Kay Gandy

Use the Little Red Hen to Teach Service Learning in Elementary Social Studies

January 4, 2022 By Kay Gandy

The Little Red Hen folktale has generally been read to exhort children to work hard, accept responsibility, and share with others.

Iconography and Culture: Using Monuments and Memorials to Teach Elementary Social Studies

December 29, 2021 By Kay Gandy

In most communities, memorials, plaques, historical markers, and monuments are erected to record significant events or honor heroes and heroines.

How to Teach the Mayan Culture Using Essential Questions

December 23, 2021 By Kay Gandy

The Maya were one of the most dominant societies in Mesoamerica, settling throughout Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and the Yucatán. They excelled at astronomy, calendar systems, hieroglyphic writing, and mathematics. They were also skilled farmers, weavers, and potters.

The golden age of the Maya empire began around A.D. 250 and grew to some forty cities. The Maya made paper from tree bark, wrote books, created a ball game, developed the concept of zero, predicted eclipses of the sun and moon, and invented rubberized rain clothing. The study of this civilization would enhance any social studies class. 

Using Everyday Surroundings to Teach Young Learners Geography

November 12, 2021 By Kay Gandy

Children need to learn the beauty of the natural world before they become interested in saving it. Young children learn through their senses and experiences. In an everyday walk, children can learn how the weather changes, how people interact with the environment, how things move, and the characteristics of a place. Parents and teachers can help children learn the basis for geographic knowledge in everyday experiences. The following recommendations can be used as inspiration during a field trip or for parents to utilize for a fun outdoor activity.

Teaching the Election Process With Essential Questions

October 28, 2021 By Kay Gandy

An election year provides the perfect opportunity for teachers to incorporate civics into the curriculum. Through the election process, teachers can implement citizenship lessons and at the same time provide a model for the democratic system in the classroom. Although these lessons can be taught anytime, I believe they work best in an election year—whether it be the year of a presidential, congressional, or even school district election. The culminating activity allows teachers to parallel the election process with the election of class officers.

Social Studies Never Tasted So Good

October 26, 2021 By Kay Gandy

When I taught first grade, a small grant allowed me to get funding to buy a hot plate, griddle, measuring utensils, pots, knives, bowls, cutting boards, and other necessities to introduce my students to flavors and aromas unknown to their senses. However, we not only ate the food but also used the food for tactile learning experiences and learning social studies content. It was a unique teaching experience for me and allowed my students to compare and contrast various cultures through food.

Using Cinderella to Teach How History and Culture Change Over Time

October 12, 2021 By Kay Gandy

The story of Cinderella is a timeless tale including elements of magic, misfortune, love, and the universal struggle of good versus evil. The themes from the story appear in the folklore of many cultures.

Oracle Bones and Writing Stones: Teaching the Geography of Script

September 28, 2021 By Kay Gandy

The diffusion of writing systems or materials was often determined by religion, politics, or economics. For example, the Latin script used to write the doctrines of Roman Catholicism and the Arabic script used to write the Koran were instrumental in diffusing writings and languages throughout the world.

Understanding Public Lands as a Way to Teach Geography

September 16, 2021 By Kay Gandy

The public lands of the United States cover more than six hundred million acres and include national parks, national seashores, national wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, national forests, monuments, select lakes and seashores, underground mineral reserves, marine sanctuaries, historic and scenic trails, and national grasslands.

Teaching Geography and Culture Through Origin Stories and Myths

August 31, 2021 By Kay Gandy

Why am I here? Where do I come from? Who am I? Questions like these are answered in part through stories handed from one generation to another. Civilizations from the past tried to explain the changing of seasons, objects in the sky, and the facts of life and death through the natural environment in which they lived. Ancient Chinese, for example, believed that daylight was provided by one of ten sunbirds taking its turn across the sky, while Ancient Egyptians imagined that a giant beetle pushed the round sun across the heavens.