I need a lot of help with my Sociology Class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by historyguy79, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2008

    I'll take any suggestions. I've had about one Sociology Class in my life, a few psych, and maybe some other related things, but it's not my main area. Unlike my history classes, I have no idea what to teach. I can come up with activities and ideas I want to do in history, but I'm lost in sociology. All I've been given is a book and some videos the other teachers used to use (only 4, and they are Hollywood movies).

    So far, we've just used Sociological practices in identifying culture in a movie, had them make posters on subcultures/countercultures, and took some notes. I am planning on testing them this week and finally getting out of the basic ideas of sociology and getting into the things these kids signed up for this class for. Gangs, relationships, suicide, groups, and things like this.

    But I'm terrible at making activities up for this. I'm more of a hard reading and writing guy, which works great with history. For an elective sociology class which is taken as an easy but interesting class, I have no idea where to go. Like I said, nothing but a book and some movies. No worksheets, no lesson plans, nothing.


    So, any suggestions haha?
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I can't teach soc so I can't help. But I do have a question, in Indiana my license is very specific with what I can teach - World History, US History, Geography, Government and Econ. How does your license read?? Can you teach all social studies content areas??
     
  4. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    I have an idea for depicting upward mobility. Write on the board, "If you work hard and apply yourself, you can be anyone you want to be and enjoy a nice life for yourself." Ask the kids if they agree or disagree with this statement; it should get some good responses. Then show some pictures of south-central LA with one or two success stories in between. Ask again, is this statement true in your eyes?

    Then I would have the kids try to create a "day in the life" of someone growing up in an impoverished, violent area in the inner city. Make sure they take into account no parents, pressure to join gangs, prostitution, drugs, etc.

    Then ask again: do you still believe the first statement? I would imagine the class response would be different.

    At this point I would then hand out four questions for the kids to answer, such as, "What factors might hinder someone's upward mobility in society, how can the process be reversed, should we resort to handouts, what are the dangers/benefits of welfare, etc.

    I am so jealous you get to teach Soc. I am enthralled with this subject and the awesome discussions you would be able to have with your class. I really hope this helps; when I get more ideas I'll try to pass them along.
     
  5. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Oh and of course, discuss at the end! And keep track of student participation for grading! Best of luck to you.
     
  6. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Whenever I get to upward Mobility I will do that. The thing I hate is, the class is about 90 minutes, so it's hard sometimes to get a discussion going for that long in some cases. It's block scheduling, so I need to be able to give them some kind of work between all the discussing and what not.

    But, the way the class is perceived at the school, it's a very laid back and fun class. They don't want to be looking at serious data and analyzing it. Neither would I. I guess my problem is that I don't like sociology much. I have a general interest in it, especially when it ties to history, but not so much that I would want to teach it. I would do better with something like Mythology or something of that nature, but I doubt any teacher is giving that one up anytime soon.

    But yea, more help from anyone who has any ideas or resources.
     
  7. TCCBanks

    TCCBanks New Member

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    Feb 13, 2008

    Sorry this is sooooo long!

    Hello, I teach a GED program that is three hours long so I know how it is to struggle to fill all the time. Also my major in college was in sociology. I think that I could help you a great deal but I was wondering how old are your students and if there are any guidelines you must follow. I would start by breaking sociology into different parts like: sex and gender, family problems and social change, race and ethnicity, violence against women, and so on. One lesson I remember was when my instructor would bring in newspapers or articles of the internet and we would read them while looking for the way the article and the people in the article were portrayed. What were the differences between how the men and women we talked about and how were they shown in pictures. I have so much information but I just dont have my books with me at school. If you need help I can try and give you all the info I have. Some great books to read and dicuss are "Surviving Domestic Violence" and "A Child Called It" I can find out the authors if you want me to. Let me know If you would like some help.

    Reguarding Violence Against Women I have assignments on:
    1. What is Violence? (worth 10 points)
    Write a one page (or longer) essay (typed, double-spaced) on gender & violence that addresses what you view as “violence” versus “not violence” at this point in your thinking. How are gender and violence linked? Why do you think gender and violence are linked (as far as you understand)? You may look up terms in the dictionary, talk to friends, or do whatever you like but do NOT worry about ‘getting it right.’ Rather, explore your personal thoughts and beliefs and reasoning behind them. Include examples to show what you mean, e.g., is a teacher who spanks a child at school acting violently? Why or why not? Come to class prepared to discuss.

    2. Experience with Violence (worth 20 points)
    Write a two to four page reflection on violence and your experiences with it. I am not asking you to disclose your personal experience of being a victim of violence necessarily (although please feel free to do so). Rather, if you are uncomfortable writing about a personal experience as victim, you may write about situations that you have witnessed or heard about. Be sure to analyze how gender plays a role

    3. Media and Violence (worth 30 points)
    This assignment will require you to read through news accounts of violence against women and locate an article and critique, reflect, and react to it in two to four pages. The article must be current (within the last year) and you must include the clipping with your reaction. In this assignment you should do the following:
     Summarize the story in no more than half of a page.
     Locate any potential bias that might be observable in the story as we discussed in class. Who do the reporters interview? What arguments are they making? Do they adhere to myths about violence against women? Are the victims properly portrayed as victims? How do they refer to the victim and perpetrator?

    4. Interview Questions (worth 30 points)
    Later in the semester you will interview 4 people about their experiences with violence. Develop a series of questions you will ask concerning violence in general and perhaps a type of violence more specifically. Make sure that you incorporate things you have learned thus far in class about methodology. You will turn in this set of questions as well as a description of how you will locate participants.

    5. Safety Log (worth 40 points)
    This assignment requires that you maintain a safety log over the course of 48 hours. You will need to record all activities and measures you take to maintain your safety. This will require you to be critical about actions you take for granted. Please record a timeline of your activities and corresponding safety measures. Begin this assignment on 10/17 from the time you awake and conclude it on 10/18 when you go to sleep. You must also include a one page reflection on what you notice about the safety measures you take.

    A. Select 10 ads featuring people from any women’s magazine. Do these ads promote violence against women? Create a thesis statement which answers this question. Throughout this two to four page paper, support and defend your theses. If you feel that some ads promote violence while others do not, differentiate which you view as being problematic and explain why and how you made the distinction. Explain what you mean by “promotes violence against women” and describe the images used and how gender is constructed in the ads and how violence is portrayed (if at all). Discuss the limits of your claim – if you argue that your ads promote violence against women because they depict women as passive objects, also describe any ways that they promote strong images of women. If possible, describe how race, class, and sexuality are constructed in your ads and discuss any patterns you notices which relate to your thesis.
    B. Read some mother goose nursery rhymes and/or children’s books and identify themes or messages that condone violence and abuse. Analyze the messages. You must do this with a critical eye and reflect in a two to four page paper.
    C. Watch a full run of Saturday morning cartoons on a local network and count the violent acts per segment. Pay special attention to the violent acts and who commits them and who the victims are. Is the violence seen as acceptable or unacceptable? Note examples of racism, sexism, intolerance, and ethnocentrism. Analyze the messages in a two to four page paper.
    D. Watch a popular movie and count the acts of violence and the use of sexism, racism, intolerance, and ethnocentrism. Analyze the messages in a two to four page paper.
    E. In a social setting with several people, bring up the topic of rape, family violence, or stalking. What is the response? Do your friends and family repeat any of the myths we discuss in class? You must not let them know this is part of an assignment. Also, challenges the myths posed with facts and note their response. Reflect upon this in a two to four page paper.
    F. You may develop an alternative project as long as you consult with me and receive approval beforehand.
    G. Design a campaign to increase public awareness about a particular form of violence against women. Be creative in doing so and create a write-up for me along with any materials you develop.

    9. Paper and Presentation on Perpetuation of Violence (worth 100 points)
    More information on this assignment will be provided in class - due during the Final Examination Period at the conclusion of the semester. You will be expected to write a three to six page paper that links what you have learned through class discussions and in the readings to answer the more general question of why violence against women continues in our society. You may focus on one type of violence against women or the more broad aspect of violence against women.
     
  8. TCCBanks

    TCCBanks New Member

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    Sorry for the points and stuff on the assignments all I did was copy and paste the assignments from my folder.
     
  9. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    ^Actually, some of those are really good ideas. Like violence and sexism on tv, having them identify those could be fun. I wouldn't have them put it in a paper though. If my 11th grade social studies class is any indication, they would be bad. But short page or just information gathering would work great.


    Thanks. I'll see where I can inject some of this stuff.
     
  10. TCCBanks

    TCCBanks New Member

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    They dont have to write papers you can break them into groups or even divide the class in half and have a debate on two different sides of the issues. Also, if your students are bad at writing papers it would be beneficial to them if they had more practice.
     
  11. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Feb 13, 2008

    One great sociology assingment I did was to compare two cities in MI, as a northern city they have Southern mid 20th century problems St. Joseph (white) and Benton Harbor (black) they are seperated only by a river, but also by so much more. We did a study into why there is such a disparity in jobs, investment, schools. It got us into discussions on poverty, racisim and similiar issues.

    Here are some websites that might be helpful
    http://home.att.net/~rmmwms/other/sociologyteachers.html
    http://home.att.net/~sociologyclassroom/home.html
    http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/index.html
    http://www.socialpsychology.org/teaching.htm (scroll down to bottom)

    Hope those are useful to you.
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I have never taught Sociology, it is the only History course I have never taught (well in the SS dept). Can I help you with any other classes? I know papers are a heavy part of our Sociology classes.
     
  13. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Papers are a heavy part of my history classes. Sociology, in my school , is known as that easy class you take that is interesting. We have debate and discussion, have them research some stuff, do group presentations.

    But there really isn't paper writing. I don't disagree with practicing writing if they are bad, but I do it so much in my history class already. Sociology I like to take in a different direction.
     
  14. BeachTeach07

    BeachTeach07 Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2008

    I too am struggling with sociology as I did with psychology first semester. I am pretty much teaching myself the material on the weekend and act like I know it during the week : ) One thing I did (because I also teach history and am comfortable with it) is had "a culture a day" I too teach in 90 min blocks and the discussion of each culture took about 30-40 minutes. What i did was focus on food, common words, dress and social customs of the Greeks, Chinese, and South Africans. Students really enjoyed learning about the foods and common sayings of those cultures. I also had a cd left in my cabinet from the previous teacher with lots of songs from different cultures. I would play the song first then have the students guess from a list which culture it was from. You could do this with lots of different cultures and it takes up a good bit of class time. (90 minutes is LONG as you know) Hope this info helps!
     
  15. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    One thing I've been doing, which takes up time and I think is actually very good, is have the kids read a daily article. Something relevant to the notes of the day. It kicks the discussion off usually and transitions into the notes.

    So if I did Agents of Socialization, I would have an article on how the internet or tv affects people in society. For drugs, I may have an article about how beer companies advertise to young kids. For jobs, I had an article on how employers look at people's myspaces (basically this was to tell the kids to watch out here, they think no one looks at these things and put drunk pictures on them). Then I have them write a 1/2 page to a page response on it for about 10-15 minutes. I get a lot of good feedback from the kids, and it works as a quick assessment.

    Anyways, that's the best thing I've come up with so far haha. After that it's notes/discussion and usually a video/movie/tv show to reinforce the ideas.

    I feel wrong watching so many videos though, but the class is split right at around the 3/4 mark with lunch. By the time the kids get back to class from lunch and settled down, we have about 10-15 minutes left. So usually I just throw in a video about the topic. I don't have to many documentaries now though just having started. Usually it's a safe movie about pregnancy or drugs or some other social problem. I even throw in an episode of Saved By The Bell if it's about dating or friendship with teenagers. I feel wrong using movies, but I don't know what else to do.

    Especially since all the other sociology teachers watch so many movies, the kids almost expect it. But I want to be better than those people, but I dunno, I didn't go to school to teach sociology, my ideas are slow coming for the class.
     
  16. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    I'm just bumping this. It's a half year course in the block, so I'm already done with one run through. I didn't think it went that well personally. Not like anything went bad, but it's just not as intensive as my history classes. If it wasn't for my ability to hold an interesting discussion or tell jokes, the class would have bombed.

    I'm still clueless as to what to do in sociology that is exciting or worthwhile. At least I'm more familiar with the material for the second time around. I'll be able to pace it better as well, I still have 2 days left and I finished basically the whole class.
     
  17. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I have never taught soc. either but here's my 2 cents :)

    I don't necessarily think it is wrong to show movies as long as your students do something with the info from the movie. Are you talking about gender issues - show "Tootise" and have them chart examples throughout the movie of gender basis. Are you teaching tolerance - show Disney's "Hunchback" and have them pick one theme; religious, race, physical tolerance and write how the movie would have been differenct with tolerance. I think movies would work great in a soc class espcially if you make the kids write and think about what they saw. The writing assignment could be a reflection paper about the movie or how they could change, what would it take to make people change ect.....
     
  18. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Look into Social Psychology, there are theories in Social psychology that explains group behavior that would be interesting to use in the class.

    Discuss things like why would people watch a women be stabbed to death in a gas station and walk over her body as she bled to death and do nothing (true story, google it) Or why do cities still divide themselves along racial lines. What causes a riot and why do people participate, why tear apart their neighborhood.

    Use sociology to analyze modern issues, I have a book that will help you if you can get a hold of it, I will send the title in a little while.
     
  19. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Okay I found the book, now the book is written at a college level, but I know that their are other books at high school level that have similiar articles. The book is called Social Ethics, morality and social policy. Its by Thomas A. Mappes, and Jane S. Zembaty. The cool thing about this book is it has several articles on controversial issues. My sociology professor chose one or two articles for us to read and then we discussed it. We also applied sociology theories to the articles and he even threw in some social psychology.

    It just seems to me that the approach of using a thought provoking article to discuess and apply the theories to might just fit your style pretty well.
     
  20. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    ^Eh, if it's college level I don't think it will be useful. The class is a general level class, below college level (and I don't really even feel the college level classes at my school are real college level). So far I've been working with current events or things going on in their lives in articles from newspapers/CNN.com and things like that. I don't wanna seem like I'm always shooting your ideas down either haha, sorry. But the book might be good to pick up just for myself to buff up on the subject.

    The general level really kills the class I think. Kids come in not expecting to do any work, and usually they won't just do work sometimes. If kids fail the class and stop signing up, that means the class will be dropped off the schedule and I could be in danger of losing my position because it's one less thing they would need me for. I've actually been warned about doing intense work or things that turn the kids off. It's about selling the class to them and getting high sign ups.:unsure:
     
  21. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    History guy, the book is good for you, but it is the general topics that would be good for you. Call it a place to start for topics to discuss, and some of the analysis. Not all of articles were really complicated, and the discussion questions are good no matter the level. Just look into a book like that as a place to start. Just use the articles and the theories and make the connections between real life events and teh theories. I am doing that in my psychology class for some chapters and the kids are loving it. I am sure it will work as well in a sociology class.

    Don't forget to add the social psychology stuff and group behavior. That was the favorite of ever sociology class I took.
     
  22. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Ok, I will look into this book then. Thanks. I do need to brush up a lot on sociology haha.
     
  23. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Eh, I'm just having a lot of trouble with this class still. I mean, it goes. But really, the thing that just keeps kids interested in it is my personality. The jokes and things I have going throughout class. None of the class material is really interesting.

    I dunno, I've taken one sociology class in college and it was all lecture. I don't know how to present this information in an exciting way on a day to day basis. Sure, there is a topic here or there where I have something exciting to go with it. Usually though, all I have is article, notes/discussion, and if I run out of time usually a video.

    I have no worksheets and just giving out bookwork is boring as all hell for the kids. The class is in block so I need 90 minutes of stuff, which I never have. I'm amazed everyday I get through the class talking for 90 minutes.

    I just don't know how to deal with sociology. Really, I don't even think sociology is that great. History I know how to work with, but sociology is a yawn fest for me. It's just info, tons and tons of info. I don't know how to make it real for the kids or bring it to life. I guess that's my problem really. I have no idea what I'm doing with this:unsure: I don't even know the practical applications of sociology.

    And for some reason, the majority of websites I find all seem to have tons and tons of dead links.
     
  24. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Just off the top of my head, maybe I can have kids create a survey and maybe I'll force some of my other classes to do them haha. It's a start. Create a survey, go over how to create a good survey, and then try to predict some of the outcomes.
     
  25. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Can you tie it into history since that is your strength? Can you look at, let's say, the 1990s or early 2000s (if you favor current American history), and tackle issues that way? Or look at ancient Greek history and compare it to today--how do the actions of people differ or how are they comparable? Attack it as a history class, but focus on the societal issues? I know I didn't offer too much, but did that spark any ideas?

    Or debates? Student-led discussions?
     
  26. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Apr 23, 2008

    A couple of things:

    As far as writing assignments go, you don't have to have them write papers. You could have them do bullet lists, posters, powerpoint presentations, anything that presents organized ideas but takes the pressure of writting an essay off the students.

    I like what changeagent says about tying history into sociology. You can talk about things like gender violence, class structure, race, and group sociology and how they have changed throughout the major eras of history. This has the bonus of reinforcing what you're teaching in history.

    I also think a final project of their choosing (approved by you) would be a great way to end the course. They should do something fun and creative that presents some aspect of the course.
     
  27. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Yea, I have them do posters and small things like that, usually they do very well with it too.

    And for a final project I have them create a power point presentation, topic of their choosing.
     
  28. jessi.lewis

    jessi.lewis Rookie

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    Jun 13, 2008

    This discussion is probably dead, but I just wanted to say that I am also going to be teaching Sociology next year, and I am SOOO excited about it! (in all fairness though, I am a first year teacher:))
    Anyways, my idea for you is to give them "experiments" to plan and perform. Here's one idea you could give as an example:

    After you have discussed Social Norms, have them come up with an experiment where they BREAK a social norm and see how people respond to it.

    For example, one social norm we have as Americans is that we do not shop out of other peoples' shopping carts. There is no law or rule governing this, and the property technically still is available for purchase. Have students (probably in groups) break this norm and then report on the reactions. This would be a great discussion day, assuming you have several groups who will be reporting back to you.

    Let the kids decide which norm to break, they are so creative! :)
     

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