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.
Where do you find elementary school historians? The answer can be right in your digital classroom!
In these changing times, what are some of the social studies best-practices that we can apply in a remote learning environment?
School and district closures are rippling across the nation and the world as our communities join together to combat the spread of the coronavirus. In times like these, it’s more important than ever for educators and students to discover the power of digital learning.
A few years ago, I “splashed” into the blended learning scene only to abandon it several months in. There were a few reasons why, and you can read about them in my blog post here. But I don't say this to scare you off! If I knew then what I know now, I would have definitely made some changes to my approach. I’ve learned many things that I can now share from my experience.
Many teachers struggle to motivate their elementary students to learn, especially when teaching social studies. Students struggle to understand why learning historical facts and figures matter and find the subject content boring. In an age when connecting with history matters more than ever, how do we make our K-8 social studies classrooms challenging and exploratory?
A pedagogical shift towards teaching social studies in conjunction with other subjects, and not as an isolated topic, has slowly emerged on the horizon in public schools for the last five years. In some states, standardized state tests in social studies have been discontinued for students in 6th and 7th grades because they are considered non-essential. Teachers continue to ask why social studies content is being pushed aside for language arts, math, and other STEM-based curricula. Social studies, especially at the secondary level, is a disappearing and often thought of as less important curriculum, but it doesn’t have to be.
We want our classrooms to be utopian communities, ideal worlds of cooperation and happiness. Classroom-management experts describe strategies to achieve that dream, but their advice falls across a continuum with the top-down, teacher-in-charge approach at one end and the bottom-up, students-create-the-rules at the other. Which approach is best?