Teaching History with a Box

Teaching history with a tissue box assists in reinforcement of knowledge, facts, and ideas in any history subject area or concept. Using a readily available cubed tissue box provides endless possibilities for teaching and learning history. Students use critical thinking skills as they learn to research, ask questions, and develop a better understanding of historical events.

The advantage of using cubed tissue boxes in math is twofold. First, tissues are a necessary item in classrooms and using empty tissue boxes supports recycling. Second, the shape allows for stacking boxes to make connections within a time period or with other time periods in history.

How to Use Boxes for Mathematics

Since tissue boxes are a cube, their six sided shape provides a uniform size and shape for displaying information. Students prepare their work using construction paper, word processing programs, maps, art/paint programs, or other materials for attachment to the history box. Students glue their completed materials to the appropriate side of the tissue box.

It is important to allow students to be creative, while being historically correct.

The following are recommended uses for each side of the six sides of a tissue box. Students select which side of the tissue box is the top.

  • Top: The historical event which the box is focused.
  • Bottom: Student name and resources used in research of the historical event.
  • Side 1: A brief description, including facts about the historical event.
  • Side 2: A visual arts representation of the historical event; such as a diagram, pictures, collage, etc.
  • Side 3: Pictures of how the historical event is viewed today.
  • Side 4: How the historical event is connected to with other subjects; such as other math areas, science, history, etc.

Teaching science with a box and teaching math with a box provides examples how this strategy is used in science and math, along with how to make connections with other subjects.

Sample Use of a History Box

U.S. Civil War 1861- 1865 (MS/HS)

Students are assigned or allowed to select a specific battle or military event that occurred during the civil war. An example:

  • Top: Battle of Antietam
  • Bottom: Student name, textbook, Encyclopedia Britannica, and the website Antietam National Battlefield – National Park Service (also the URL).
  • Side 1: The bloodiest one day battle in U.S. Military history. Over 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. Gen. Robert E. Lee had moved his troops into Maryland with an eye on capturing Washington, D.C. His army was stopped by Union troops under Gen. George B. McClellan. The next day, September 18, the opposing armies gathered their wounded and buried their dead. That night Lee’s army withdrew back across the Potomac to Virginia, ending Lee’s first invasion of the North. Following the battle, Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Side 2: Student provides a simple map of the positions of the Union and Confederate forces at the beginning of the battle around Antietam Creek.
  • Side 3: Student provides copies of properly cited pictures of the Antietam battlefield today.
  • Side 4: The terrain (Geology) of the battle field accounted for many of the high casualty areas, such as bloody lane. The temperature (Science) was in the middle 70s during the battle and humid.

Completed civil war battle boxes are arranged in the classroom according to historical timeline order.

Other Sample Uses of History Boxes

Formation of the United States 1776-1789 (Upper E/MS/HS)

  • Students are assigned or allowed to select a historical event that occurred during this time period. In middle and high school, there are enough historical events during this time period that there are no repeat historical events. All history boxes are displayed in the classroom in accordance with the date of the event during this time period.

Rise of Industrialization 1865-1890 (Upper E/MS/HS)

  • Students are assigned or allowed to select a historical event that occurred during this time period. In middle and high school, just like the Formation of the United States, there are enough events in this period to eliminate duplicate events and final products are displayed in the same manner.

Making Connections

Through the completion of these history boxes, students develop a better understanding of the relationship between historical events. It is important for students to internalize how these historical events impacted with other events or were dependent on other events. The cause and effect of historical events are more visual and concrete through this hands-on learning project.

Teach Students How to Think

When teaching a lesson, it is important that students be actively thinking in order to learn the material and connect it to their lives. Therefore, it is also important that teachers teach students how to think. There are four levels of thought for any given lesson: evaluation, synthesis, analysis and application. Learning how to incorporate these four levels of thought in a lesson plan will help every lesson be successful.

First Level of Thought: Evaluation of Information

The evaluation thought process for any lesson is the beginning building blocks for higher level thought. Skills that involve evaluation thinking include deciding, ranking, defending, verifying and critiquing. This is a basic level of thought that simply looks at the information for what it is. Reading about information, collecting some research on a topic and understanding the basics of the topic involve evaluation.

Connecting Information to Prior Knowledge: Synthesis of Information

To synthesize information, students must go beyond the basic information and do something with the knowledge. Students should use prior knowledge to connect to new knowledge during this synthesizing thought process. Some things that require a synthesis thought process include hypothesizing, inferring, predicting, imagining, estimating and inventing.

Teaching Students to Analyze Information

Analyzing information takes student thought to another level, requiring them to understand the basic information, connect it to their lives through synthesis and then extend that information to additional information. Activities that require students to use analysis include compare/contrast, creating an anthology, classifying information and sequencing information.

Application of Information to Student’s Life

The final level of thought that all teachers should strive to have their students achieve is that of application. To apply information learned to a new situation requires the highest level thought and understanding. Students who are capable of demonstrating, illustrating, generalizing or showing how to do something have effectively achieved this level of thought and understanding.

Using Levels of Thought For an Effective Lesson Plan

By incorporating each level of thought in a single lesson plan, any teacher will be able to ensure student learning. With only rare exceptions, lessons should be split into four sections, with an activity devoted to build each level of thought independently. Not taking the time to achieve the highest thought levels will result in partially learned material that may or may not stick with students and have any impact upon their lives.

Teachers should ensure that each lesson they teach includes a basic focus on each of four different levels of thought. Starting with an introduction, students will be required to utilize evaluation thought. Next, students should be encouraged to connect new knowledge to previous knowledge through synthesis. Deepening understanding comes through analysis and finally, students apply new knowledge to future experiences through application.

Free Sample Letter of Resignation

For some people, a letter of resignation is one of the most challenging types of correspondence to write. This is because the letter must strike a balance between professional and personal. The letter must be professional in nature, yet still convey a personalized message that may be charged with emotion, depending on the parties involved.

Giving Notice of Resignation? How to Quit Your Job Gracefully

A written notice of resignation serves more than one purpose. Most importantly, this letter serves as official notice of the intent to leave the company. Firmly establishing the last day of work may be important for insurance purposes and company benefits (like the exact amount of accrued vacation to be paid out).

Resignation Format Not as Important as Content

A written letter of resignation becomes especially important if tension exists between the employer (or management) and employee. A difficult boss could make the process of leaving a job difficult; in the absence of a written letter, he or she could simply deny that an employee ever gave advance notice of the intent to leave. If any difficulties like this are anticipated, it would be a good idea to provide the letter of resignation to more than one person.

It’s important not to get caught up in the formatting of the letter (see the free sample letter of resignation template below for help with that); what really matters is that the resignation letter leaves management with a good feeling about the departure.

Quit Your Job Positively – Leaving a Job Should be Uneventful

Even if no problems are anticipated, it is simply good taste and very professional to write a formal letter of resignation to an employer. Here are some tips for crafting a professional, respectful letter of resignation:

Maintain a somber, yet positive tone. Say positive things about experiences at the company.
Don’t burn bridges by saying anything negative about the company. The new job may not turn out exactly as expected, and a return to the original company may be desired at some point.
Try not to single out any one person as a reason for leaving. This news can spread around, and even though it may not seem important at the time, that person may be in a position to get revenge in the future.

Free Example Letter of Resignation Template

Below is an example resignation letter template that briefly states the individual’s reasons for leaving the company in a positive manner.

(Insert date and address block)

Dear Manager,

I regret to inform you that I will be leaving the company two weeks from today, on X date. I truly enjoyed working here, getting to know everyone, and working on X projects during my tenure at X company. The position I have found will give me greater time off flexibility (or replace this explanation with another politically correct reason for leaving).

I feel honored to have worked at this company and will greatly miss the camaraderie shared among the work group.


(Insert four spaces to allow for a signature)

John Job Quitter

How to Customize the Sample Letter of Resignation Above

To customize the preceding sample letter of resignation, replace any references to “X” with exact dates or names and insert information as noted in parenthesis. Notes in parenthesis are for reference only; delete these in the actual letter.

Don’t Say “I Hate My Job” in Letter of Resignation Wording

Even if the resignation is not an amicable one, try to find a positive way to state the reason for leaving. Stick to factual, positive statements. Resist the urge to say something like, “I hate my job.” For instance, use neutral reasons like “the new company location will reduce my commuting time by one hour per day” or “I am joining this other company because it affords me the opportunity to work in an exciting field.”

Resign from Job Properly – Use Resignation Letter Template Above

When someone resigns from a company, it’s always a good idea to provide a written notice of resignation. Use the tips and resignation template in this article to draft a unique letter of resignation that leaves a good impression on the company being left behind.

5 More Tips for Writing Resumes

Employers may see hundreds of resumes every day, so applicants should make every effort to write resumes that set them apart. Using the techniques below can help punch up an otherwise dull, forgettable resume.

Keep it Formal

Resumes are formal documents that require formal language. Using idioms, jargon, or slang in a resume presents an unprofessional image that most employers frown upon. Using conversational language, personal pronouns (I, me, you), or contractions (didn’t, aren’t) are also too informal for use in a good resume.

Use Formatting That Works

A resume is a brief list of education, skills, and work experiences that employers leaf through relatively quickly before making a decision on whether the applicant submitting it should be considered for a position. It should be concise and easy to read, or else it runs the risk of being tossed aside, never to be reviewed again. Resume writers should include only the most important details and make adequate use of white space so that employers are not bogged down by heavy text and too much information. Clear headings, bullet points, and simple fonts direct the eye down the page and help emphasize relevant information.

Include Numbers and Data

Numbers and data are another way to show what job applicants have done in concrete terms. If a job applicant managed a retail store that sold $1 million in clothing and accessories per year, he should include the sales volume in his resume. Including numbers not only helps quantify the responsibility that each previous position required, but also shows the employer that the applicant pays attention to both the big picture and the details of his work.

Stick To Active Language

Resumes that use repetitive, passive language are boring to read and do not catch the attention of potential employers. Instead of listing “Used spreadsheets to record monthly sales” as a previous job responsibility, an applicant could more actively say, “Increased monthly sales volume by tracking successful selling methods.” Not only does this rewording sound more active, but it also emphasizes the way the responsibility of recording sales matters for the employer.

Get a Second Opinion

After proofreading at least twice, an applicant should show his resume to a friend, colleague, or, if possible, someone in the field he is hoping to enter. Fresh eyes are quicker to catch errors and inconsistency, and readers can offer insight that resume writers might never have thought of themselves. Applicants should always be careful with whom they accept advice from, though – someone who never held a job that pays over minimum wage might not have the experience to comment on a resume for a senior management position.

How New Teachers Can Manage a Classroom

Dealing with discipline problems is part of effective classroom management. Every new teacher needs a classroom management plan that will lead to a positive learning atmosphere. An effective management plan should be in place before any teaching can take place. Often, discipline problems happen because a new teacher lacks confidence in one or more areas of his/her ability to successfully manage a classroom.

While there is no single best practice or method for managing a classroom, experts agree on a handful of guidelines: teachers must be consistent in their message and consequences, lay a strong foundation of expectations early in the school year, follow through with promised punishments when students misbehave and stay on track without giving into distractions.

Have a Consistent Message and Consequences

Students must understand first that teachers care about them, but that teachers mean what they say. For example, if teachers say the next person who talks in class will be required to do an extra homework assignment, teachers can find themselves in trouble if someone talks and they don’t give them an extra homework assignment.

When teachers communicate the consequences clearly, students know how their classroom is run and therefore, they feel safe. Simply put, students won’t challenge a new teacher’s authority because they won’t need to.

Have a Strong Foundation of Expectations

An effective classroom management plan needs simple systems to help students become more self-directed in their learning and behavior. Teachers should set up expectations for success so students always know exactly what to do for every task, rule and procedure. All throughout the year, teachers should teach and reinforce those rules and procedures consistently.

Students learn better when they know what is expected of them. In the beginning of the school year, teachers should spend much more time reinforcing rules and procedures than on actual teaching. This also means teaching rules and procedures as deliberately and thoroughly as academic content for the remainder of the school year.

Have a Plan to Follow Through With Promised Punishments

If teachers don’t follow through with promised punishments, larger problems will arise. So from day one, misbehavior should be deal with quickly. Teachers should determine a range of consequences (maximum of five) and always begin with a warning. Teachers should state the consequences in clear and specific terms so that students will know what type of punishment they can expect if they break a rule. Teachers should relate the consequences to the rule as directly as possible.

For new teachers, the challenge is always how to implement all three systems so that classroom management runs most effectively. Controlling a classroom isn’t easy, but with simple systems, new teachers will have an easier time managing student behavior while promoting a more cooperative learning environment.

Preparation for Teaching in Urban Schools

Most teachers receive some form of training before they enter their own classroom to practice as a full-time educator. In a study of teacher preparation programs in “Surveying the Landscape of Teacher Training in New York City,” two basic types of teacher preparation were described:

1) early entry –students begin full-time teaching before having completed all their certification requirements and

2) college recommending – require student-teaching after the majority of preparation has been completed.

As a result of the need to place teachers in hard-to-staff schools and stimulus from the federal policies No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, there has been an increase in the proliferation of early entry teacher preparation programs because they provide a needed resource in such schools.

Debate on Teacher Preparation

There is a debate as to whether teachers need the kind of preparation offered by college recommending programs. Those who oppose this form of preparation advocate for alternative certification through programs such as Teach For America. They argue that state requirements for licensure are too rigid and prevent otherwise capable instructors from being able to work in schools who need them. They advocate for deregulation and the end of state-sponsored licensure.

Proponents of college recommending preparation argue that teaching requires preparation that can respond to the rigorous demands of the contemporary classroom, which becomes more complex if that classroom is in an urban context.

They describe what the contemporary teacher needs to know before entering the classroom, which includes knowledge, skills, and dispositions for teaching. More specifically, proponents argue that teachers must know about learners, know how to connect curriculum to the wider purposes of education, and use assessment to understand learners and respond appropriately to their learning needs.

Vagle, in “Searching for a Prophetic, Tactful Pedagogy: An attempt to Deepen the Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions Discourse Around Good Teaching,” extended these notions to include the concept of a ‘prophetic tactful pedagogue’ who sees teaching as a way of life, is perceptive of their students’ lives and responds accordingly, who deliberates vicariously to create meaningful spaces for children to learn, and who recognizes and responds to pedagogical moments when the teacher is called upon to provide direction and care.

Urban Schools

The urban context has implications for schooling. Many writers make a note of the distinguishing features of urban schools. Weis describes urban schools in Urban Teaching: The Essentials as places that operate with large ineffective bureaucracies, lack the needed funds to properly educate the children they serve, and have high levels of diversity.

Others have further delineated the unique aspects of the urban schools and these include high population density, profound income disparity, high levels of student, teacher, and administrator mobility, and student populations likely to have health problems.

Because these distinctively urban traits impact student learning, many researchers argue that the education provided here must address these matters. For example, Solomon wrote “Ideally, urban education provides a curriculum and pedagogy that increases the life opportunities and the practice of responsible citizenship of those residing in urban communities…To accomplish this, however, requires a teacher preparation that moves beyond subject instruction, beyond the images of urban schools as dangerous and foreboding places, to focus more on the larger social, economic, and political structures that maintain urban communities in marginal, inequitable existence.”

Thus the specific issues presented in the urban setting necessitate a specific form of teacher preparation. Researchers have found that teachers with early entry preparation are less effective in raising student achievement in urban schools than those with more preparation.

Teacher Training Makes a Difference

Does teacher preparation, which indicates the route by which teachers enter urban school classrooms, make a difference? Research leans toward the idea that teacher preparation absolutely makes a difference because it may or may not give future instructors the training and practice needed to work in urban schools. Teachers in urban schools need knowledge, skills, and dispositions that work best with high-need students, but they also need to be prophetic, tactful pedagogues to be effective in this unique context.