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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)

Schools Aren’t Teaching Kids to Argue Truth to Power

City Watch – Rachel Burstein

“Why can’t history classes show students why history matters? That’s what I thought as I read through a new framework for teaching K-12 history in the U.S.—California’s History-Social Science Framework. This is supposed to be the new, 21st-century approach. It spans hundreds of pages of minute detail. But the document privileges comprehensiveness over vision. This history framework doesn’t seem to recognize the value of history…To make the necessary changes, we could start with those few state standards that try to say something about the value of history…Any guide to teaching history should …concentrate on what history education can do for students. It teaches them how to make sense of the world around them—so that they might make history of their own.”(more)

How role-playing levels the playing field in my high school English class

Chalk Beat New York – David Sherrin

“If you want to transform your English or social studies classroom into a place of deeper learning and higher engagement, consider transforming your students into other people. More precisely, consider transforming students into characters from the past or from literature. In my classes, we don’t just learn about history and we don’t just read the books; instead, we become the individuals who we are studying. One day, a group of students might stand atop desks that cross the room. In their mind, it is a bridge taking them out of the city of Tenochtitlan. Other students, sliding on chairs, approach them imagining that they are on canoes gliding across a lake. The room is dark. It is just after midnight. We roll dice, envisioning arrows flying. Some students on the desk are hit and pretend to fall into the cool water below. Those on canoes scoop the prisoners up to bring them back to a temple to offer their hearts in sacrifice.”(more)