planning for a social studies class

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by cima, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. cima

    cima Rookie

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    Aug 1, 2016

    Hello, I will be teaching middle school social studies this year. May I get some ideas on how to plan out an hour and a half class. What do you do from start to finish? How often do you give quizes and tests? I am teaching U.S. and World history. Thank you, any advice would be appreciated
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Aug 1, 2016

    I will say the more collaborative and engaging activities you have the kids participating in, the more time will fly. So think about this as you plan and try to avoid simply reading the textbook and answering worksheet questions for 90 minutes. Eww!

    Bellwork/ spiral review activity (10-15 minutes)
    -- Use this time to review the previous lesson's material. It can be just a simple response to some questions, a prompt, or picture. You could post a picture of the Constitutional Convention, for example, and ask "What's going on in this picture?" And then complete the "my favorite no" activity (which I found on Teaching channel) where you collect all responses sort them into "Yes" and "No" piles and then pick your favorite "No" (mistake/error) to discuss with the class. If the kid's response is WAY OFF, then it can lead to an interesting discussion which -- if you let it -- could eat up time.
    Introduce day's objectives/ essential questions (5 minutes)
    -- MS Social studies is CONTENT so you'll be teaching them specific material you want them to learn (facts & dates) but you can present it to them in interesting ways. If you present them as essential questions it can lead the students to be thinking about them and want to find the answers. Rather than simply say "Open the book to page ... and here are today's objectives..." (As is the way I've been taught SS for YEARS!) :down: If you're in a Common Core state, you'll also be teaching literacy in addition to the standards, so just remember this. You can't assume that the kids "know" how to read. Every teacher is a reading teacher is today's mantra. So make sure you plan for some literacy lessons and activities tied into the content as well.
    I student taught sixth grade ELA/ SS so I became quite familiar.

    "Here's what I'd like us to think about today guys..."
    Question 1:
    Question 2:
    Question 3:


    If you read two texts on a historical topic, for example, be ready to model and teach to: 1) Find the main idea and details of each, 2) compare and contrast, and 3) write supporting an argument using facts. (There's a reason these standards show up across the grades & subjects.)

    Teacher model / instruction (15-20 minutes* )
    -- Now this is where you need to decide: Who am I as a teacher? Because based on this answer will determine how you treat this block of time. This is where you'll model and instruct, but if you're an old school teacher, you'll just lecture at the kids for most -- or all -- of the block and instruct them to take notes. Some will, some won't, and you probably won't get what you want from a lesson. Or you can teach a mini - lesson presenting the most important information and the bulk of the learning will take place in the next two sections. During this time you can lecture, use a textbook, videos, music, etc. any means to teach. Just use a variety of methods and don't OVER USE one.

    Student collaboration (25-30 minutes*)
    Give the kids some task and time to work. This is where they can look at the text-book and maybe complete a scavenger hunt for information? Or if you're teaching a skill like compare and contrast, they can work together to do it. Literacy is definitely important, but it shouldn't just be "Now let's read these pages and complete this worksheet." This is why so many students loath social studies because, in my opinion, the old school way of teaching it is so impersonal and boring. Students should feel a connection to learning history. They should know WHY they have to learn it. For example: teaching the Constitution should go beyond, "Here's the document." It should go, "Here's why YOU need to learn it." I loved teaching it and the amendments and then relating it to students' lives. I taught in a STEM program so the students were always collaborating in groups and completing some project based tasks. Maybe they create a poster? Presentation? Write a book? Make a model? They need to learn the information and DO something with it.
    Our students had learned about ancient civilizations and had to create a "junk bot" (created from recycled materials) to fit into a culture and complete some tasks associated with it (like farming in Ancient China.) and they had to create an advertisement to present the robot, what it did, and how it tied to the culture. Some kids created a robot that helped with moving the materials to make the pyramids in Egypt.

    Student Independent practice & assessment (10-15 minutes)
    The students will complete some final assessment (e.g. exit slip, mini quiz, Iclicker responses, whatever) where they have to independently demonstrate that they have learned what you want them to (e.g. I know what the first amendment is and why it's important.) Students can hand it in or for engagement, maybe trade and grade each other's responses. If you have technology, embrace & use it. Maybe the students respond to some blog prompts? OR text in their answers?

    I always like this so students can get on the spot feedback. Obviously I don't do this for official tests or quizzes. I give them final tests at the end of the week.


    Closure (5 minutes)
    Just a quick wrap up/ debrief and review the objectives/ essential questions: "So why was... important?" and opportunity to answer any final questions the students may have before the bell rings.


    Tip?Whatever you do, OVER PLAN! It's better to have more activities than time vs. the alternative. This is where problems happen. When kids are "bored" with nothing to do, they'll find something to amuse themselves.
    I'd advise watching Teaching Channel videos so you can get lesson and engagement ideas from MS/ HS teachers that are content aligned. But elementary teachers can help with a lot of making the lessons more "kid friendly" too. Especially the teachers who have worked in BOTH areas!

    :thumbs:;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
    otterpop, DizneeTeachR and cima like this.
  4. cima

    cima Rookie

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    Aug 1, 2016

    Wow, thank you so much. I never expected such a detailed response but I really appreciate it. I am really going to try to incorporate some of the teaching strategies you listed.
     
  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Aug 2, 2016

    Writing it out helps me organize my own lesson plan format. Because I too struggle with planning for 90/ 120 minute blocks. It is A LOT of time, isn't it? Almost dauntingly so. But once you get immersed in activities (other than just sitting there watching the kids drone on through the text book), you'll find that the time is eaten up. Nobody wants to sit there and read a text-book or complete worksheets for 90 minutes. You don't and the kids don't either. And like I said, the more A,B,C, activities you have, the better off your block will be. When we're really in the groove and it's already time to pack up for lunch, the kids say, "It's time to leave already?" I didn't believe it either. LOL

    o_O
     
  6. Committed2DaProfession

    Committed2DaProfession Rookie

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    Mar 16, 2017

    We have 45 minute periods. Sorry.
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Mar 16, 2017

    This is more of a general tip, but I recommend finding a few go-to structures that you can use repeatedly for different activities. Then, when your students (and you) get confident with those few strategies, introduce a new one.

    If you know the content you're going to teach and have a repertoire of a few routines you can use, planning is much easier.

    These 5 are good ones to start with:
    https://www.kaganonline.com/free_ar...Starting-Point-for-Kagan-Cooperative-Learning
     

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