Do your students moan when you say the words “Social Studies” or “History”? Are you finding your own self a little bored with reading the Social Studies text? Well, stop simply reading and make your Social Studies class come alive.
“Dress Up” is not just for small children. Get your class involved in history. Have them dress in clothes that represent the era you are studying. The students can then do a brief oral report on the time period.
Food and fun seem to go hand and hand. So, let your students truly experience another culture. Let them prepare and eat food from another country. One way to do this is to spotlight a different country per week. At the end of the unit for that week, you can have your students prepare a meal that represents the country they were studying. If you are studying the different regions of the United States, pick a food that is synonymous with that region. For example, the South is known for its grits, collard greens, fried chicken, and fried catfish.
Hone your students writing skills as well as their knowledge of history. Turn your students into journalists. Start by introducing them to common interest stories or Society pages in the newspaper. Once you have shared a story with your class, you can then explain how these every day events will one day become an important part of history. Next, have your students find common interest story in their own neighborhood. The students will then compose a newspaper article about the story.
Another way to use the newspaper is to have your students be “Eyewitnesses to History”. Have your students write a newspaper article about a historical event as if they were actually at the event.
Don’t throw those old shoe boxes out. Let your students transform them into learning centers. Have them transform the shoe boxes into historical scenes from the past.
Incorporate Art into your Social Studies class. Have your kinesthetic learners draw depictions of historical events. You can have them create short comic books about a historical event. They can do this as individual projects or as a group assignment.
Watch the film
Don’t bore your students to tears with another documentary. Make historical events come alive with popular films that are historically based. You can choose to only show excerpts or short clips for the movies. Some examples are “Pearl Harbor”, “Night John”, “Finding Private Ryan”, “Red Tails”, “Joy Luck Club”, and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Be sure to check the movies for ratings. And, always view the films before showing them to your class to check for appropriateness. Always get approval from your principal and school board before showing any films.
You can introduce your students to history using autobiographies. Explain to them that a person’s autobiography will not only give them a glimpse into that person’s life, but it will also provide a firsthand account of history too. Have your students compose an autobiography of themselves. This does not have to be a lengthy assignment. You have them only feature 5 or 6 major life events.
Design a Game
Play educational games with your students. You can let them design games or you can create your own. You can create alternate versions of games like “Jeopardy” that ask questions about historical events.
Don’t bore your students to tears. Turn your Social Studies classroom into a historical adventure using the activities listed above.