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Posts tagged ‘contemporary issues’

Making connections to the real world

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

4 sites that support argumentative literacy, debates, and controversial topics

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

50 Ways to Teach with Current Events

Back in the day – seriously . . . way back in the day – during my 8th grade US history teaching days, I worked very hard to include at least some sort of current event activity every week. Some days it was me highlighting an interesting event or article that related to our content. Another day might be a student asking a question about a particular topic. On a great day, it was both – connecting past events with current topics that were relevant and engaging for my students.

I think we all agree that connecting past and present is a big deal. Something that we need to be more intentional about doing. More and more standard documents, my state included, require linking instruction and learning to “contemporary issues.”

But it can be difficult at times making those connections. One great way to integrate current events into the classroom is to use the New York Times Learning Network. Great resources, ideas, materials, and suggestions every day.

And a semi-recent article from the Network provides some very specific ideas of what this can look like. Read more