Monday, March 9, 2015

Change the Way You Teach Social Studies!

At the beginning of every year, I always ask my students what their least favorite subject is. Every year I get the same response: social studies. Let's face it - I never liked social studies in school either.

Why is that? History is SO interesting, yet we have made it so dull and boring. I decided to make a changes in my classroom:

1. Instead of simply having students read from the book, I read short passages and then reword it like a story.

2. Students need visuals in order to understand - so I started creating PowerPoint presentations for each history lesson. In this way, I incorporated pictures, videos, interactive websites, songs, and games.

3. Students also need to "take notes" in order to understand. Any good teacher knows that students just don't do well if you ask them to "take notes." They need direct instruction. In order to solve this problem, I created scaffolded notes that followed along with the lessons. 

When my instruction changed - the students changed. Social studies quickly became the time of day that students looked forward to. Since they are so engaged, I can easily integrate history lessons in reading and writing. They love to read historical fiction novels and are engaged in writing as I ask them thought-provoking questions. 

So...perhaps social studies isn't quite as boring as students think. We just have to change the way we teach it! 

Here are some examples of slides and notes that I included in my "Westward Expansion Unit" 

Westward Expansion Unit

Slides with pictures hold student attention. 

Though-provoking questions incorporate writing skills into the social studies curriculum and encourages meaningful discussions. 

 Video links throughout the lesson give students a different aspect. 

Scaffolded notes keep students writing throughout the lesson and gives them a study guide to study from at the same time! 

~Andrea with LoveLearning

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