Getting Started…. In teaching a successful and engaging social studies lesson, thoughtful planning and preparation is the key. . What prompts the teacher to teach in the way he/she teaches?. Philosophy of education Perceived value of social studies Understandings of social studies
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In teaching a successful and engaging social studies lesson, thoughtful planning and preparation is the key.
Historical Thinking and Analysis Skills
If a topic is not analyzed, students will most likely only memorize the information.
ONLY memorizing key points about history will lead to forgetting concepts after the exam since information has not been stored in a student’s long-term memory.
Instructional Strategies that Work
These are ways to motivate learners and capture the attention of students…
Read Aloud an excerpt from a primary source, historical novel, or newspaper article.
Find text selections that are highly visual, intriguing, humorous, or that relate to issues that your students face.
Storytelling is an effective strategy for gaining attention and focusing students.
Fables, cultural tales, tall tales, real-life stories and your own personal anecdotes can be well told to engage student interest and thinking about a topic.
Alter or recreate the learning environment and place students in new roles to generate interest through participation in studies.
Conduct a treasure hunt
Introduce the topic, concept, or big idea for the unit, then brainstorm with students the kinds of information they think will be important to find and learn about.
Mysterious Artifacts will gain the attention of students. It should help students pay closer attention to the details that over time hold a great deal of information and generate a number of questions in the mind of a historian or archaeologist.
Political Cartoons grab the attention of students. Historic as well as contemporary examples of cartoons and comic strips often provide rich mining ground for perspectives, opinions, beliefs, and misconceptions.
Predictions can be used to generate student interest. Provide the topic, concept, or big idea and engage students in discussions. Offer clues through the unit vocabulary or titles from the chapters.
What will happen as a result of the Civil War?
A KWL Chart is an extremely useful graphic organizer that asks students to specify what they know about the topic in one column, what they want to know in the second column, and then what they learned in the third column.
Create a KWL Chart for
the Personal History Assignment
What you already KNOW…
What you WANT to learn…
What have you LEARNED so far…
For example, you could introduce a unit on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by stating, “We are going to hold an election in class, but only the girls can vote.”
Work with students to identify the issues they have with your statement and use their often-heated opinions to frame and introduce the unit.
Provocative or startling statements can be used effectively to introduce a topic.
Provocative questions can be used in much the same manner. Introduce students to a curious, overarching, or essential question from/about the unit.
For example, ask students what they do when they encounter someone who looks or sounds differently than they do. This will lead into a discussion about European explorers’ contact with Native Americans.
Questioning and critical thinking promotes reading, research, discussion, analysis, and evaluation among students.
Questions can serve to access prior knowledge or draw connections between the students and people of the past.
(Example: Personal History assignment)
Musical Chairs: Use International Music
There are many strategies that you can use to effectively teach social studies in the classroom.
What you are teaching will determine the best way to teach.