--Sherry L. Field and Linda D. Labbo
Read a biography. Then examine "pocket contents." In Lincoln's vest pocket? A draft for a speech, theater tickets, and a photograph of his family, among other items. "Artifacts" are suggested for the pockets of Benito Juarez (president of Mexico), Grandma Moses (artist), Mary McLeod Bethune (black educator), and others. --> read more »
Should public school elementary teachers teach about such holidays as St. Patricks Day, which have religious roots?Submitted by TimDaly on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 4:15pm
Yes! Most holidays have religious roots; the word “holiday” comes from “holy day.” Teaching and learning must be balanced to include a wide array of holidays representing many different cultures. It is essential that holidays are taught as information; the classroom is not the place to either promote or demote a particular culture. Be sure that information is factual and does not trivialize or demean through language, items, or actions.
I like organizing service learning activities that showcase powerful learning and the expanding horizons of social studies education. I start with topics and issues that young learners can easily recognize and make connections such as litter, recycling, street signs, beautification, book availability, etc. Then I expand to community agencies, individuals who would benefit from assistance, etc., and learning about adjacent neighborhoods, the city, state, nation, etc. I follow the theme of "Thinking Globally; Acting Locally." --> read more »
Nancy Gallavan. My favorite resources are
- National Geographic web site
- National Geographic Kids
- Scholastic Books
- American Library Association Great Web Sites for Kids
Teaching world cultures requires teachers to clarify their purpose as to: --> read more »
What are the best activities for teaching about the need to protect the environment at the different elementary levels?Submitted by TimDaly on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 3:52pm
I would pick one activity and go into depth in it looking at the past, present and future. Do this as a class, then have the students, or groups of students pick an area for themselves (in the upper grades), and look at the past, present, and future and how they can make an impact on this problem.
One of my favorite approaches for teaching civic responsibility is through an approach called Storypath. Teachers routinely teach about the founding of the nation in fifth grade so with this approach, students imagine themselves as colonists and the civic actions they took to create a new nation. The Storypath approach uses the story form--setting, characters, and plot—to structure the learning experience. Key questions throughout the unit problematize the events, encourage substantive conversations and guide students' thinking about important understandings. --> read more »
Why is geography not given more attention in the elementary curriculum, and what is the best way to teach it?Submitted by TimDaly on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 3:47pm
No Child Left Behind has left a huge gap in our teaching of geography and other subjects in the social studies. New schools are not providing maps and globes, but relying on technology to fill the gap. It is not the same. Sometimes, students make connections looking at a map that they wouldn't make from a short presentation from the computer. --> read more »
Here are my recommended "Do's" and "Don'ts."
- Consider the language of your lectures and the resources to be used. Look for "loaded" words such as "frontier," "settler," and "explorer." Discuss with your students how those terms may sound to an American Indian.
- Look at the illustrations used in the resource materials. Reject them if they portray American Indians in stereotypical ways.
Teaching and learning about the women’s suffrage movement is a favorite experience for me. My grandmother voted in the first election open to women. Then I voted in the first election open to 18-year-olds.
- Creating time lines to show the progression of voting throughout U.S. history and geography.
- Developing other graphic organizers to illustrate requirements for voting, finding primary sources through the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/index.html
- Interviewing people with knowledge and experience