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?
Early in the school year, students often ask me, “why do I need a history class?” They go on to say they know why science, math, and English are taught, but they don't know why they need to learn so many random dates and historical facts. They are skeptical about memorizing facts from the past and its relevance to their future. I generally respond by saying something along the lines of, “you don’t need to memorize everything,” because a vast amount of information is readily available to today’s students online, but I emphasize that there's more to history and social studies than just dates and figures.
My last post was about quality novels to teach in the American history classroom. I would like to follow it up with some books teachers can include in their geography and civics class. In Alabama, we devote a semester each to geography and civics during the seventh grade. Often, it can seem that there is not enough time to fit in everything that we need to cover during that time frame. However, the following books are short enough to read in these classes, but “pack a punch” of information.
Service learning has been a cornerstone of my educational approach for over a decade. In service learning, students apply the scientific method to real-world problems and offer real-world solutions.
How does a teacher narrow down over 5000 years of human history and culture for the classroom? Use essential questions!
“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” —Adlai E. Stevenson II, U.S. Diplomat, governor of Illinois, and presidential candidate
This article covers the influence of Catholicism in shaping the form and philosophy of government in Latin America, affecting how Latino students and their families think and feel about government. Tapping into that prior knowledge and experience, and prompting students to seek these connections between history, government, and their personal lives and cultural backgrounds is a unique and powerful way to engage and sustain the interest of young students.
It’s not a stretch to say that Hispanic/Latino students have an ancestral background in the subjects we teach.
Many social studies teachers want to inspire their students to apply what they are learning in class outside of school.