Meaningful Social Studies

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Meaningful Social Studies Introduction Today many classroom teachers are faced with the challenge of delivering meaningful and powerful social studies lessons to their students. This paper will explain how the learning cycle can help students gain a better understanding when learning new concepts. This paper will also give an example of a Native American Indians unit can be taught in a 4th grade classroom, covering the following contents: Location; Movement/Migration; and Individuals Groups, Institutions. In addition this paper will address the 4th grade performance objective(s) and Georgia social studies standards used in this unit. Additionally, this paper will explain and justify the use of various instructional strategies that could be used for the learning cycle and the phases of the learning cycle which can help students construct their understanding of these concepts and support these beliefs from three peer-reviewed articles. According to Sunal & Haas, 2011 the learning cycle is comprises of the following three phases: (a) The exploratory introduction phase; (b) The lesson development phase; and (c) The expansion phase (p.37). According to Bevevino, Dengel, & Adams, teachers using the learning cycle format can create a series of activities that are personally meaningful to the students and give students opportunities to practice critical thinking skills. These authors go on to explain that the goal of the learning cycle is to allow students to apply previous knowledge, develop interests, and initiate and maintain a curiosity toward the materials at hand" (1999). During the exploration introduction phase students are required to use prior knowledge and experience to solve a problem or series of problems (Bevevino, ... ... middle of paper ... ... 275-8. doi: 10.1080/00098659909599406 Georgia Department of Education., (2008). SOCIAL STUDIES GRADE FOUR STANDARDS. Retrieved July 29, 2011 from Meyerson, P., & Secules, T. (2001). Inquiry cycles can make social studies meaningful—learning about the controversy in Kosovo. The Social Studies (Washington, D.C.), 92(6), 267-71. doi: 10.1080/00377990109604014 Smagorinsky, P. (2010). The Culture of Learning to Teach: The Self-Perpetuating Cycle of Conservative Schooling. Teacher Education Quarterly, 37(2), 19-31. Retrieved July 29, 2011 from OmniFile Full Text Select database Sunal, C.S., & Haas, Mary E., (2011), Social Studies for the elementary and middle grades: A Constructivist Approach (4th ed) Boston, MA: Pearson Education INC.
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