Social Studies for Elementary School Classrooms: Preparing Children to be Global Citizens

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9780130937384: Social Studies for Elementary School Classrooms: Preparing Children to be Global Citizens

Based on the principle that the fundamental purpose of the social studies should be the development of reflective, competent, and concerned global citizens, Social Studies for Elementary School Classrooms matches solid social studies teaching aids with examples of applications in real K-6 classrooms. Chapter topics include selecting a social studies scope and sequence; planning for social studies instruction; engaging students in learning through small groups, questions, role-playing, and simulations; aiding children in developing and applying concepts, generalizations, and hypotheses; aiding students in developing effective citizenship competencies; aiding students in developing and acting on social concern; preparing students to live in a global and culturally diverse world; comprehending, communicating, and remembering subject matter; harnessing technology to the social studies curriculum; adapting social studies instruction to individual needs; and evaluating and assessing student learning. For elementary school teachers of social studies.

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In constructing this text, our intent was to tap three bountiful wellsprings of information: teacher craft wisdom, research findings relative to instruction, and well-grounded theories. Each of these streams affords both neophytes and experienced teachers abundant insights into how effective social studies instruction can be nurtured and sustained.

Craft wisdom is that residual base of rich, informed, and practical knowledge that effective teachers have shared for centuries, often through oral rather than written histories. It embodies the lode of stories and case studies that experienced, successful teachers have passed along about "things that worked well for me" and "the pitfalls I have learned to avoid." Craft wisdom also includes the identification of instructional materials and resources that have been tested under real classroom conditions and found to be exemplary.

Such practitioner craft wisdom comes from action research that is conducted by teachers every day in their classrooms. They are often unaware of the many adjustments that they make in teaching technique, lesson plans, and classroom management and discipline routines. All these changes are in response to the needs of the students and constitute ongoing action research. Practitioner craft wisdom derives its credibility and permanency from the number of iterations of success that teachers have encountered in applying it. Teachers are not always sure why something worked or whether others will have similar success under different classroom conditions. What they can affirm are consistent positive results.

Research and theory, in turn, offer complementary insights into how teachers might most effectively teach social studies. These represent the accumulations of scholars' tested conclusions under controlled conditions and in varied settings over time. They also include scholars' hypotheses and reflective deductions undergirded by logic and evidence.

Properly focused, research and theory can yield practical applications and identify areas that require attention in our social studies classes. Researchers and theorists also can aid us in designing and selecting materials and texts that engage students and stimulate reflection. Additionally, they can provide us with models for analyzing our teaching behaviors and generating new instructional strategies.

Old friends comparing the second edition with the third will find its foundational themes intact and its point of view burnished. To wit, as a central thesis, we contend that a well-balanced social studies program consists of matters of the head, the hand, and the heart. Following on this metaphor, we continue to hold that the fundamental purpose of the social studies should be the development of reflective, competent, and concerned citizens. We also reassert the importance of theory, research, and craft wisdom as beacons for effective social studies teaching. In this context, throughout the text, constructivist approaches that engage students in meaningful activities are emphasized.

Features of This Text

This book was designed to assist preservice and inservice elementary and middle grades teachers in becoming more effective teachers of social studies. Toward this end, several steps have been taken to make it readable and understandable to audiences with different levels of experiences and needs.

Each chapter has a detailed outline on the opening page to serve as an advance organizer. Also, throughout the text, key terms appear in boldface in the text and in color in the margin to alert the reader to their importance. At the end of each chapter, two types of activities are suggested to apply and extend learning: those to be completed individually and others to be done in groups.

Numerous field-tested lessons and activities are given throughout the text. These are borrowed from a variety of sources and reflect a combination of craft wisdom, research, and theory. They cover the primary, intermediate, and middle grades. A list of these lessons and activities appears at the end of the Contents.

Organization

Chapter 1 offers an overview of the foundations of the social studies curriculum and advances a perspective on what exemplary social studies teaching entails. Chapters 2 and 3 explore the sources of the social studies curriculum, the relationship of the social sciences to the social studies, and alternative views concerning what the social studies curriculum should be.

Planning and instructional strategies constitute the core of the book and the focus of Chapters 4 through 8. In Chapter 9 we address the urgent and complex issue of how to prepare children to live in a global and culturally diverse world. Chapter 10 is devoted to strategies for aiding students in comprehending, communicating, and remembering social studies subject matter. Finally, Chapters 11 through 13 consider, respectively, ways to enrich classroom activities through technology, assist students with special needs, and assess the outcomes of social studies instruction.

New to This Edition

Again, this time there are notable changes large and small in this revision. A second voice has been added to the text. Dr. Candy Beal, a professor at North Carolina State University, has been teaching for more than thirty years and is well known as an outstanding teacher educator. She directs the NCSU middle school undergraduate teacher education program for language arts and social studies and teaches developmental theory as it applies to practice and curriculum design and methods and materials in teaching social studies. She works in local schools supporting new teachers and their projects, researches Russian education, and is a firm believer in the importance of sense of place for teachers and students.

Addressing the Issues. Another change you will find is the insertion of a new feature called Addressing the Issues. These are informational in some cases, link theory to practice in others, and we hope are always thought provoking. They have a different tone than the body of the book and will make good points for discussion.

All chapters have undergone modification to make them current with changes in research and practice. Some chapters have undergone great change. Chapter 9, for example, has a new segment that deals with the importance of integrating language arts and social studies through children's literature.

Chapter 11 has new websites and project ideas, as well as current research data from teachers in the field who are incorporating technology into all aspects of their teaching. It also raises issues regarding the use of technology to the exclusion of old tried and true ways of teaching.

One change that will be apparent is the overall focus on helping our students develop a global perspective. It is not just websites that link us electronically, but rather a mind set that moves us from an Amerocentric prejudice to an open-minded, reflective citizen-of-the-world view—a view that appreciates and values other cultures for what they bring to the world community and what they can teach us.

Finally, you will notice a new feature in the chapter summaries that will help you review what you have just read and bridge to the next chapter.

Acknowledgments

Readers have been generous with their time and suggestions for the third edition. We thank all the students and teachers with whom we have both worked for their ideas. We are grateful to Dr. Loraine Moses Stewart of Wake Forest University for her insight and contributions in the area of multicultural education. Dr. Moses is well known for her work in literature and diversity in the area of elementary social studies education. A special thanks to Dr. Marsha Alibrandi, North Carolina State University, for her suggestions and help in technology education. Dr. Alibrandi is a recognized authority in GIS and a pioneer in its use to teach the social studies. And finally we thank reviewers who guided us with ideas for this revision: John J. Chiodo, University of Oklahoma; Thomas W. Hewitt, University of South Alabama; Hazel Linton, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; and Toni Fuss Kirkwood, Florida Atlantic Uniiversity.

We know that this book will be considered in light of many others of its kind. We feel the blending of voices focusing on taking theory to practice offers readers a new dimension. Of course, comments and questions are always welcome.

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