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. Narrowly defined disciplines and state-mandated teaching standards often leave little room for social history. However, essential questions focusing on daily-life themes relevant to student’s lives are the perfect solution for introducing more social history in social studies curriculum.
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?”
When I first started teaching history, it was difficult for me to incorporate reading passages in a productive and interesting way. I remember looking at a section in my textbook and thinking “how can I keep my students on task when I can barely concentrate on this stuff?”
Author's mother, Addy Yolanda López de Moguel, quinceañera, 1961, Mérida, Yucatán, México.
It is time for the Cinco de Mayo celebrations again. This minor Mexican holiday has been relegated to being a regional American beer holiday, but it can also provide some teaching opportunities for your classroom.
Students not doing the reading assigned for homework seems to be an eternal challenge for every teacher. Failure to do the reading stunts classroom discussions, prevents students from learning and understanding the material to an adequate depth, and does nothing to help students build literacy skills.
Let’s face it, ancient history isn’t the easiest subject to get middle and high school students excited about.
I have wondered, especially this past year, why many Americans dislike their government because they think it intrudes on their freedom, and why many Mexicans and Latin Americans mistrust their governments because they think they are corrupt and abuse their power. How did both societies come to have those specific relationships between the individual and government?
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.