If you could take your students on a field trip anywhere, where would you go? What kinds of things would you like them to see or to learn on this quest?
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.
The twentieth anniversary of September 11, 2001, is this year, and although it is a sensitive topic to teach, coming together as a class to commemorate the event can lead to profound learning and impactful lessons in unity and empathy. Because September 11 is lived history, meaning that many educators today lived through the events and may have even lost family or friends to the tragedy, it requires immense consideration and responsibility to teach the topic to today’s youth.
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.
When I ask students to read in my social studies classes, I always assign a customized reading guide created especially for the assigned text. The reading assignments may be textbook chapters, primary source texts, news articles, or even selections of relevant fiction. Many “generic” reading guides are available, but taking extra time to create a reading customized to a text as well as the larger lesson and unit objectives results in higher-level learning.
What are some best practices in social studies that teachers can apply to the classroom this upcoming school year?
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.
May marks Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which is a time to celebrate the specific achievements made by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout history.
Social studies encompasses several dynamics that affect daily student learning. Through the variety of social studies disciplines, students are taught how to become effectual change agents for the betterment of our society through learning complex histories, civic standards, and geographic understanding of the world around them.
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.