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- Podcasts in the Classroom: My Students - January 10, 2017
- Harper Lee's Impact on My World - February 19, 2016
- Net Neutrality and Educational Technology - March 2, 2015
- The Instructional Techie: Interview with James Sanders of the Ed Tech Team - February 26, 2015
- The Instructional Techie at the Southern #GAFESummit in Atlanta: Day 1 Part 2 - February 5, 2015
- The Instructional Techie at the Southern #GAFE Summit in Atlanta: Day 1 Part 1 - February 4, 2015
- Why Should We Care About Virtual Education? - October 22, 2014
- Why Robin Williams Helped Me Be a Teacher and an Adult - August 14, 2014
It's the first few weeks of the school year and school is definitely in full swing. If you are like me, you are trying to put together an amazing classroom that makes social studies come alive to your students. That can be difficult as a social studies teacher. There are many people who say that they hated social studies or that they just didn't get it. Below I have some suggested items that I have used in my classroom to try and keep my students engaged as explored the social studies.
Classroom Magazines or Newspapers like National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, Junior Scholastic or Scholastic News, etc.: I always try to have at least a few of these magazines in my classroom so that my students can explore current events. If you are a social studies teacher, you have to be able to connect your content to what is going on in the world. It allows you to let your kids have discussions on current events. In my class, I teach 6th and 7th graders. The social studies standards have me teaching my students about the geography, economics, governments, culture, and history of other areas of the world besides the U.S. Having my students find and/or read articles connected to these areas helps them gain a better understanding of the content. No entertainment articles are my big rule. I also bring in old articles that connect to events we are discussing in class. I have articles from September 11, President Obama’s election in 2008, major events during World War II, and the death of Osama bin Laden. Having past newspapers just allows you to teach the students how to read historical documents!
Virtual Field Trips/ Google Earth: Let’s face it. With budget cuts in almost every school district in the U.S., field trips outside of school are hard to come by. If you have the resources, virtual field trips are fun, free, and interesting. There are many virtual field trips out there that will take your class all over the world and anywhere in time. With Google Earth, you can create your own field trips by showing a detailed view of area your class is studying.
United Streaming: I love this website. It is the place to go to find great videos, images, clips, etc. that go with your content. Most school systems subscribe to it, and I know many teachers are getting their own logins when they are going through teacher prep programs. I have been using it since 2006, and it has only gotten better. All of the videos come from Discovery Education, PBS, or other education companies. They break down the videos by subject, topic, grade levels, etc. Sometimes they come with teacher’s guides, lessons, etc., but it is easy to create lesson plans around it. In fact, the website will allow you to write and share materials built around the videos. Another reason I love this is that you can download the videos, clips, what have you in case you have network issues. Just download at home and bring it to school via your flash drive.
Board Games like Monopoly and Life: I know it sounds silly, but these games are lifesavers. Most states now require financial literacy to be taught in school, and these games are a great way to do that. The students love playing them. They learn important money management skills. Plus you can create great lessons around these games to show the kids are gaining knowledge and understanding. They are also a great way to reward students for meeting goals and/or commitments in the classroom.
If you have any suggestions of how you keep your students engaged, read my Teaching blog here or feel free to contact me at email@example.com or follow me on Twitter @WinchesterTeach.
Very informative! It can be difficult to keep the kids interested in Social Studies because of increased class size and budget cuts. Your sugggestions are either free or inexpensive! Thanks!
Dr. Brown-Van says
WIth these suggestions, there should never be a dull moment in the classroom! I would love to hear more about the virtual field trips.
I used The Game of Life in my gr 8 Soc St class last year when we compared life and values in the 50s compared to today. Great discussions about choice, sexuality, inflation and career followed. They asked to play again. Excellent suggestions in this article!
United Streaming hasn't been called that for years. Discovery Education is not just videos but thousands of pieces of media including images, audio files, interactive games, encylopedia articles and more. There are digital textbooks and assessment tools. A lot of their content is correlated to state standards. To learn more check out their website http://www.discoveryedcuation.com and the DEN (Discovery Education Network) http://community.discoveryeducation.com .