Before we get into the topic- I have created a Summer Hosting Sign up - I know summer is a crazy time of year for everyone and this year for me is no exception. I have 4 nights of Soccer, taking 2 graduate classes and teaching 1. I have always done the full summer of SSTLAP chats with the exception of maybe 4th of July.
I am proposing a summer hosting schedule for two reasons, 1. I am busier this summer than others. 2. and this is actually more important and something that I have wanted to do for awhile is allow others to host in order to drive the conversation and create PD that is meaningful to you and your needs. Please sign up on the document and take a week or two. I am always available to assist you with questions, creating graphics, etc. I just want to provide everyone a voice in the conversation.
Summer Hosting Sign Up https://goo.gl/3aE2A2
Creating and experience students will remember and making content relevant can be two different things. I have had students participate in debates, skits, mock trials and simulations. I have students create dynamic products of learning that I continue to share with others about how cool of an experience it was, and how impressed with students I am. I have seen teachers transform their classrooms, recreate events like the trenches in WWI. All of those things are amazing learning experiences. The question is, do students see the relevance or connection to their lives? Do we end the activity satisfied that the students have participated in the Immigration simulation through Ellis Island, or they understand why the North defeated the South during the Civil War? Do we take that next step in our activities and connect the learning to student’s lives? Or do we need to reinvent our lessons to focus on connecting to students and the content is secondary?
Q1 How do you make Social Studies, History, Sociology, Geography, Economics, Government relevant to students? Why is studying this stuff important?
Q2 Geography - Why should students care where things are located in the world? How can we make the study of Geography relevant? How can we teach it so it isn’t memorizing locations or coloring maps? Kids can Google where places are located, how do you teach Geography in a meaningful way that connects to student’s lives?
Q3 World History - That stuff happened thousands of years ago, what does it matter to me today? How can you connect events of the distant past to modern society? How can you show students that building of civilizations, empires, past discoveries, exploration matter to us today when they already happened? How do you teach WH so that it is relevant to their lives?
Q4 Economics - We studied the stock market, supply and demand and charts and graphs. Much of this was void of a personal connection to how I would use this. In a time when state and federal budgets are being debated, how could we connect those events to our study of economics and the impact that would have on students’ and their family’s lives? What about Government subsidies for corporations and businesses or other aspects of real world economics that aren’t discussed in text books. How do we hook students into studying economics by making it valuable and relevant to their experiences?
Q5 Government - I read an article recently about the news coverage of President Trump. First it stated that he has been the feature of news more frequently than other presidents. Now there could be reasons for that. No other president has been so actively engaged in Social Media as Trump. It could be the result of the shake ups within the administration that continue to cause headlines. It could be a lot of reasons. We currently have a president making headlines daily, but that isn’t always the case. How do we help students see the relevancy of the decisions that our federal and state government officials are making and the impact on their lives? How do we help students learn to be well informed and not victims of Fake News or Alternative Facts?
Q6 What are ways you bring relevancy to what you teach? Share some examples of lessons you connect with student’s lives. If you don’t have a list, share ideas of what you could do with existing lessons/content to make those connections.
Q7 Bonus - Collaboration time - What are some topics or content areas that you are struggling to find relevancy to your students? What are some areas you are looking for help or would like to beg, borrow, steal, or collaborate with others to find relevant lesson ideas?