Tag Archives: social studies

10 Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom

Think there’s no need for sepia-toned filters and hashtags in your classroom? Don’t write off the world of #selfies just yet.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels among generation Z, or those born after 1995 and don’t know a world without the Internet. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this is a generation of visual learners and communicators, where sharing your life-from the food you’re about to eat to your thoughts about anything and everything-is a part of your everyday routine. So, why allow Instagram in your classroom? Continue reading

Mapping Columbus’s First Voyage

Our YA novel Hammer of Witches is a historical fantasy that follows young Baltasar Infante as he inadvertently finds himself part of Columbus’s first westward journey. In this post, our intern Andres Oliver looks at some of the places Columbus and Baltasar pass through, then and now.

Baltasar Infante’s quest to find his father carries him along with Columbus from the shores of Spain to the New World. We first meet Baltasar in the Spanish port town of Palos de la Frontera, whose scent of “seaweed and ale…smell of home” to the young protagonist (Hammer of Witches 19). Located in the Andalusian province of Huelva, the present-day Palos may smell different altogether; the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and recent construction of docks to shelter the port of Huelva have brought the town further inland.

Replicas of the Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria docked in Palos de la Frontera, Spain
Replicas of the Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria docked in Palos de la Frontera, Spain

Though the town has moved, visitors will still find many of the vestiges of the historical port city where Columbus began his journey. Attractions include the fifteenth-century church of San Jorge, where Columbus and his crew heard mass before departure, and La Fontanilla, a medieval well where they took on water. Furthermore, the town features a monument to the enterprising Pinzón brothers (who also play a part in Hammer of Witches) and a monolith engraved with the names of the seventy sailors who set sail from Palos is 1492.

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One More Sensational Summer Read Aloud!

For the last installment in our series on Sensational Summer Read Alouds, literacy expert Jaclyn DeForge shares one final title that has a high student-interest level, can be used to hit multiple Common Core learning standards, and is super rich in terms of content, just like A Full Moon is Rising and Silent Star.

Balarama: A Royal ElephantToday’s Pick: Balarama: A Royal Elephant

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Another Sensational Summer Read Aloud!

For the next installment in our series on Sensational Summer Read Alouds, here’s another title that has a high student-interest level, can be used to hit multiple Common Core learning standards, and is super rich in terms of content.

A Full Moon is RisingToday’s  Pick: A Full Moon is Rising 

Written and Illustrated by: Marilyn Singer

Genre: poetry & informational text

Hook: Your homework: stay up late and look up at the night sky.

COMPREHENSION CONNECTION

It’s almost as if Marilyn Singer anticipated the Common Core when she wrote this collection, which is probably why Book Links named it one of their 2011 Lasting Connections titles. The poetry can definitely be used to teach some key literature standards, but the content is so clearly science and social studies related! She also includes amazing maps and an incredibly informative “About the Poems” section that gives further information about the content covered in each poem.

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