Thursday, May 31, 2012

Social Studies Newsletter: Current Events

I am often asked as a history teacher what I want my students to get out of my classes. I have many answers to this question. One of my biggest priorities (and an all encompassing answer) is that my students will be knowledgeable and productive citizens of our country and the world.  I feel that one way to do this is with the students knowing what is going on in the world; so we often do current events in direct instructions. We do a lot of different types of lessons with current events.  One of the great tools that we use is a magazine done by Scholastic and The New York Times for high school students called Upfront.  The articles combine a lot of the information from news articles in a concise manner and in a way that students can understand.  They also pick articles that teenagers can relate to.

This week, with the holiday, World History and U.S. History were the only two classes that met.  World History read a very interesting article about the possibility that Scotland might break off from the United Kingdom and the implications that this might hold for the U.K., Europe, Scotland, and the world.  U.S. History read an article about the hazing that has been going around U.S. colleges and universities and how it is affecting laws here in our country.  With these articles, both classes split up into groups to talk about some of the issues that these articles bring up.  Groups are a great way for the students to build their social skills and have an opportunity to express their opinions in a smaller setting. The students enjoy the interaction without me talking too :) Then I can snap quick pictures of them working together.

Mike V., Crayton, Lara, and Cameron work together in U.S. History tangling with the social implications of hazing.  Best quote that came from their group setting: Alcohol increases the danger factor.

Stay tuned for next week as the students tackle more group work situations.

P.S. There isn't a picture for World History since most of those students do not have permission to be on the blog...if you would like your student to be featured in these newsletters please contact us to have your blog permissions changed.  We just need written permission for this e-mailed/given to someone. We love to feature your students and we can do it with your permission. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Social Studies Newsletter

Once a week all of the students meet in their direct instructions for class and have the opportunity to learn something new, discuss with the class, interact with fellow students on group work etc.  They are really a great hour or so to get together.  As a result, I'm hoping to once a week get on and give a little bit of a taste of what we learned.  I might highlight all of the classes or a particular class depending on what the week was like.  I will also try to highlight other Social Studies things that happen along the way as well.  So here comes our first Social Studies newsletter :)

So recently, we had a couple of students complete the puzzle in the back of my room.  There is always been a puzzle in the back for kids to fiddle with when they are done with their school responsibilites.  This last one we did was HARD with all of the similar colors.  Two students: Nathan and Conrad were my big puzzle people.  Nathan took a second and posed for me!

We have started a new one that looks like it might not have so many similar colors.  We'll see who ends up working on it.

This week all of the classes finished watching an NBC Special on the raid done on Osama bin Laden's compound a little over a year ago now.  The kids can't believe that it has been a year already!  It was a very interesting day for the students as they got to know some more of the details of that memorable day.  And they got to see the Situation Room--this special was the first time that TVs were allowed in that part of the White House. Stay tuned for next week.  Happy Memorial Day!

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