Exploring Unity and Diversity
Social studies in action is a wonderful website that provides teachers with helpful resourced for engaging students in social studies. Session Three: Exploring Unity and Diversity show teachers how to create a lesson on Unity and Diversity by combining elements of both unity and diversity, and some of the multiple intelligences.
Session Five:Using Resources on the Social Studies in Action website provides teachers with a framework for making the most of the resources in social studies. The session focuses on using resources such as artifacts, primary sources, books, media, etc to meet the needs of diverse learners.
Session Eight: Making Connections on the Social Studies in Action website provides teachers with useful resources for helping students understand real-world applications of social studies content. This session, as stated on the website, "addresses the questions, How can we connect social studies to life beyond the classroom? and How can teachers prepare students to become effective citizens?"
Assessing Students' Learning
Session Seven: Assessing Students' Learning on the Social Studies in Action website provides teachers with resources to help them assess their students' understanding of the content, define assessment strategies, identify the criteria for designing assessments, and apply a variety of assessment strategies to their social studies instruction.
The concept formation strategy is a good way to help students understand and learn the different aspects of certain concepts. Students are given 7 examples of a concept and using positive and negative signs, the students identify which of the examples are actual examples o the overall concept. After they have done this students try to guess what the overall concept is (i.e. civic responsibility).
A word wall is a creative way to display new vocabulary words inside the classroom. Word walls are a great way to help students learn new vocabulary, spelling, word usage. There are also a variety of different word walls including high frequency words, word families, names, alphabet, and doozers (struggle words).
Cooperative Learning Strategies
The Grafitti Groups strategy is an effective way to promote and incorporate group work into a lesson. The teacher selects an overarching question, topic, or concept and from that the teacher breaks down the overarching question, topic, or concept into subordinate questions. From there the students break into groups and each group is given 3-5 minutes to answer each question.
Team games are another excellent way to get students working together and to cover a lot of material at once. Team games are especially a good resource for reviewing material.
Think Pair Share
The think pair share strategy is good for making sure each student has an opportunity to share their ideas and thinking. Students will be given a question or topic, time to think, read, or write about about that question or topic, and will discuss the topic or share their thoughts with a partner.
Teacher chooses a topic, concept, theme, or issue and breaks it into parts (i.e. Civil War - short term causes, long term causes, short term effects, long term effects). The students are then broken into groups and assigned a "piece"of the puzzle (i.e. short term causes, long term causes, short term effects, long term effects) and asked to create an expertise in that "piece". Then the students are rearranged into new groups such that there is one member from each original group in the new groups, and the students share their expertise.
The teacher selects a topic for exploration such as slave life and students are broken in to two groups that will be split into smaller groups, Group A (document A) and Group B (document B). The two groups then read and analyze their documents. When the students come back together as a whole group, the two document groups debate to explain which source is best and which conclusions about the past are "best", and why? The students will then explain which group they think won the duel.
Mock trials are an effective way to help students use what they have learned about the different topic in social studies including civics, laws, etc. Students are introduced to a case and are then asked to present and argue the case as they would in a real court.
Students are presented with a problem (i.e. problems in the middle east) and as a whole group they discuss different problem solving strategies. Armed with a problem and different problem strategies, students are then asked to break into smaller groups and assigned roles. Once they are assigned a role, the students come up with different solutions to the problems in the middle east based on their roles.
Opinion Based Strategy
Take A Stand
Students are presented with an issue such as gun control and using the strategies they have learned, student volunteers who strongly support, strongly oppose, or are mixed opinions give their reasoning and thoughts about the issue. The other students who choose not to go in front of the class to share are then asked to give their opinions and arguments in an effort to persuade their classmates.
Economic mysteries are an excellent way to practice recognizing and understanding the core democratic values. Students are given a scenario and asked to identify which core democratic value is involved in the problem and how the problem could have been solved.