Social Studies: On the Cutting Edge - Part 1

First of all, I'd like to apologize for letting so much time lapse since my last post. I have thoroughly been enjoying my summer vacation. =)

I attended a class this morning provided by our school district on Social Studies. The presenter discussed the five main principals of teaching Social Studies effectively which are as follows:

  • Meaningful - Standards based EQ's, visual & integrate local history/resources whenever possible
  • Values Based - appreciate similarities and differences, service learning opportunities & multiple perspective activities
  • Active - student to student interaction, primary sources & geography connections
  • Challenging - engage in inquiry/problem solving, responding orally/written & analyze documents
  • Integrative - use variety of materials, technology & literacy elements
She presented us with several activities for each one, but I am going to share just a few. After all, there must be something left for Part II.

1) "We Are What We Treasure!" - To help students understand the idea of artifacts at the beginning of the year, distribute manila envelopes with one artifact about you (the teacher) in each of them to the class. Have students work with a partner to describe the artifact in their envelope and discuss what story they think is behind the artifact. In other words, why is it important to me (the teacher)? After all students go through the artifacts, have them sort the artifacts. Then, students can discuss what they think an artifact is (an abjoect that tells a story about someone). Students will then bring in their own artifact with a story about them. Hopefully, they will dig deeper than their PS3's. Some strategies for sharing include:

  • artifact show
  • gallery walk
  • brochure
  • timeline
  • memory box
  • photo story
Another version of this is for you to place the artifacts around your classroom and have students find them and discuss why each one is important to you.

2) Country Scavenger Hunt - Distribute laminated world maps to each group and have students find 5 items all from different countries in the classroom. It could be their clothing, school supplies or anything else in the classroom. Have them locate those 5 countries and identify them with a sticker on their map. Once each group has located their countries, go through the classroom and have students share the countries they found. Mark all the countries listed on a class map. Once all locations have been marked, discuss which continent most of the items were made in. This is a great discussion to have about how goods are transported from place to place!

3) Match and Compare - Distribute half the class a picture of an invention from it's beginning and the other half the modern version of the invention. See if students can find their match in the classroom. Some will look similar and others will not. Some examples are (the iron, baby walker, stove, refrigerator, etc...) Have students list two similiarities and two differences about their inventions once they have found their match. This is a good activity to teach about comparing or introducing a unit on technology advances. This can be adapted to a variety of other topics.

  1. Explorers and their countries
  2. Regions and their names
  3. Documents and their origins (i.e. Declaration of Independence and the Revolution)
These are just a few examples and can be adapted in many ways.

More activities will be forth coming soon, so stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog while searching for some classroom ideas. I love your blog!


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