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How to Teach History in Middle School

Please welcome Emily from E is for Education to the blog today! She is not only a 6th grade teacher, but she is also my sister! 🥰

She’s sharing her ideas on how to teach history in middle school in a fun and interesting way!

How to Teach History in an Interesting Way

Growing up, I wasn’t too keen on learning science and history. The subjects were dull and not engaging. When getting my own classroom, I promised myself that I would make it interactive and fun for my students!

Here are 3 Fun Ways to Teach History

  1. Students need time for inquiry!
  • Giving students an opportunity to ask thought provoking questions is crucial in keeping them engaged in their learning.
  • Not only should they be asking YOU questions, but they should be asking one another and having time to quietly think on their own, write down their response, and then get with a partner and share out their answers. Encourage them to add to their answer after they have gained more knowledge when meeting with a peer.
Stone Age History

2. Let students respond to one another!

  • Believe it or not, you do not always have to be the one giving them the answer. Students should be given opportunities to respond to their peers’ questions.
  • In 6th grade we do a lot of argument essays and debates during ELA, but that does not mean it can’t be carried over into social studies or science! Have students use sentence starters and model what it would look like.  Allow them to start the conversation with one another. Try things like “What about when…” or “This sounds like…” or “I strongly believe…”
  • Take turns! I even use a microphone or throw a “talking” stick around to make sure that everyone who wants to have a chance to speak can do so without interruption.
  • I often include these discussion questions right into our classroom notes like the one below:
Babylonian Empire Lesson

3. Track student learning and put it on display!

  • Use a chart paper to track their questions. I put it on display to show students that there are still gaps of information we are still curious about! Use that curiosity to your advantage! Have them research on their own to find the answers they are looking for.
  • When someone has found the answer to the question on the chart paper, have students write it on a post it note and paste it on the chart paper!
  • The great thing about this is that you can add to this throughout the unit and check off the ones you’ve already answered as a class! Think of it as an on-going KWL chart that they can reference and look back on throughout the unit.
  • This one is FREE in my store! 🎉
Kingdom of Kush Lesson

My PowerPoint slides and guided student notes are a great way to make ancient history come alive! I taught virtually all year last year and I needed all my products to adapt to the change. I also included Google compatible versions of all the products!   

P.S. I’ve used my lessons when being observed and I got my highest rating, not because of what I did, but because of what the students did! They were incredibly engaged, asked one another thought provoking questions, sang along with the videos, and had fun learning! You too can make students love learning!

My name is Emily and I am going into my 5th year of teaching 6th grade. I work in a k-6 elementary school, so I teach ALL the subjects but my TpT store focuses primarily on ancient history, earth science, and classroom decor! Follow me on TpT for some amazing classroom resources!

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How to teach history in a fun way
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