Summer 2022 Digital Toolbox Projects

I’m so incredibly proud of the work you did this summer and of the projects you created. They are listed here so that you can refer to them later as you head into student teaching and eventually your own classroom.

Postcard History

A few months ago I subscribed to a site called Postcard History. It has some terrific images for students to explore the differences between the past and present. It also has some fascinating historical tidbits. For example, today’s article is about the kidnapping of a child in 1909. The writer of this piece has dug into the history and presented a great deal of information about the event. While this is a secondary source, they mention this story was all over the newspapers. It would be relatively easy to find useful primary sources to explore. I can imagine a story like this could be a springboard to discuss schooling, transportation, geography, and more. Here’s the postcard.

The caption reads:
Willie Whitla, Sharon, Pa., kidnapped March 18, 1909.  Returned to his parents March 22, after payment of $10,000 ransom.  Kidnappers arrested the day after in Cleveland, Ohio, and money recovered.”

Read more about this event in the article entitled Billy Whitla, Kidnapped Child.

Developmentally Appropriate Social Studies

When we met last week, Reid posed an important question about when it is appropriate to teach certain topics to students. After much searching, I found few clear answers to this question. There is, however, some very clear guidance on how and when to teach about the Holocaust. I have addressed this in a separate blog post.

NCSS has written a position statement on Early Childhood in the Social Studies Context. This statement does outline some of the ideas and concepts that are appropriate for young learners. By omission, we can assume there are some topics we should not be introducing to these students.

In regards to teaching children about war, you may find the following resources helpful.

Here are some resources specific to teaching about the war in Ukraine.

The Declaration of Independence

The National Archives has an interesting and informative blog entitled Pieces of History. In it, primary sources are regularly highlighted. Last year they wrote about the Dunlap Broadside printed on July 4, along with the real-time proceedings of that day inscribed in volume 3 of the Rough Journal of Congressional proceedings.

This year they wrote about the Binns engraving of the Declaration of Independence that was created in the surge of nationalism following the War of 1812.

You can learn more about the Declaration of Independence at America’s Founding Documents.

The National Archives also has a wealth of resources for Independence Day.

Teaching the Holocaust

How and when should we teach students about the Holocaust? Here are some answers to these questions with links to helpful resources.

Fundamentals of Teaching the Holocaust includes many helpful resources produced by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. This excerpt is from the page Age Appropriateness.

“Students in grades six and above demonstrate the ability to empathize with individual eyewitness accounts and to attempt to understand the complexities of Holocaust history, including the scope and scale of the events. While elementary age students are able to empathize with individual accounts, they often have difficulty placing them in a larger historical context.”

Teaching Young Children About the Holocaust (PDF book chapter) addresses the question of when and includes some teaching suggestions.

“… we don’t advocate that you teach about the Holocaust directly until 5th or
6th grade at the earliest. And, even then, we hope you’ll make accommodations by
teaching kids in those grades about the Holocaust’s more redemptive aspects
only—rescue, resistance, and stories that soften the harder blows of this history. We
think that the earliest young people ought to be taught about the Holocaust in depth is when they are older, when as a group, they are mature enough to be appropriately
staggered by its enormity and developed enough to discuss its implications.”

The KidsKonnect article Teaching Kids About the Holocaust: Why You Should and How explains clearly and in some depth why “knowing about the Holocaust can make children more resilient, empathic, and give them the capacity to contribute, over time, to a healthier and safer society. This is because the Holocaust teaches us some valuable lessons.” Those lessons include:

  1. It illustrates the need for tolerance, inclusion, empathy, and respect.
  2. It perfectly captures the dangers of hate speech.
  3. It provides reassurance and makes children resilient.
  4. Remembering and learning from the Holocaust is a form of respect toward the victims.

In Why Teach the History of the Holocaust–And How?, the Montreal Holocaust Museum does a fine job explaining the reasons it is important to teach the history of the Holocaust .

This undergraduate honors thesis entitled How Can We Teach About the Holocaust to Seven to Ten Year Olds? examines the impact of psychological perspectives in relation to this question (among LOTS of other ideas). If you have time, this is a paper worth reading.

The publication Recommendations for Teaching and Learning About the Holocaust, prepared by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), addresses many issues about Holocaust teaching, including what we should teach about it.

“Teaching and learning about the Holocaust will vary depending on national and local contexts. These contexts will inform decisions regarding which questions are explored more deeply and which are addressed more concisely. The time allocated for teaching about the Holocaust must, however, be sufficient for learners to be able to answer the following questions in significant rather than superficial ways:

    • What were the historical conditions and key stages in the process of this
      genocide?
    • Why and how did people participate or become complicit in these crimes?
    • How did Jews respond to persecution and mass murder?
    • Why and how did some people resist these crimes?”

Facing History & Ourselves has a wealth of resources for teaching the Holocaust.

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans has a number of helpful Holocaust education resources.

Primary Source Assignment

It seems that we’ve been hampered by bugs and COVID in the last week. I’m sorry that we missed so many of you during our visit to the library Wednesday. We stayed much longer than expected but learned about so many amazing resources.

I have decided to make some changes to your primary source assignment to make it more manageable for all.

  • First, I’m going to integrate your primary source assignment into your digital toolbox. Instead of limiting your options to the WWII letters, you may choose any primary source(s) in the university collection that will enhance the study of content in your chosen grade level. This means you will need to add a page to your digital toolbox for this piece.
  • Second, you will not need to write a lesson plan for this component unless you choose to make this one of your two lesson options. I will let you make that decision.
  • Third, you will need to include digital images and descriptions for 2-3 items (at a minimum). Similar to other pieces in the toolbox, your narrative description should explain the connection to a particular SOL or set of SOLs and explain how you envision using the pieces.

I will include all of this updated information on the digital toolbox assignment page. I will also include links to the available UR resources.

Here is a link to the PPT we viewed during the session.

Here are links to some of the resources we learned about.

Welcome to the Summer 2022 Semester

I am excited to welcome you back for the summer semester. I’m especially happy to be working with all of you again.

This blog will serve as a place to extend class discussions, share current news of interest, and further reflect on what it means to teach social studies using pedagogical approaches that encourage critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

Use the menu to navigate to course resources.

  • Hover over Assignments in the menu to find guidelines for the work of the semester.
  • Hover over Readings and Videos in the menu to find the assignments for each class session.
  • Click on Google Slides to find the notes from each class session.

Single-Sex Schooling and Gender/Sexual Identities: How Do We Support LGBTQIA+ Students During Development?

Hello all,

For our very last blog post of the semester, I thought we would be able to take the time to do some reflection and see what that looks like in the field of Psychology. For my child development class, I have been working on a toolkit for the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, in partnership with the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. This toolkit will include evidence based-recommendations for teachers to access during their teaching careers in order to achieve what this class has been working to achieve: as much inclusion and support as possible.

In the last couple of Child Development classes, we have carefully read empirical and anecdotal articles about single-sex schooling and the effects, or non-effects, it has on student performance and sense of belonging, to name a couple, as well as how single-sex schooling may not be backed by scientific evidence to conclude that single-sex structure improves student academic achievement.

Along the way, we reviewed how psychologically, mentally, and emotionally challenging it might be for students who do not conform to cisgender, heteronormative identities. The LGBTQIA+ community will tend to feel less of a sense of belonging, and the single-sex structure and heteronormativity may discount and devalue their identities, which is very detrimental to children and young adolescents’ development.

Dr. Hunt discussed how some Republican senators are pushing to pass a bill that bans LGBTQIA+ instruction in the form of literature/texts, videos/documentaries, and such. This is very disheartening for many reasons. Recently, I have thought about teaching in Nashville, where I am closer to an environment of interest and some family. I, myself, also identify as a gay cisgender male. So, to hear about what has been happening in Florida and in Tennessee with the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the banning of LGBTQIA+-supportive instruction gives a little sense of hopelessness for those with political power and disappointment that our careers are in the hands of white men in power.

Read one or both of the articles below, and let me know what your thoughts are about everything that has been discussed and anything that you want to bring in from the class.

Thank you guys, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Luis

The Learning Network: The New York Times’ Social Studies Resource

Hey class!

I have found a fantastic resource on teaching current events and lessons revolving around relevant topics to social studies instruction. Follow this link to view The New York Times’ Learning Network for Social Studies. This resource uses content from The New York Times to create “Lessons of the Day” surrounding a current or important history topic.  They also post graphs and other visual organizers with interesting and relevant social studies topics. Some of the recent “Lessons of the Day” have been about confederate monuments, black history, the invasion of Ukraine, and redistricting/gerrymandering. These lessons include warm-ups, vocabulary, questions to lead writing and discussion and further learning to dive deeper into the content. They have different tabs for lessons on U.S history, global issues, civics and social studies skills. I thought this website had some fantastic resources for teaching current or important historical events regarding social studies and civics. I think some of the lessons are too complex for elementary students but I think the resources provided by the site surrounding events we teach in the classroom can be great tools to aid our social studies instruction.

Do you think you’ll use this resource to aid your social studies instruction? Have you found any similar resources on your own? Link any others you’ve found below!

Hope everyone has a great week!

To Kneel or Not to Kneel, That is the Question

Composite image - Kneeling football player with American flag background

My Digital Toolbox for this class is focused on Second Grade and specifically the American Symbols.  

VDOE SOL Civics Unit: 

2.13 The student will understand the symbols and traditional practices that honor and foster patriotism in the United States of America by

  1. a) explaining the meaning behind symbols such as the American flag, bald eagle, Washington Monument, and Statue of Liberty; and
  2. b) learning the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance

Prior to last week’s homework assignment, I had not fully considered how controversial certain symbols like the Statue of Liberty could be.  As a child, I was taught to respect the various symbols of the United States including the Statue of Liberty, Pledge of Allegiance, American Flag and the National Anthem.  In 2016, I was shocked to see sports figure, Colin Kaepernick,  kneel in protest at the beginning of a football game as the National Anthem played. To me, the Anthem was always a beautiful symbol of hope, courage, freedom, liberty, and community. I never stopped to consider that may not be the case for all. 

How should we as educators address this potentially controversial issue in the classroom? Are we able to separate our personal feelings and opinions and simply teach the content standards, or should we attempt to inform, enlighten and educate our young learners that not everyone is treated the same in our country and why that might be?  Should we go the next step and try to explain the controversy? 

I found the following brief article relevant and informative. The article provides context and discusses both the Pros and Cons of kneeling. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic and how it pertains to social studies education for our children. 

Also, take a look at this longer article providing a bit more background.