have taught history for many years and have also written a lens about teaching. It's all about great classroom discipline. Although you're home schooling now (and, hopefully, don't deal with "management" issues - ha, ha) I'd love it if you gave it a read and let me know what you think. Either way, thank you for this resource!
aSwellGuy on May 31, 2012:
anonymous on April 18, 2012:
Thank you so much for sharing. I am training to be a teacher for middle school history, this is a great resource and I look forward to using it.
Shannon (author) from Florida on March 08, 2012:
@pelagic: I had wonderful students! Unfortunately, many of them had not yet been trained to be very disciplined in studying. If notebooks left the classroom, many of them would have gotten lost.
pelagic on March 08, 2012:
That's an incredibly detailed description. I personally would not have benefited from such a structured class, but it sounds like you've got kids that are not great students -- the kind that view school as a burden rather than a privilege.
Why can't they take their notebooks out of class? I'd think at the 8th grade level they'd need those to study from.
jimmyworldstar on December 13, 2011:
Awesome, you seem like a great teacher. I like how you make it more interactive and playful by giving students the stuffed animal in order to speak and have them come up to the board.
anonymous on December 04, 2011:
A really informative lens for home schooling, you can see that you put a lot of effort into it
anonymous on September 01, 2011:
i love these lens
Shannon (author) from Florida on August 23, 2011:
@anonymous: My warm up questions, wrap ups, history questions of the week, and more are all listed with each individual lesson plan unit. Look at the side bar on the right hand side of this page where it says, "My Lesson Plan Book." Click on one of those lessons, and you'll see all the items you requested.
anonymous on August 23, 2011:
I would love it if you would list your warm up questions, wrap ups, & history questions of the week. PLEASE.
DianaHarper LM on July 26, 2011:
Makes me want to start tomorrow. Well, maybe the day after tomorrow. Liked. Facebook liked. Blessed by a Squid Angel.
marsha32 on May 31, 2011:
I see a lot of great ideas and information here. We jump all over the place with learning History. I've used all grade levels here and there, generally teaching all of the girls at once and they were all 5 years apart in age. Just the one daughter left at home now.
67Shelbygal on May 31, 2011:
Very helpful Lens. So much great information. Thanks. :)
I-sparkle on May 25, 2011:
Phenomenal lens. Bless you for continuing to use your extraordinary skill as a teacher. I appreciate the time and detail that you took to explain each exercise and material that you utilize. Great job.