Stay up to date

Subscribe to our blog

Planning Through the Lens of the Black Historical Consciousness Principles: Black Agency, Resistance, and Perseverance

In his article “Black History Is Not American History,” which focuses on teaching Black history from a Black historical consciousness approach, Dr. LaGarrett King defines his second theme, Black agency, resistance ,and perseverance, as “Black histories that explain that although Black people have been victimized, they were not helpless victims.” This theme highlights ways that Black people have actively resisted oppression, both independently and collectively.

Planning Through the Lens of the Black Historical Consciousness Principles: Power and Oppression

The study of Black history (and ethnic studies more broadly) is rooted in a critical consciousness. Cultivating a “critical consciousness” in teachers and students is important in the development and delivering of ethnic-studies-based course material and lessons. Critical consciousness can be defined as “the ability to recognize and analyze systems of inequality and the commitment to take action against these systems.”

According to Paulo Freire (author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed), developing such consciousness is “what allows people to act—or in this instance, teach—for the humanization of society.” The Black historical consciousness principles help both students and teachers develop a critical consciousness applied to Black history, past and present.

Introducing Primary and Secondary Sources in the Elementary Classroom

February 12, 2022 By Melissa Knowles

You are never too young to hold onto a piece of history and discover its connection to your life. Using primary and secondary sources gives students an opportunity to see, touch, and find clues about the history they are learning. These sources bring the past to life in a way that nothing else can.

The Roaring 1920s: Was Every Woman a Flapper?

February 2, 2022 By Cynthia Resor

Flappers from the 1920s are described as young women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, and danced, smoked, drank illegal alcohol, and partied throughout the Roaring Twenties. These brief descriptions in history curriculum materials paint a one-sided picture of how changes in fashion and behavior are outward signs of a much longer and more interesting story of social change.

Student-Based Inquiry: Questions Are the New Answers

January 31, 2022 By Joe Schmidt

How can you focus on ways to assess your students based on the questions that they ask as opposed to the answers that they give you?

Visual Literacy 101: What's in a Picture?

January 27, 2022 By Robin Sabo

As a geography teacher, I often started the year with a lesson about how to lie with maps. In this lesson, I would expose the students to challenges with map distortions, like the Mercator map making Greenland appear to be the same size as all of South America, how changes in scale impact perception, or how colors can create a dramatic impression even when the data behind the shading is not. During the lesson, students frequently noted that similar issues occur in other ways information is represented visually, such as with data, photographs, or artwork. At this point students would often ask, “So how do you keep from getting deceived or misdirected by information and the way it is presented visually?” My answer: by applying visual literacy skills.

Bring Elementary Social Studies into the Spotlight with the C3 Framework

January 7, 2022 By Julie Holland

“No one puts Baby in the corner!” That line that melts hearts everywhere as Patrick Swayze’s character, Johnny, brings Baby front and center and into the spotlight in Dirty Dancing. It is a metaphor often used when proper attention is not given to a particular person or situation.

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.

Taking Informed Action with the C3 Framework

December 31, 2021 By Melissa Knowles

The C3 Framework is a framework for social studies education laid out by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) that is inquiry based and aims to prepares students for college, careers, and civic life. The final dimension of the C3 Inquiry Arc allows students to take learning beyond the classroom, take informed action, and impact the world with their knowledge.

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.