Social Studies Instruction

One of my courses this summer (2018) is Methods of Teaching Social Studies. We have done a lot of intensive projects as a part of our learning, but the one shown in the pictures below was my favorite!

We were all assigned an effective strategy from the book 50 Social Studies Strategies for K-8 Classrooms. Mine was strategy #37, Newspaper Making. We had to develop a full lesson plan, including the design of a supporting Text Set, using the assigned strategies.

In my strategy, the guess it...learn through MAKING NEWSPAPERS! WOAH!

I honestly was not thrilled about it at first. I was concerned with the lack of relevance print news media has with modern children. It was practically irrelevant when I was a child. However, after having chosen the American Civil Rights Movement as my lesson's target state standards (fifth grade), I quickly realized how valuable newspaper-based activities could be, especially when you are teaching a part of history that involved print media.

The entire lesson plan is available on my Works page, but here are some highlights:

I bounced back and forth between what I wanted my students to create for this lesson; a digital newspaper format would allow more collaboration and easier access and editing, but a physical newspaper would allow the engagement of writing in perspective and reading about events as they happened. I finally decided that students would write articles about various events and people from the Civil Rights Movement after conducting research, and then the articles would be combined in a final printable front and back 8"x11" newspaper. Then, in a jigsaw-style collective effort, all students would read the articles that their peers wrote and fill out a guided notes graphic organizer.

The text set is another feature that I was very happy to have produced for this project. It includes both primary and secondary (children's literature) sources. I collected all of the primary sources from the web and purchased all of the secondary; I am so glad that I have these illustrated works in my collection because they are really impactful to read and effective for providing the information to kids.

I wasn't too excited about the possibility of teaching social studies some day until this course! This project especially gave me an opportunity to really dig in to an effective way to help students obtain critical societal and cultural information and perspectives.

Presenting my lesson plan to a peer teacher-candidate.

So many strategies, so little time!

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