Creative Adventures in Social Studies: Engaging Activities & Essential Questions to Inspire Students

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9781607099949: Creative Adventures in Social Studies: Engaging Activities & Essential Questions to Inspire Students

The creative activities and resources in this book will help teachers improve their students' academic skills, inject humor into their classes, and illustrate the connections between American history, cultural changes, human behavior, ethical issues, current events, and students' lives. Students who complete these lessons will feel a connection with their teachers and will be motivated to make a difference in the world.

This book is ideal for U.S. history and social studies instructors who have students in upper elementary, middle, high school, or college classrooms. The innovative lessons range from debates about Disney’s Pocahontas and an episode of The Simpsons to content analyses of I Love Lucy and Seinfeld, to the creation of political satire, to a paper airplane assembly line contest. The book also includes the following: fantasy Senate races; an examination of changes in the portrayals of African Americans and women in ads; American Revolution and 1920s Celebrity Meetings; a simulation of the American colonies in which students earn “money” and pay taxes; an animal rights debate about Ugg boots and NBA leather basketballs; college admissions interviews for influential people; and explorations involving music, architecture, movies, acting, art, and political cartoons.

The exercises help teachers build a strong classroom community and reach students who have different learning styles and abilities by activating students’ multiple intelligences. Overall, the lessons promote thoughtful and enthusiastic participation, and they incorporate movement, music, architecture, movies, acting, art, political cartoons, and technology. This book provides social studies teachers and education professors with new ideas that will invigorate their classroom and energize students.

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About the Author:

Daniel Peppercorn is an 8th grade teacher and social studies curriculum coordinator who graduated Magna Cum Laude in History from Harvard College and received his Ed.M. from Harvard's Graduate School of Education. He is a former all-state athlete and coach who performs improv, makes films, and is working on a humorous novel.

Review:

In several decades of teaching history and social studies, Dan Peppercorn has poured his energy and creativity into bringing history alive in his classroom. This rich compendium of how-to-activities, focused on political history and popular culture, will be a godsend for teachers launching their careers. (Gary Nash, professor and director, National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA)

Dan Peppercorn taught my two sons 8th grade U.S. history class. After our first back-to-school night with Mr. Peppercorn, it was clear that his students would be in for a rich learning experience. Dan is a teacher who connects with his students through his ability to blend engaging activities with noteworthy historical content. His students act as historians, answering questions and making judgments about important issues, both current and historical. His instruction is authentic in the best sense of the word―involving substantive issues, demanding focused engagement, and offering real world relevance and personal connection that inevitably hooks his students. (Patrick McQuillan, associate professor of education, Boston College)

Dan Peppercorn has an extraordinary gift for teaching and writing, and he is a fellow catalyst for change in the classroom. His innovative book includes a wealth of engaging activities that motivate and inspire students. Based on my experiences with the Freedom Writers, I recommend that educators incorporate this book and use the creative lessons to spice up their syllabi. His interactive exercises promote critical thinking at its best, in the hopes that all students can exceed academic expectations. (Erin Gruwell, president, Freedom Writers Foundation, and author of The Freedom Writers Diary)

Visiting Dan Peppercorn's class on Curriculum Night has become a tradition and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Social Studies Adventures contains his creative lessons that get students excited about examining American culture, social history, current events, and human behavior. The essential questions and unit timelines give students the structure they need to be successful. New teachers can use this groundbreaking book as an entire curriculum, and experienced teachers can use the activities to streamline their curriculum, stay fresh, and reach more students. (John Antonucci, superintendent, Westwood Public Schools, Massachusetts)

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