For years, experienced social studies teachers have been asking kids to solve problems using evidence. Teaching them to practice historical thinking skills to analyze primary and secondary sources. Training them to evaluate evidence. To create arguments using that evidence.
This sort of instruction and learning wasn’t always officially encouraged. Great teachers did it because they knew it was good for kids. But our recently created state standards, the Common Core Literacy standards, and the NCSS Framework all now support this kind of quality teaching. Historical thinking skills are cool again.
And that’s a good thing. But . . . Read more
Last night I had the opportunity to listen to John Stokes recount his experience as an early civil rights activist. Long story short?
In 1951, John was a high school senior at Moton High School in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Upset with the unequal educational facilities that existed as part of Jim Crow, he and other students staged a walkout and strike that later became part of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case. His account of that period and the connections Mr. Stokes made to the present was amazing, frightening, engaging, and compelling all at the same time.
And this afternoon, I had the chance to sit together with about 2000 other social studies teachers listening to Georgia Representative John Lewis talk about the events described in his graphic novel March.
So it’s very appropriate after hearing from these two Civil Rights heroes to participate in a conversation about Critical Race Theory and how we can use it to support class discussions of race / racism. Lauren Meyer from Yale is sharing “little nuggets” that teachers can use to integrate the topic as part of their instruction.
What is Critical Race Theory? Read more
I’m spending the day at the KSDE Impact Institute – loving the learning and connecting with teachers from around the state. This afternoon has been spent nerding out with Kim Wahaus, awesome Olathe South HS government teacher. We talked about a ton of stuff but my walkaway?
That as social studies teachers, we need to be deliberate about connecting our social studies content and process with the lives of our students.
Nothing new for most of you, I know. But it was a good reminder of how important this idea really is.
Real world connections are used to help students see that learning is not confined to the school, allows them to apply knowledge and skills in real world situations, and personalizes learning to increase and sustain student engagement.
Kim shared some ideas of what that sort of conversation might look like. She started by showing a New York Times Learning Network clip highlighting the timeline of the recent Orlando shooting. Ask kids to use this clip and article to collect basic information.
Five W’s and H – who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Then she suggests showing a clip from the TV show Read more
Next week, I’ll be spending time with a group of teachers as we discuss ways to support reading and writing in the social studies. Specifically, strategies for creating formative feedback opportunities that support argumentative and persuasive writing.
And what better way than by using contemporary issues tied to historical events?
A middle school teacher might use the exodus of unemployed from Detroit between 2008 and 2015 as a way to talk about why families moved to the American West during the mid to late 1800s. A high school teacher might use the Nuremberg Laws in 1930s Germany to highlight current immigration conversations. Perhaps a teacher might use laws such as the Kansas Act of 1940 and the House Concurrent Resolution 108 of 1953 to guide student thinking into 21st century discussions on race in the US and around the world.
But it’s always nice to have a little help. So plan to check out these four sites that provide resources and ideas that can help you as you delve into contemporary issues. Read more
We have two very simple unbendable, unbreakable rules in our house. No Christmas music allowed before Thanksgiving. No talking about school before August.
It’s August. So . . . we’re talking about school.
If you’re not already at school, you’re heading there soon.
You probably already knew that. And you probably already have some idea of what you and your students will be doing during the first few days of school. But it’s always nice to have a few extra tips and tricks in your bookbag to start off the school year.
So today? The sixth annual Back to School Ideas in a Social Studies Classroom post. Use what you can. Adapt what you can’t. Add your own ideas in the comments.
What not to do
Before we get to the good stuff it’s probably a good idea to think about what doesn’t work. Read more