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Bringing Social Studies to Life with PBL

Edutopia – Judy Sandler

“This generation of students presents a unique challenge to educators: How can schools continue to engage and teach children who have access to so much knowledge at their fingertips? How can we join school programs and curriculum with student interests and passions when much of their learning is occurring outside the walls of the classroom? The answer is complicated, but for me it lies in the relationship among student agency, project-based learning (PBL), and the power of student voice and choice in their learning.” (more)

Positioning Social Studies at the Center

Education World – Steve Haberlin

“It’s no secret that social studies regularly takes a back seat to other academic subjects. If teachers are honest, they will admit that they struggle to find time to teach social studies, and if they do, it’s crammed into the last minutes of the day, or perhaps creatively combined with other lessons. hat if there was another way to approach social studies? What if there was model that could provide students with meaningful, relevant social studies instruction, while at the same time, enhancing learning in other subjects in an engaging way? Sounds like an infomercial, too good to be true, right? Well, I’d like to introduce you to a concept known as Social Studies at the Center. I learned this method from Dr. Michael Berson, an internationally known social studies scholar at the University of South Florida.”(more)

King Calls for Return to Well-Rounded Education

U.S. Department of Education – Press Release

“U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. today called for a renewed focus on well-rounded education for all students, as states work to implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In a speech at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in Nevada, King said the new law…gives schools, districts and states a chance to reset after years of focusing heavily on math and reading while other important classes—like science, social studies, the arts and world languages—took a back seat…Research shows that students—particularly historically underserved students—engage more deeply in learning when they are exposed to a variety of topics and can better connect what they are learning in the classroom with the world outside the school house. For example, there’s evidence that students improve at math when they’ve taken classes that connect science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with the arts…That’s why the U.S. Department of Education is taking action to support states and districts in ensuring schools provide a rich range of offerings—from arts and social studies to computer science and world language.”(more)

The Value of Modern Social Studies in Cultivating Real World Literacy

ED Surge – Christine Sciascia

“The argument for engaging social studies education has never been more timely in the USA. With a polarizing presidential election, tense international events like the continuation of the civil war in Syria, and consistently low NAEP scores on history, geography, and civics, it’s increasingly critical for students to have a strong understanding of the world around them. Enter social studies, a subject that encompasses topics ranging from history to civics, and, recently, digital and media literacy.”(more)