Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A New Meme To Celebrate!

SOCIAL STUDIES WEDNESDAYS!
Tara Smith who writes the blog A Teaching Life is inviting any blogger who wishes to link up to a new meme, SOCIAL STUDIES WEDNESDAYS, for teachers of different areas of social studies to share ideas from their teaching or other resources discovered.  I am happy to join her and share some of the ideas I've used in the past and those the teachers with whom I work are discussing.  I am the school's literacy coach and try to incorporate literacy into every area of the school through sharing ideas and discussions of what's currently happening with a group, a class or an individual student.

Social Studies is defined by the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a part of a school or college curriculum concerned with the study of social relationships and the functioning of society and usually made up of courses in history, government, economics, civics, sociology, geography, and anthropology.  It's a big subject!  I also found at that site that the first known use of the term social studies happened in 1926.  Obviously, it encompasses such a wide area and I know that many schools focus grade by grade on a set curriculum, yet within each curriculum study there is a wealth of possibilities. I imagine that what Tara is hoping is that we will share those possibilities.

In my thinking for this new challenge, I thought I would begin with a basic topic/theory I have often taught to students, or have had a student research it herself when appropriate.  You may already know about it, and I think it's probably most appropriate for about 10 years and up.  It is a theory of Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, named Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  Essentially it is the idea that people need to fulfill certain basic needs in order to move to another level.  I have used this when studying the motivation for cruelty in the world, for theft, for heinous acts like slavery and the Holocaust.  It seems important to me that children learn some reasons for people's acts, to try to figure out their world.
Even young children can benefit from a conversation about the differences between "wants" and "needs".

The chart found in the link above, or in numerous graphics on Google images is endlessly interesting to students, and helps them to find out more about themselves, too.



10 comments:

  1. You are exactly right in identifying my motivations for this, Linda. We may all teach different time periods in histroy, but the methodologies and the intentions are essentially the same. The more we share what we do, the better our ideas about our own curriculums will be, right?! Anyway, thanks for sharing Maslow's Hierarchy - I would never have thought of applying it to social studies, but (of course!) now I see that it fits perfectly!

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    1. Thanks Tara. I am excited about this, & hope there will be others joining in!

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  2. Wants and needs is a big part of the SS curriculum in first grade...I'm thinking there are quite a few adults who missed that lesson!

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    1. I agree Donna, & it has always been important to me that my students learn these basic tenets, and that there is a choice for some, but not for all. Thanks!

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  3. Neat, I will be checking this out! What a great opportunity to share and learn. Thanks.

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    1. I hope you'll join us, Betsy. Thanks for thinking about it. There is so much to share.

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  4. Oh wow, what a cool meme! I should include this in my presentation of KidLit resources during the Asian Festival of Children's Content. Looks like something that teachers here in Singapore would greatly benefit from.

    I love that you made mention of Maslow, one of my favorite psychologists. In one of the recent paper I have just submitted for peer-review - I talked about Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how a different kind of nuance may also be gleaned from alternative perspectives. His consummate level is the self - the actualization of the self. Among most Asians, for example (I'd be careful to overgeneralize), the self is commonly subsumed under the interests of the community. In that paper, I was positing that there might be other things that propel an individual forward, apart from self-enhancement or actualization. I haven't heard from the reviewers yet, but I'm crossing my fingers that it'd be favorably received. :)

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    1. Interesting thought. Do you mean that the individual might also gain from working within and for the community? I haven't studied him thoroughly, but will read a little more, Myra. Thank you for telling me, and best of luck with this new idea!

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  5. I'm not sure if I can take on participating in another meme right now, but I will be following this with interest.

    I love your sentences:
    It seems important to me that children learn some reasons for people's acts, to try to figure out their world.
    Even young children can benefit from a conversation about the differences between "wants" and "needs".

    Very smart ideas for all of us who work with children.

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    1. Thank you Karen. That "why" of things was always so important to me to aid students in understanding, to give them tools which would help them figure things out.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!