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Summarize your learning experience in the course, learning outcomes, your successes and failures, your gainings and losses (if any), how you today is different from you in the beginning of the course, what your teaching social studies plans are and what kind of SS classroom you would like to create. 

I feel like this class really helped me increase my knowledge of social studies teaching, and how to make effective lessons for social studies. The fieldwork section of the class allowed me to take what I’d learned and implement it in a classroom to see if the students responded to it, and overall, I think that they did. 

They understood a lot quicker than I expected them to, and I needed to improvise during my lesson to make sure that they still had work to do for the entire class period, but overall, they definitely understood the lesson and seemed to have fun while they were doing it.

A teacher can learn everything there is to learn about teaching, but until you enter the classroom and apply that knowledge, it’s mostly for nothing.

Teachers are nothing without students to teach, and likewise, students place great faith in their teachers to teach them things that are meaningful. Students should leave school with knowledge that they can use in their lives, not random busy work knowledge that will never help them in the future.

In my classroom, I plan to have as much hands on work as possible. I’ve always believed that students that are having fun are learning more than students that are bored, and this was proved to me during fieldwork this year. Instead of giving the students I taught a problem and having them write out a solution to it, I let them actually be the solution to it—they had to get out of their seats and walk around the classroom, going to three different, simulated, places and interacting with three different, simulated, professions of people.

They wrote a summary afterward of what they did, and this allowed them to show their work in a physical form, after getting to physically experience it.

Actually being able to experience something is a much better way to learn then sitting in a seat listening to someone else talking about experiencing it. No matter how good a teacher is at description, until a student gets their hands on something, the understanding will not be full.

I hope in my future classroom to have my students on their feet and moving around, experiencing as much of the learning as possible, instead of only sitting in their desks. One of the things that I never liked about social studies was the fact that I was only learning what the teacher was telling me, not experiencing anything for myself.

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This blog post took awhile to put together because bullying is such a big issue, and such a difficult one to tackle.

Bullies target students that they feel they have an advantage over, whether the student is smaller, quieter, or just someone they know they can take advantage of. 

As a child, I was bullied, but not to the extreme that many students are bullied today. I was, luckily, always moving around, so any problems that I had with bullies were removed quickly enough that they didn’t hurt me too badly.

Most of the bullying that I endured was teasing, usually from other girls. However, since I was never in a school for more than two years when I was younger, these problems were never really too big of an issue. 

The only school that I was in for more than two years was the high school I graduated from, and even then it was only three years. At my high school, bullying was not a high-occurance activity, as most of the students (at least in my year) were amicable with each other. It was something I was not used to when I got there, and I was surprised to find that I could connect every girl in the year through at least one of my friends. It made high school much easier, and also makes bullying harder to relate to.

Unfortunately, bullies get smarter every day, finding new and harsher ways to torment other students. It’s a problem that all teachers try and avoid, and all teachers have difficulties with.

Bullies are hard to track and bullying is a hard problem to fix. Many students don’t want to talk about being bullied, and few bullies will admit that they are bullying others. They know not to bully around a teacher, making it difficult for teachers to see it happening, and with more and more occurrences of cyber bullying, bullying is getting even harder to spot.

Bullying is a huge problem in our schools, and one that is, unfortunately, difficult to stop.

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One of the activities we did during my Social Studies methods class was an artifact bag. I’ve lived all over the world, so coming up with artifacts for this was a lot easier than I expected. I chose artifacts that had come from Korea and Japan, and made part of my activity figuring out which was which.

When I’d gathered artifacts, I had four, and a book. The book was a book that I was given when I lived in Japan, called Tokyo Friends, which compares American life to that of a typical Japanese family through the lives of two friends that live in Tokyo.

In addition to the book, I had a kokeshi doll, a replica of a Korean painted screen, a fan, and a miniature Japanese tea set.

The kokeshi doll means the most to me. A kokeshi doll is a wooden, painted doll that comes from Northern Japan. My kokeshi doll, however, has a scroll of paper around it that I used to have all of my friends sign when I left a country. Moving around so much as a child meant that I was always leaving friends. This allowed me to have something from all the friends that I left, and over the years I completely filled it up.

This experience was an enjoyable one for me because it allowed me to have a personal connection to what I am learning.

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For this project, I worked with one partner, and we read articles on geography education. Our articles explained different ways to teach geography.

My article explained that geography is more than learning where things are—it is also about learning the cardinal directions, map-reading and perception of your surroundings.

My partner’s article brought up an activity that involves students mapping their surroundings, either the classroom that they’re in, or the outside of their school. This activity has students on their feet and making maps, which is fun for them to do.

Students that enjoy their learning are more likely to take something away from it.

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What is the difference between assessment and evaluation? Why are authentic assessments important?

Assessment is checking to see where a student is. How are they doing so far? What level are they at? Are they understanding what you’re giving them? Evaluation is taking all of the data you’ve acquired through assessment and putting together to come to a conclusion about the student’s progress and skill.

To quote the Authentic Assessment Toolbox, authentic assessment is “A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills.” 

Authentic assessments are important because they help students learn things that they will be able to use in their future lives, instead of learning things that they will have no use for in the future.

Do the formative assessments in the lesson assist the teacher in tracking students’ progress toward constructing the lesson’s major concepts? How?

Yes. Lessons that check student progress while the unit is going on help the teacher to know if his or her students are understanding the work that they’ve been given. This avoids the situation of a student getting to the test and realizing that they have no idea what any of the answers are. A teacher that allows his or her students to take a test and be confused about everything is not correctly checking to make sure his or her students are understanding. 

As you reflect on this chapter and what you see in the field placements for the program courses and what you read in the news, articles, or hear on the radio, does it appear that standardized testing impacts what and how things are taught in the schools? What needs to be changed in how students are taught and assessed in today’s schools?

Students need to be assessed as they go, instead of the teachers assuming that the students are learning and giving them an evaluation at the end. If the majority of the students do not understand the work they are presented with, then the teacher is teaching them wrong, and the teacher needs to know this before evaluation time comes.

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Read the Learning Cycle Lesson Plan, From Tree to Paper, on pp. 18– 21. Reflect further on it using the following questions. Write down your responses and, if possible, discuss them with a peer.

  1. What are two different assumptions the teacher made about the prior knowledge and experiences of the young students for whom this lesson was planned?
    The teacher assumed that the students knew that paper was made from trees, and what classroom items were made of paper.
  2. How do the key questions asked in the exploratory introduction tie into the phases of the lesson?
    The introduction is a very basic tree->paper list of steps, and the lesson explains the entire list of steps.
  3. What lesson development activities help to explain how events are sequenced by the learner?
    Students are evaluated by checklist, rubric, and drawings.
  4. What is the purpose of the closure at the end of the lesson development phase of the lesson?
    To make sure that students completely understood the lesson, and also to post the main point of the lesson somewhere in the classroom where they will be able to see it.
  5. During the expansion phase of this lesson, how does the teacher help students expand on their more developed abilities, sequencing events beyond what was done earlier in the lesson?
    The teacher helps the students figure out how to add steps to the sequence, and has them do so both as a class and individually.
  6. How does the teacher “ wrap- up” the lesson?
    The teacher wraps up the lesson by having the students explain how to put things in a sequence.
  7. To what extent will the summative evaluation activity let the teacher know how well each student has developed his or her ability to sequence events to a higher level than existed before the lesson?
    The summative activity requires students to think beyond the tree-to-paper scenario and come up with a sequenced list of their own, putting it in the correct order.
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One of the activities we did in class addressed Social Studies textbooks. My group looked at a fifth grade textbook called “Our Nation.” 

We thought that the textbook was well put together and easy for the students to read, with lots of graphics and photographs, however it was also very crowded, making it difficult to focus on only one thing on the page.

We also looked at the workbook and the teacher’s edition of the textbook and decided that they were both well put together and connected well with our textbook.

Through evaluating this textbook, we learned a lot about the way that textbooks are set up and about textbooks ourselves. I would consider this a very useful activity.

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Prompt: Discuss what you learned from your fieldwork this week. What went well? What surprised you? What have you learned about teaching social studies, assessments? What connections can you make to our class readings and discussions?

Week 3 was the week in which my group taught. We were group 4, so we went second on the first day of teaching, and first on the second day. On the final day of teaching, we combined our lesson with group 3 in order to be able to use the entire 50 minute class period.

Our first lesson was collaborative learning. Our topic was trade, so this lesson was on what trade was and why countries need to trade with each other. Clarisa, one of my group members, wrote and directed this lesson, and very successfully taught the students about trade.

Our second lesson was on transportation and how traded goods move from country to country. Joyce ran this lesson, and had the students discovering how goods would be transported from one country to the next using a map.

Finally, our third lesson was collaborative learning, and combined farming with banking. Group 3’s topic was banking, and they worked with me to plan this lesson. The lesson had the students on their feet and moving around the classroom. The class we had was a very well-behaved class, so having them up and moving around the room was easily manageable.

The students were given the “problem” of needing to get apples from a farm. However, the farmer would only trade for eggs. So, the students needed to figure out that they had to go to the bank to withdraw money, use that money to buy eggs from the store, and then trade the eggs they’d bought for apples at the farm.

The students absolutely flew through the lesson. They picked it up immediately, and finished much quicker than we had expected them to, causing us to need to improvise and have them do what was supposed to have been their homework as part of the lesson.

Luckily, the students didn’t seem to notice and enjoyed being able to get up and move around the classroom. I feel that fieldwork went really well this week, and I’m incredibly satisfied with the results.

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Prompt: Discuss what you learned from your fieldwork this week. What went well? What didn’t go well as far as your lessons? What surprised you? What have you learned about social studies? What did you observe about your peers’ teaching, students’ learning? What connections can you make to our class readings and discussions?

Week two was two days long, and I was still not teaching. This week was still groups 1 and 2, although they finished on Wednesday, since the school we were doing fieldwork in was off on Friday.

Again, the students were very quickly picking up on what they were being taught, and were very engaged in the lessons. However, I did notice that the groups were not entirely using the teaching methods that they were asked to. Instead of teaching an inquiry lesson for their second lesson, they had students following along with what they were told to do. The students were not exploring for themselves. While the lesson was still effective, it was not an inquiry lesson.

The third lesson, the collaborative learning lesson, was done as a combined lesson between groups 1 and 2. The students definitely enjoyed it and learned well.

Week 2 went well, but not quite as well as week 1 had. More effort to make the lessons actually fit the qualifications they were supposed to would have probably made the lesson better, however, the lessons that were taught were still very effective.

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Prompt: Discuss what you learned from your fieldwork this week. What went well? What didn’t go well as far as your lessons? What surprised you? What have you learned about social studies? What did you observe about your peers’ teaching? What connections can you make to our class readings and discussions?

Our first week of fieldwork went really well. We had initially planned to have our pretest all together on the first day of fieldwork, but instead, there was a strange, October snow day. Due to this strange snow day, we had to change our plans to put our individual group pre-tests right before our lessons on the first day.

I wasn’t teaching for the first three lessons, as the class was split into four groups, and I was part of group four. So, for the first three fieldwork sessions, I was just observing.

I think the first two groups did really well teaching their lessons, though. They were able to engage the class effectively, and the class was really responding to what they were doing. They were picking up on the concepts very quickly, and sped through everything the group had planned.

All in all, I think week one went really well.