Kay Gandy

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.

Teaching Cajun and Creole Culture through Folktales

June 3, 2021 By Kay Gandy

There is a direct relationship between culture and folktales. The tales reflect the everyday life of a people. Creole and Cajun tales have been passed down orally for many generations, but some have been collected and published. Both Cajun and Creole people in Louisiana have stories which can be used in the classroom to develop an awareness and understanding of their respective cultures.

Teaching about the American West: Vaqueros

May 6, 2021 By Kay Gandy

Cowboys are found in many countries around the world. In Chile, they are called huasos, in Argentina gauchos, in Australia jackeroos, and in Venezuela llaneros. The original cowboys in North America were Spanish and were called vaqueros. They were very skilled in driving and handling the long-horned cattle that they introduced to on the continent in the seventeenth century. As with the black cowboys, Mexican cowboys also faced discrimination, earning less pay and being prevented from advancing to foreman or trail boss.

Teaching about the American West: Cowgirls

May 4, 2021 By Kay Gandy

While their urban counterparts were restricted to more traditional female roles in the late 1800’s, women of the American West were roping and riding broncs. The term “cowgirl” first appeared in print by the early 1890s. Daughters of pioneer ranchers grew up riding and roping along with their brothers because on small ranches, everyone helped with the cattle. Attitudes of the day deemed it improper for a woman to dress and ride like a man, so many women wore full skirts and rode sidesaddle. During the Wild West shows, women first appeared as competitors with women like sharpshooter Annie Oakley, bronc rider Bertha Blancett, and steer-roper Mabel Strickland.