Social Studies Teaching Tips 6 to 10

Teaching Idea

Using Community Resources
Bill, Director of Social Studies K-12: Phoenix. AZ

"Build your own community resource file that includes speakers, sources for free materials, locations for field trips, mentors that can come in and work with children, local agencies that will support any social studies projects. Check to see if your school has such a file that you can build on. Continue to up date your file through the year. Ask parents and students to contribute to the file. have standard letters ready to be sent for invitations; have your students write the letters and also write the thank notes accordingly. Keep a record of events, speakers, etc. and publish them in a quarterly newsletter."

Teaching Idea

Appreciating Age
Margaret, Junior High School Teacher: Austin, TX

"Instruct your students to ask their family members what the oldest human-made object is in their home. Examples can include dishes, clothing, photos, diaries, letters, magazines, etc. The students can then interview the family member who owns the object and inquire about who owned it first, how it was used, the time period that it represents, any historical significance that it may have. Students can also draw the object and tell about any unusual qualities about the memorabilia and discuss it in small groups, etc. Students can also do this with any local antique dealers in the area as well as get information on antiques on the Internet."

Teaching Idea

"The Newspaper Games"
Molly Chapman, West Hill Elementary

"Current events can get tiresome for my students. I decided to make it more fun by incorporating a few fun activities.

Start collecting newspapers right away. The dates of the paper are irrelevant. Everyone in my family saves their papers and gives them to my class. We do a variety of activities that are Interdisciplinary and very educational. Here are a number of newspaper games I play with my students:

1. I give students a headline and have them write an article. You can reverse this and have them create a headline for an article that you provide.
2. If I come across articles that are on the same topic, but from different authors, have them create a Venn Diagram that compares the articles.
3. I have them write job classifieds for fictitious jobs that we create.
4. I have them compare advertisements for similar products and they must decide which product is best.
5. I cut out headlines and have them match articles to the headlines."

Teaching Idea

"How To Choose A Candidate"
Mr. James Mackelern, Social Studies

"I just wanted to share a new project we are doing this year. The Social Studies Teachers had a few days to work together over the summer and we put a great elections project together. We had the ability to telecommunicate with Social Studies teachers from around the country. They were a great help in putting the project together. Many other Teachers are doing this project at the same time and we can compare our results.

Students are interviewing 5 registered voters who they come in contact with on a daily basis. The objective of the interviews is for students to ascertain the salient issues that affect this person and which Presidential candidate meets their value system. We have all students present their results. The next step is to analyze the data. We are going to categorize all potential voters and see how the vote swings based on the categories.

I am also keeping in contact with a classroom teacher from the Midwest who is doing the same project. We will be presenting the results of both classes to our students. I feel the students are really beginning to understand the huge importance of a single issue."

Teaching Idea

"Holiday Geography"
Gary Jelters, Veteran Social Studies Teacher

"It's very hard to get the kids to work for you on the last day before the holiday break.

Every year on the last two days of school, I do a little Holiday Geography with my students. This is an extra credit activity. On day one, we discuss the major December celebrations of the cultures all over the world. We then create small printer labels with a symbol for the various holiday celebrations (i.e. a tree represents Christmas, a menorah represents Hanukkah). I enlarge a map of the world with the photocopier to be the size of the blackboard. Each students picks at least 2 printer labels and we take turns identifying the majority celebration in as many countries as possible countries. I have students print their names at the bottom of the labels prior to placing it on a country.

On day two, students research the countries they identified to hold certain majority celebrations. They must prove or disprove their original choice in writing. I award only a few extra points, if their original choice was correct. I award many more extra points, if they prove or disprove their original choice in writing. This activity really engages students."

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