Social Studies Alive!
Eight Powerful Teaching Strategies
Social Studies Alive! is a program that highly engages students in the learning of key historical concepts. Students are active participants instead of passive observers, experiencing history through innovative teaching practices that include dramatic role-playing, creative simulations, dynamic group projects, and writing from a historical perspective. Students have access to their textbook on line using their personal computers provided at school. They can also monitor their own learning using an Internet Tutorial.
An Interactive Student Notebook is a keystone component of the Social Studies Alive! Curriculum. This is where all the parts of the integrated lesson come together---the lesson Preview activity, the Reading Notes from the chapter’s content, and the Processing assignment.
Social Studies Alive! combines the following three educational theories:
1. Students have multiple intelligences. Howard Gardner’s research found that every student excels in two or three of the multiple intelligences. According to theory, every student is intelligent---but in different ways. Seven intelligences have been identified:
Ø Verbal Linguistic
2. Cooperative interaction increases learning and improves social skills. The second theoretical premise behind this approach is based on Elizabeth Cohen’s findings that cooperative groupwork leads to increased student interaction and, ultimately, to increased learning gains. Teaching history in an interactive and engaging way necessitates creating a cooperative, tolerant classroom. In this environment, students will learn to share ideas, to work together cooperatively, to tolerate differences, to disagree honestly, and to take risks---and all students will feel valued and respected. The curriculum offers a careful, step-by-step program of cooperative skill building. This curriculum correlates with our school focus of leadership and communication.
3. All students can learn. The third theoretical premise behind Social Studies Alive! approach is the idea of the spiral curriculum. Championed by educational theorist Jerome Bruner, the spiral curriculm is the belief that all students can learn if a teacher shows them how to think and discover knowledge for themselves. Students learn progressively more difficult concepts through a process of step-by-step discovery.
Here are some tips on supporting your child’s academic progress in Social Studies class.
- Discuss history and current events with your child, and listen to what your child has to say.
- Ask to see the Interactive Student Notebook on a regular basis, so you can see for yourself what your child is learning.
- Provide a quiet study place, free from distractions.
- Finally, extend learning beyond the walls of the classroom by taking your child to historical sites or museums. Point out that history is all around us, that it shapes the present and the future, and that every one of us can play an active and positive role in it.