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Social Studies and the Young Learner November/December 2018

Nov-Dec 2018 SSYL Cover showing student role playing as figure from history

This issue of Social Studies and the Young Learner challenges readers to consider examples of challenging and innovative lessons, adapt activities for their own student population, and try them out in the classroom.

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Pullout: An Inspiring Person in My Life
Melinda Hammerschmidt, Dea Borneman, Steven S. Lapham

In the article “Inspiring Americans: Creating a Community of Engaged Citizens” (pp. 12–16), the authors suggest that children can study biographies of less-known citizens that are diverse in many ways. In this Pullout, we offer an extension activity that brings the topic close to home and school. PreK-Elementary     US History


Using Social Studies to Lead Project-Based Learning: An Innovative Teacher’s Story
Patti Brooks, Tracy C. Rock

Teachers across the nation and world are experimenting with inquiry-driven pedagogy like Project Based Learning to improve student learning. Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn and allows deeper content and skill development that is needed for success in college, career and civic life. PreK-Elementary     Pedagogy/Instruction


Inspiring Americans: Creating a Community of Engaged Citizens in the First Grade
Melinda Hammerschmidt, Dea Borneman

The study of famous Americans has been a long-accepted approach in teaching elementary students about the history of the United States. The first grade unit we describe here, Inspiring Americans, supports the four dimensions of the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework, PreK-Elementary     US History


Justice Pedagogy: Grade 1–3 Students Challenge Racist Statues
Meir Muller

Pre-service teachers in a social studies methods course designed to address issues of inequity and privilege, engaged elementary students in a ten-week inquiry project. Based on this project, this article shares insights about the processes involved in enacting justice-focused pedagogy. PreK-Elementary     US History, Civics/Government


First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage (Equality): Welcoming Diverse Families in the Elementary Classroom
Selena E. Van Horn, Andrea M. Hawkman

The use of trade books to foster discussion of historical events and major Supreme Court decisions in the elementary classroom can serve as a powerful method through which elementary students can begin to see themselves as active contributors to the communities and worlds in which they live. In this article and the accompanying lesson plan, the authors share ways to teach about Supreme Court decisions —specifically the decisions that have affected marriage equality—with the C3 Framework. PreK-Elementary     Civics/Government, US History