Thinking is hard. At least, that is what our students tend to believe. They sigh when we ask them to complete a research assignment, or to write an analytical essay. Even the most basic questions asked of them, can be responded with a grunt.
Do you remember your favorite teacher?
Who could ever forget that teacher? Who could ever forget the special way that teacher inspired you and made you a better student and person at the same time?
The history of ordinary people and everyday life appeals to students. However, teachers struggle to squeeze it into a social studies curriculum dominated by stories of wealthy elites and political chronology.
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.
When I implement a novel study in social studies, there are a few activities that really work for me in terms of aiding student comprehension. I'll go into what these strategies are, how to use them, and how they help. But first, a note about reading aloud.
A recent conversation with a seven-year-old has given me a lot to think about. I started with the typical questions and eventually worked my way to the topic of school. “What do you think of school?”
How does a teacher narrow down over 5000 years of human history and culture for the classroom? Use essential questions!
Before we as educators are able to make thinking visible to students we have to first make the processes and procedures of thinking visible to ourselves.
This year at NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies), we went around asking one question to attendees—"Why do you love social studies?"
The flipped classroom allows students to build background knowledge outside school, freeing up time for more hands-on learning in the classroom.