Social Studies and the Young Learner November/December 2019
The Fifty States Project: Learning About America, One Care Package at a Time
As a fifth grade teacher, I get to teach many subjects such as math, language arts, and science, but my true love is social studies. Because Virginia has not established social studies standards specifically for the fifth grade, my school division developed a local course called, My Place in Time and Space.1 One compelling (conceptual, divergent) question in the course is How am I connected to other spaces and places? Two supporting questions (answerable with facts or opinions) are Where have I been? and Where do I want to go in the world? To help my students engage with these inquiries, I include lessons about the geography, culture, and history of the United States over the course of the school year through our fifty states project.
Live It to Learn It: Making Elections Personally Meaningful
Margit E. McGuire, Karen Nicholson, Allan Rand
How do we preserve our civil society and dynamic political system and prepare students to be active citizens in a democratic society? The need for civic education is more essential now than ever before, and students deserve access to powerful civic lessons that actively engage them in learning about our democracy. The ultimate goal would be for students to be able to study and solve problems arising in everyday life just as adults in a democracy should do. For example, students could participate in the developing story of a presidential election, as this article will describe.
Veterans Day Then and Now: First Graders Learn from Primary Sources and Take Action
Michelle Bauml, Lisa May
Introducing patriotic holidays such as Veterans Day with historical photographs and other primary sources in classrooms can not only spark children's interest, but also promote critical thinking and historical comprehension.1 Meaningful, hands-on historical lessons can also motivate children to take informed action about issues they care about.
We begin this article with a brief history of Veterans Day, followed by a description of two lessons in which first grade teacher and co-author Lisa May used historical photographs to introduce students to Veterans Day. Next, we describe a student-directed school-wide Veterans Day program that resulted from lessons that involved students in the analysis of primary sources.
PreK-Elementary Civics/Government, US History