As Social Studies educators, we look at our job as preparing our students to be active and productive citizens once they leave the educational setting. Part of being productive citizens is learning to work with others and being able to think critically to solve problems. In our classroom, we need to provide our students the opportunity to develop and practice these important skills. We need to give them the opportunity to develop the necessary communication skills to work with others and the essential skills to solve problems that arise with determination and purpose.
As teachers we know we need to assess our students to determine their “grade” in our class, but is there a better way to do that? Are we assessing their ability to take the test we created or are we truly assessing if they learned the content that was taught?
There is a quote by Tony Robbins that resonates with me when teaching: “the path to success is to take massive determined actions.” As an educator, this gives me several things to think about and question during instructional planning.
As teachers, we all want a way to make history a fun and engaging subject for our students. We want them to grasp the historical events that we teach about with the same passion that we have when we are planning the lessons. As educators, we want them to hear all the amazing stories from the past that will help them understand their role in the world they live in today.
Think back to a moment when you as a student sat in a social studies class and struggled to spit out a memorized date of an important event your teacher said would be integral to remember. Were those moments as dreadful for you as they were for me?
Think back to when you were a young child, trying to connect the numbered or letter dots to figure out what the mystery image would be. You would carefully plot where the next line would go so the picture would come out just right. Using essential questions is very much like that dot puzzle, trying to figure out what the major piece of the mystery concept is. As teachers, our job is to help develop questioning skills in our students so they can successfully uncover the hidden picture, to help them develop the skills of inquiry to fit all the pieces of the lesson together.