Early in the school year, students often ask me, “why do I need a history class?” They go on to say they know why science, math, and English are taught, but they don't know why they need to learn so many random dates and historical facts. They are skeptical about memorizing facts from the past and its relevance to their future. I generally respond by saying something along the lines of, “you don’t need to memorize everything,” because a vast amount of information is readily available to today’s students online, but I emphasize that there's more to history and social studies than just dates and figures.
Are you searching for ways to make your social studies lessons relate to the lives of your students? Make memorable connections between national trends in history, economics, culture, politics, and geography with these place-based primary sources.
International Women’s Day is March 8, 2019, and presents an opportunity to celebrate women from throughout history. Humanities curricula and history books are often dominated by United States presidents, world explorers, and cultural elites, who are mostly male. This year, teach your students about the women activists, suffragettes, and trailblazers who paved the way for equality across the world. Here are some activities to use in the classroom.
There can be no doubt that the level of teaching and learning in your classroom would vastly improve if every single student possessed a high literacy level and a consistent reading habit, both at home and school. However, many do not, and perhaps you’ve wondered why. In a search for some answers, I would like to pose a few sensitive questions.
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.
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.