Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Next Step To Place

       Tara Smith at A Teaching Life has begun a new meme, Social Studies Wednesdays, which touches so many kinds of teachers in their curriculum.  In some way or another, we all teach some social studies in our classes.  Please join her by posting your blog with ideas of work with students.  
       Last week I started talking about the beginning of studying place in the area of social studies.  I told how I usually began with the connections of personal places at home with a writing and art project.  



       After this personal project, we moved to the study of the school's geographical place.  Our school was fortunate to be able to move into several buildings on the disbanded Lowry Air Force Base, which has been in the process of re-development since the early 1990s.  There is a visitor center filled with the history of the base and the time before that is also shown in a few stories.  They also have an enormous diorama of the current plans remaining, where housing is, where the business district is, and all the schools, including ours!  The students loved visiting this center, were welcomed by the employees there and told numerous stories about the Lowry history learned through the years that the center has been open.  
       I showed students that through research, pieces of land hold many layers of history, and encouraged them to research our school to discover those layers.  I think this research idea could be adapted to many places, starting with your school, a favorite store in the neighborhood, a famous building in your city and so on.  The basic question to begin with is "What happened before?"  The possibility of geographic research was exciting to students.  We finished with a class timeline of the history of our building.  

9 comments:

  1. I love this lens for examining history. The idea that " pieces of land hold many layers of history" is so powerful and worthwhile spending time investigating! Thanks, Linda!

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  2. There is nothing more authentic than learning about your own school environment. What a wonderful opportunity to connect to their world around them. It is fascinating to think about these connections.

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  3. What a neat opportunity for students to learn the history of something so close to their hearts. It is often so hard for children to see things outside of themselves, what a great way of engaging them in digging into the historical significance and changes that occur over time in their community.

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  4. Linda,
    I admire the way you are constantly supporting bloggers. Thank you for encouraging so many of us. Like Tara, I was struck by your line, "pieces of land hold may layers of history."
    Ruth

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  5. Thanks to all who came by. I believe social studies can be so interesting and interconnected to our writing work in both fiction and non-fiction, like those 'layers' of stories. There is motivation here because it's 'our' place we're researching, and it's so nice to be exploring lessons with a friend, Tara, and now Maria. I hope more people will join us as we move along.

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  6. LOVE this new meme that Tara started. I wish I were teaching SS right now so I could contribute more to this meme/conversation.

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    1. Thanks Stacey. It seems to me that all these areas are quite interwoven, & I hope that more will join Tara in this new idea!

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  7. That diorama sounds awesome - what a true sign for students that there is importance/value in their location. I love curriculum that focuses on students' own community.

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    1. It is quite wonderful to see. And it's additionally been a wonderful model to show for students who will be building their own model for some kind of area.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!