The diffusion of writing systems or materials was often determined by religion, politics, or economics. For example, the Latin script used to write the doctrines of Roman Catholicism and the Arabic script used to write the Koran were instrumental in diffusing writings and languages throughout the world.
If you could take your students on a field trip anywhere, where would you go? What kinds of things would you like them to see or to learn on this quest?
The public lands of the United States cover more than six hundred million acres and include national parks, national seashores, national wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, national forests, monuments, select lakes and seashores, underground mineral reserves, marine sanctuaries, historic and scenic trails, and national grasslands.
Why am I here? Where do I come from? Who am I? Questions like these are answered in part through stories handed from one generation to another. Civilizations from the past tried to explain the changing of seasons, objects in the sky, and the facts of life and death through the natural environment in which they lived. Ancient Chinese, for example, believed that daylight was provided by one of ten sunbirds taking its turn across the sky, while Ancient Egyptians imagined that a giant beetle pushed the round sun across the heavens.
In the primary grades, maps are useful tools to help the young reader put stories into perspective and develop a sense of place. Place and space are important in describing the setting of a book. Sometimes the author may not include a map, but the words convey a mental image that can easily be translated into a map—and even the illustrations could be used to teach geographic skills.
Ask any teacher in any discipline at any grade level and they will tell you that literacy is one of their biggest concerns and challenges. What they mean by “literacy” can vary considerably, but generally we can take it to mean successful interpretation of the signs, symbols, and meanings someone else is trying to communicate. Literacy is often used to describe deciphering texts. In a child’s early years, basic phonics is the most common form of literacy, and as students get older, literacy comes to mean understanding the written word in all its variations.
Many students have trouble understanding the geographic context of United States history even though they can often relate the themes to their lives. When teachers move to world geography, the problem of relating to the content is compounded many times over. Students rarely have the background knowledge or geographic literacy to understand where things happened in the past. Thus, making the connection between distant places and history to modern society and their own lives can be very difficult.
While globalization has been a relevant topic for years now, it's not actually a new concept! Globalization occurred in the ancient, medieval, early modern, and industrial ages. Providing students with a solid understanding of modern globalization in comparison to historical examples makes the past relevant and clarifies current events.
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?