Saturday Stories: Social Studies Class

Your Weekend Reads in Education

Happy Saturday! For this edition of Saturday Stories, we’re going to focus on Social Studies articles. Last weekend, educators from across the country gathered for the The 97th annual National Council for the Social Studies Conference. But not everyone could make it to NCSS in San Fransisco, so we thought we would bring the Social Studies celebration to you at home!

Below, you’ll find blogs from educators in a variety of roles — Keith Harris teaches history to secondary students, and strives to empower each of them to appreciate and enjoy the learning process. Nina Sethi and Gabby Arca are co-teachers in their fifth grade classroom, where they use hands-on and interactive techniques to bring economics to life with a global perspective. Allison Wickens works at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where she gives educators innovative tools for teaching social studies.

Read their stories below:

Teaching The Constitution with George Washington’s Mount Vernon

By Allison Wickens and Denver Brunsman

“Role playing is a particularly effective pedagogical tool for the Constitutional Convention because creating the document was a deliberative process. By recreating that deliberation, students come to appreciate that the Constitution was never a given or predetermined.” — Allison Wickens and Denver Brunsman

Using Simulations to Teach Perspective and Economics

By Nina Sethi

“Simulations are an amazing way to make learning active and tangible for students and expose them to different perspectives. They also are fascinating for us (teachers) to watch and experience and help us learn more about our students.” — Nina Sethi

5th Graders Grappling with Labor Rights, Wealth, and Dynamics in Organizing

By Gabby Arca

“The buzz in the room was palpable; some students were red-faced like when they come in from recess. Even I was sweating a little (okay a medium amount!) from all of the moving pieces. I hadn’t felt this much energy and emotion around Economics the entire unit…” — Gabby Arca

Historical Empathy at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

By Allison Wickens

“This is not an article about getting students to imagine themselves as Washington; empathy is often conflated with the concept of “walking in someone else’s shoes.” Historical empathy is the process of using historical thinking skills to understand Washington’s world and his decisions so that students can draw their own conclusions about his legacy.”- Allison Wickens

Helping Students Appreciate the Journey

By Keith Harris

“While these kids work harder than any I have ever known, I have also noted that some tend to feed into a harmful culture, where the only thing that seems to matter is the transcript and a nice shiny A at the end of the year. As an educator I understand the importance of good grades, but I am equally disheartened — the kids often miss the journey for the destination.” — Keith Harris

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