Teaching all sides of history and utilizing resources that aim to showcase diverse peoples is essential in the modern social studies classroom. Recognizing the unique struggles of people of color throughout history and empathizing with them takes precedence in learning, now more than ever.
As I think about my virtual learning experience in the time of quarantine, I will say the feeling that is more dominant than most is “dislike.” I won’t say I hated it, but this was an unusual circumstance into which we were thrown.
History is the study of past events in human affairs and part of our daily lives. There's no way around it, we are living in a historical moment currently that will affect future generations to come.
Students in the K-12 setting experience immense developmental changes, socially, emotionally, and academically. All the while, they go through dreaded awkward stages—braces, bad haircuts, first crushes—and experience greater demands from parents, teachers, and community members.
Participatory citizenship is the act of citizens actively participating through community and political life to build a democracy that respects human rights. Currently, members and allies of the Black Lives Matter movement are partaking in their First Amendment right to protest, aiming to enact change for police reform and civil rights, which offers a unique teaching opportunity to encourage active citizenship. How can we find other ways to help our students understand the importance of becoming an active citizen today?
Cartoons can sometimes make a serious point. Benjamin Franklin’s 1754 “Join or Die” began the use of political cartoons. These visuals have been important in history by informing illiterate citizens and conveying a point of view on a political issue. Cartoonists, with a single picture, could insult enemies, celebrate allies, change people’s minds on important issues, and be humorous enough to make an impact on the public’s view. Political cartoons bring humor and exaggeration to past and current issues. I tell my students political cartoons are pictures with a point. We can provide students with the tools and questions they can use to decode and understand political cartoons.
To quote one of my previous graduate school professors, "education is simply made up of alphabet soup."
The times in which we are living are truly odd and unprecedented. Actually, there are a lot of words that people use to describe this time. I’ve heard scary, crazy, stressful, and boring, just to name a few. Some people have used this time to improve themselves by working out or trying new hobbies. Others are worried or stressed about their job security and family's wellbeing. But, one thing I think we can agree upon is that this is a time to come together and revel in comfort and support.