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No plan to increase achievement and enact reform in the social studies classroom will succeed without recognizing the central importance of the teacher as the gatekeeperof instruction. In this book, Thornton details why teachers must develop strong skills in curriculum planning and teaching methods in order for effective instruction to occur. Thornton helps teachers to develop a vision of their practice that will build strong social studies programs and inspire students to learn. This book features replicable examples of the kinds of reflective practice that will enable teachers to animate classroom instruction and create a dynamic social studies curriculum and an analysis of how teachers adapt and shape state and district level curricula and classroom materials to fit the specific needs of their students, and a model of how to develop an instructional program with suggestions for lesson planning.
No plan to increase achievement and enact reform in the social studies classroom will succeed without recognizing the central importance of the teacher as the “gatekeeper” of instruction. In this book, Thornton details why teachers must develop strong skills in curriculum planning and teaching methods in order for effective instruction to occur. Thornton helps teachers to develop a vision of their practice that will build strong social studies programs and inspire students to learn. Features: An approach to preparing purposeful teachers, acknowledging that teachers make daily decisions concerning what to teach and how to teach it. Replicable examples of the kinds of reflective practice that will enable teachers to animate classroom instruction and create a dynamic social studies curriculum. An analysis of how teachers adapt and shape state and district level curricula and classroom materials to fit the specific needs of their students—a model of how to develop an instructional program with suggestions for lesson planning. In-depth examinations of alternative ways of educating teachers in subject matter and teaching methods. “In this important book, Steve Thornton brings a Deweyan perspective to current problems in social studies education. He does more, however, because his analysis can be extended profitably to every subject in the curriculum.” —From the Foreword by Nel Noddings “A thoughtful and carefully documented analysis. . . . Let us hope that this book encourages a richer dialogue than the now-tedious and generally unproductive separate disciplines v. integrated social studies debate.” —Linda S. Levstik, University of Kentucky, Lexington “A refreshingly clearheaded, historically grounded, altogether enlightening analysis. This is the book I've been waiting for.” —Walter Parker, University of Washington
This book explains the content of nine areas in social studies. If teachers know what history, biographical studies, and the United States Constitution mean for instruction, they can increase the probability of better-focused content in their social studies instruction.
This practical book shows how veteran, justice-oriented social studies teachers are responding to the Common Core State Standards, focusing on how they build curriculum, support students' literacy skills, and prepare students to think and act critically within and beyond the classroom. In order to provide direct classroom-to-classroom insights, the authors draw on letters written by veteran teachers addressed to new teachers entering the field. The first section of the book introduces the three approaches teachers can take for teaching for social justice within the constraints of the Common Core State Standards (embracing, reframing, or resisting the standards). The second section analyzes specific approaches to teaching the Common Core, using teacher narratives to illustrate key processes. The final section demonstrates how teachers develop, support, and sustain their identities as justice-oriented educators in standards-driven classrooms. Each chapter includes exemplary lesson plans drawn from diverse grades and classrooms, and offers concrete recommendations to guide practice. This book: offers advice from experienced educators who have learned to successfully navigate the constraints of high-stakes testing and standards-based mandates; shares and analyzes curricular and pedagogical approaches to teaching the Common Core; and examines a range of philosophical and political stances that teachers might take as they navigate the unique demands of teaching for social justice in their own context.
To achieve quality education in American schools, we need a better understanding of the way classroom instruction works. Susan S. Stodolsky addresses this need with her pioneering analysis of the interrelations between forms of instruction, levels of student involvement, and subject matter. Her intensive observation of fifth-grade math and social studies classes reveals that subject matter, a variable overlooked in recent research, has a profound effect on instructional practice. Stodolsky presents a challenge to educational research. She shows that classroom activities are coherent actions shaped by the instructional context—especially what is taught. Stodolsky contradicts the received view of both teaching and learning as uniform and consistent. Individual teachers arrange instruction very differently, depending on what they are teaching, and students respond to instruction very differently, depending on the structure and demands of the lesson. The instructional forms used in math classes, a "basic" subject, and social studies classes, an "enrichment" subject, differ even when the same teacher conducts both classes. Social studies classes show more diversity in activities, while math classes are very similar to one another. Greater variety is found in social studies within a given teacher's class and when different teachers' classes are compared. Nevertheless, in the classrooms Stodolsky studied, the range of instructional arrangements is very constricted. Challenging the "back to basics" movement, Stodolsky's study indicates that, regardless of subject matter, students are more responsive to instruction that requires a higher degree of intellectual complexity and performance, to learning situations that involve them in interaction with their peers, and to active modes of learning. Stodolsky also argues that students develop ideas about how to learn a school subject, such as math, by participating in particular activities tied to instruction in the subject. These conceptions about learning are unplanned but enduring and significant consequences of schooling. The Subject Matters has important implications for instructional practice and the training, education, and supervision of teachers. Here is a new way of understanding the dynamics of teaching and learning that will transform how we think about schools and how we study them.
The provocative title of this book plays on a too-familiar response from teachers and students alike. But now many teachers have begun to seek an approach to social studies that takes account of the ways children learn and that builds on their own knowledge and strengths. The authors in this book have found ways to do this. Wendy Hood writes in the Introduction that they have “. . . not only rediscovered social studies education in general, they have also found themselves exploring the many disciplines of the social sciences that combine to make social studies . . . The issues of the disciplines are visible, the content of the disciplines is visible, and the questions central to each discipline are central in these classrooms. While the studies described began in one discipline, they branched out or melted into one or more of the others.” In this contributed collection, twenty-three teachers explain their successful strategies for teaching the social studies disciplines in a whole- language context. If This Is Social Studies covers contemporary subjects (the Gulf War), traditional topics (students as historians), well-known projects (Scottish Storyline), social studies in the community, and multicultural matters. Teachers at elementary through middle and high school levels will find this book's holistic approach to social studies a refreshing departure and a source of new, practical ideas. Indeed, the diversity of ideas and styles is as broad as the book's subject!
Social Studies Today: Research and Practice inspires educators to think freshly and knowingly about social studies education in the early years of the twenty first century. Written by the field’s leading scholars, this collection provokes readers to consider the relationship of research and practice as they think through some of the most interesting challenges that animate social studies education today. Contributors to this volume include luminaries like James Banks, Carole Hahn, Keith Barton, Geneva Gay, Steve Thornton, Linda Levstik, Sam Wineburg, Fred Newmann and more. Each chapter tackles a specific issue and includes discussion of topics such as teaching history, learning tolerance, assessment, globalization, children’s literature, culturally relevant pedagogy, and teaching about genocide. Walter Parker not only pulled these chapters together but also contributes two of his own---both of which are sure to be cited as key works of this era. Accessible, compelling, and full of rich examples and illustrations, this collection showcases some of the most original thinking in the field and offers pre- and in-service teachers alike new ways to improve social studies instruction.

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