All posts by Tricia

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.

Answers to Your Questions – Week 2

Here are answers to some of the questions you asked this week. If your questions were related, I addressed them together in my response.

With the rise in popularity of graphic novels, have any textbooks changed over to that format instead of the traditional text alone with the inserted text features?

  • I wish I could say that textbooks have improved. Those I have seen in schools are old (at least 10 years) and still follow the traditional format. I’m a big fan of skipping the textbook and using trade books instead. This allows for use of multiple genres of nonfiction, including poetry and graphic novels. That said, there is a terrific history series by Nathan Hale that I love. The books are part of the Hazardous Tales series.

There is little time for Social Studies instruction. Even as we integrate many of these reading/writing strategies during Language Arts time, how do we cover such large amounts of content in such a small amount of time? Also, what are some additional specific strategies for English language learners?

  • Time is the problem every teacher faces. There is never enough time to do everything. It’s one of the reasons why textbooks and worksheets are the norm. Teachers feel like they’re covering content, but students often aren’t engaged and aren’t really learning.
  • I’ll get back to you on the ELL strategies. I hope to share/model some in class.

Would is be alright to deviate slightly from the curriculum or state assigned Language Arts books in order to supplement Social Studies texts due to time constraints?
Are there any restrictions on how often teachers use social studies texts during language arts instruction or is there more freedom in choosing texts for language arts? 

  • There really aren’t any state assigned books for language arts. Most of the decisions are left up to the school divisions. Usually, the specialists in central office offer recommendations on what should be used. Since teaching nonfiction is in the language arts standards, any time you can use a book that aligns with science or social studies units, you should run with the opportunity.

Is it possible to cluster primary source documents to create a coherent unit (painting, letters, maps)? Where can we find examples of primary source driven units that are adaptable and effective?

  • We are going to look at several examples of this in class. It is my preferred way to teach. It does take some time to assemble resources, but the units are so much richer when you do this. These documents can be supplemented with good children’s books.

If any students are like me, I hated when the teacher just had us sit and read page after page in the textbook. Do you have some personal ways to make it fun and engaging other than a worksheet? 

  • I’ll say again how much I dislike textbooks. I honestly don’t think they have a place in teaching social studies. Students will get so much more from learning to work with primary source documents. There are many good resources to guide them through this process. Yes, they are worksheets, but they teach students to analyze and ask questions. The National Archives has a terrific collection of document analysis worksheets. Here’s an example of one designed for elementary students.

How much variety is appropriate to incorporate into the class in terms of using models. Should I try every model like the “H” model, Venn diagram, and others switching every time, or should I stick to getting the students used to using the same model or two. 

  • I like to teach students to use all the models. Practice each one over time and introduce them slowly. Later in the school year, I let students choose which form to use. They appreciate having the ability to choose what works for them and you get to see how they are thinking.

As teachers, should we use the textbooks/informational guides in class as much as we use other sources and activities or balance more activities and discussion rather than heavy informational use?

  • The movement in social studies right now is to teach through inquiry. Students are given documents and primary sources to focus on and use them to answer questions about a person or event. This is a pretty engaging way to teach. At some point in this process, students have to explore secondary source material and texts that summarize these ideas, so informational text will always be used in social studies. As the teacher, it will be up to you to determine what form that takes. There are so many good books, magazines, and podcasts, that I hope textbooks aren’t the first choice for this.

Leave a comment if you have other questions or want me to expand on any of these answers.

Teaching About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This episode of the Teaching Hard History Podcast may be of interest to you.

Teaching the Movement’s Most Iconic Figure – w/ Charles McKinney

“Throughout this season, we’ve been confronting the popular but misleading “Master Narrative,” which revolves around a caricatured version of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To fully understand the movement, our students need to learn an accurate version of Dr. King’s life and activism. In this episode, I talk with historian Charles McKinney about the real Dr. King. “

Thinking About Historical Markers

I read this article recently and have been thinking about it in the context of the reckoning around Monument Ave and Confederate monuments in general.

Racial reckoning turns focus to roadside historical markers

Across the country, historical markers have in some places become another front in the national reckoning over slavery, segregation and racial violence that has also brought downCivil War statues and changed or reconsidered the names of institutions, roads and geographical features.

Do you stop to read historical markers? Do you know who created them and why? Is there a historical marker that you’ve seen that stands out for you?

Where are the women?

This article in the Washington Post has me thinking.

Opinion: In my advanced high school history textbook, it’s as if women didn’t exist

“Once, after second-grade history class, I came home and jokingly asked, “So did women just not exist?”

Ten years later, the question stands. But I’m no longer laughing.”

Where are the women in the SOL? Which ones are named? For a number of years, Eleanor Roosevelt appeared in the first grade standards. She was taken out in the 2015 revision. Currently in grades K-3 and Virginia Studies we find Pocahontas, Maggie L. Walker, Helen Keller, and Rosa Parks. US History to 1865, which can be taught in 5th or 6th grade includes Harriet Tubman, Isabella (Sojourna) Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clara Barton, and Mary Bowser.

Do you know these women? Are there others that are missing? What women should we be highlighting in the elementary curriculum?

Welcome to the Spring 2022 Semester

I’m excited to welcome you back for the spring 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 the word Assignments in the menu to find guidelines for the work of the semester.
  • Hover over the words Readings and Videos to find links to weekly resources.

What is a Green Book?

So you stayed up late on Sunday to see the big winners at the Oscars. If you haven’t seen Green Book, you may not know what a Green Book is. Here’s a description.

First published in 1937 by Victor H. Green & Company, The Negro Motorist Green Book provided African American travelers with a national guidebook for navigating segregated facilities on US highways, including hotels, restaurants, and gas stations. The Green Book (later renamed The Negro Travelers’ Green Book) became an essential reference for African Americans to travel more safely and comfortably during the Jim Crow era, when black travelers were regularly denied services, treated with hostility, and threatened with physical harm simply for seeking accommodations, food, or gas from white providers. The guidebook included recommendations and warnings for every state, highlighting the fact that racism made travel dangerous across the country, not just in the segregated south. The last guidebook was published in 1966.

You can view a Green Book at the Digital Public Library of America.

Here’s a good piece from the NYTimes.
The Open Road Wasn’t Quite Open to All

Here’s a great post you may find useful.
Pairing Picture Books and Primary Sources: Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

Single Point Rubrics

In commenting on blogs this week, I mentioned single point rubrics to a number of folks who commented that analytic rubrics with lots of categories and criteria seemed confusing. I like single point rubrics because they focus students only on the expected performance for grade-level.

Today, one of the bloggers I follow wrote about using single point rubrics in her class. I thought you might be interested, as she refers to the article I shared in several of my comments.

Using the Single Point Rubric for Better Assessment Conversations