Friday, May 27, 2011

PLN: Book Study - Focus, Chapter 5

Social studies is no different than the recurring theme in earlier chapters; students need intensive, frequent reading, lots of talking, writing and arguing about the people, issues and events of the past and present. (132-133) How will students be engaged in class if they don’t read and write about issues that matter to them? We have to balance textbook reading with primary sources and provide opportunities for written and spoken argument and defense.

Chapter 5: Social Studies with Reading and Writing at the Core
  • “Like literature, social studies broadens our vision and sensibilities beyond the limits of direct experience.” (132)
  • Social studies needs authentic literacy and controversy at its core. How else will students learn to argue and defend?
  • Students have to be taught to “argue with the text” – challenge, question, defend.
  • Social studies curriculum should include:
    • Carefully selected standards
    • Selected textbook pages (not the whole textbook)
    • About 35 (or more) primary source documents/current event articles (this is at least one per week)
    • Planned, interactive lectures
    • Essential, overarching questions for each unit
    • End of unit written response (where students respond to essential question using evidence from texts; this is completed in class)
  • Finding “truth and evidence” in texts revolves around task, text and talk. (136, 139)
    • Task = purpose; why is the task interesting?
    • Text = textbook selections, articles, primary source documents; current and historical texts
    • Talk = discussion around the texts and essential questions (this is modeled and guided for students); Socratic discussion; this discussion become the basis for written response
  • “We should model how to read, talk, and write ‘argumentatively and analytically’ at least two times per week, every week, at every grade level.” (146)
  • Modeling isn’t enough, teachers need to circulate to check for understanding and have students pair-share their annotated notes.
  • Contemporary texts (including short biographies, current events, late breaking news) should match the historical time periods being studied.
  • Controversial texts can be read alongside the textbook. (157)

This deep, close reading and annotating in social studies would ensure students make connections with history. This makes me think of Harvey Daniels and Stephanie Harvey’s Inquiry Circles in Action .


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