What happened to “ODWM”?

This week, we'll be replacing one of our US history songs with two new songs on Flocabulary.com. ODWM with be swapped out for two new units: Indian Removal and Jefferson vs Hamilton. This isn't the first time we've swapped out a song. In the case of our US constitution song for instance, we felt the original track wasn't up to our musical and lyrical standards. We're replacing ODWM for different reasons: because a few of our lines were being interpreted in ways that we didn't intend. Two lines in particular were often misunderstood. The first misunderstood line was: "We're talking…

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Teaching History Backwards

It might get you fired; it might help your kids. When it comes to teaching history, the vast majority of educators favor a linear approach: We start at the beginning and move slowly forward. Eventually we end up in the present. We exhale and tell our students, "And that is why the world is the way it is." A better method, some teachers argue, is to start with the present and move backwards. It's a controversial approach that has led to at least one teacher being fired. But advocates argue that it makes a lot of sense. Here's why: 1.…

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3 Questions with An Amazing Educator

When we went down to do some professional development and student workshops in Clinton, North Carolina, we met some amazing people. One of the standouts is an educator named Tonya Hannah. Tonya has taught U.S. History and Social Studies in middle and high school. As soon as we met her, we knew we wanted to interview her and share her insights with the world. Enjoy! 1. What has been the most effective technique you've used in the classroom? The most effective technique I’ve used in my classroom is a survey that I give my students the first day of class. …

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How to run your class like a well-oiled machine

We all know the importance of effective teaching. We know effective teachers raise their students' test scores, boost their self-worth, and inspire them to become open-minded students and good people. But what makes an effective teacher? A potent combination of precise classroom management and content-area knowledge. So says a recent article in the New York Times Magazine. The article details the work of Doug Lemov, an educator who set out to study America's best teachers. He distilled his observations into 49 techniques that teachers can use to run effective classrooms. Here are a few, paraphrased. 1. Precise Praise The idea…

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  • February 17, 2010

4 Questions with Dillon Maurer

Flocabulary artist Dillon Maurer has two passions: music and food. So when Dillon isn’t writing and recording songs for Flocabulary or tutoring students in Atlanta, you can find him in the kitchen, whipping up some breakfast burritos or fried green tomatoes. We put Dillon through our 4 question interview to see what he had to say about inspiration, education, humility and, of course, food. 1. What inspires you as an artist? It sounds a little trite, but I'm truly inspired by life itself. I believe we are all artists, no matter what our craft, so for me, I'm just trying…

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