It began with the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. Yes, today is Veterans Day. Do your students understand the significance of this day? Do they understand what it mean to truly pay respect to veterans? What are some of the ways veterans are (and should be) honored in our society today?
Though sad, this historical event presents an engrossing opportunity for students and teachers to collaborate and engage in interdisciplinary research. It’s a perfect storm of learning. Delving into what lead up to the tragedy allows pupils to explore elements of:
Diving into this and other historical events, using them as case-study investigations into why and how things happen, makes learning more rewarding and allows students to integrate technology resources in a more meaningful manner.
Integrate a little technology, drop by NASA’s official Apollo 40th Anniversary site and celebrate this historic event. It’s easy! Thanks to “spin-off” innovations that resulted from America’s exploration of space and subsequent mission to the moon, sharing and retrieving information is simple. What are you waiting for? Blast off!
It’s a little thing to do, to merely stop and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy. Think of the people who have given so much–who have paid for our liberty with their hearts, health, and lives–that we might live free. Reflect upon the dedicated members of the United States Military, brave women and men who served or are serving in the the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. These courageous citizens, often overlooked, are much, much more than just numbers or statistics. They are ordinary people with extraordinary historical legacies. They are worthy of our attention and gratitude. Please, remember them and help the younger people of our nation understand why we should all be so grateful.
Art teachers: Picture this: a free multi-media “web-book” that’s sure to impress, engage, and inform students. Smarthistory is a captivating digital substitute for traditional art history textbooks. The site evolved from a blog featuring free audio guides to the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These days, Smarthistory contains also contains videos about works of art.
If you’re teaching Social Studies this year, consider adding an extra ingredient to the meat of the content your students will be consuming. Toss in some fresh information about about food. Why? Food is a relevant part of each learner’s life in and out of the classroom. The topic is meaningful to just about everyone–administrators, educators, community members, and parents, included. People like talking about
things to eat
how foods are prepared
how they taste
why certain meals are more important than others
how edibles are used as a reflection of culture and beliefs
who discovered a dish, and so on.
More importantly, when pupils encounter information that is significant to them, they tend to pay attention and retain the information for longer periods of time. By teaching Social Studies within a culinary context, chances are students will associate the content along with the food-related facts. One more reason to consider adding food to the mental menu is that the topic also makes it possible for educators to integrate technology in a novel and useful manner.
For example, an engaging Social Studies teacher might introduce a concept–say explorers–and elicit a few essential questions from students, questions such as…
What causes people to want to explore the unknown?
What is the most important thing people accomplish through exploration?
What is the most important trait for being a successful explorer?
Who is history’s most important explorer?
Who changes more–cultures that are “discovered” by explorers or explorers that have discovered new cultures?
In order to add relevancy to the concept, the teacher might also ask food related-questions such as…
What kinds of foods were being consumed by humans at this point in history?
What new foods were discovered when ___ found ___?
Who had better (tastier, healthier, et cetera) foods in their diet–the explorer or the people the explorer met?
How did food change the way these people behaved?
Which foods, now commonly consumed, would have benefited an early explorer?
In what ways has food changed the practice of exploration or the course of human history?
What types of technology existed to help these people prepare and preserve their food?
To assist students with their own exploration of these and other questions, the instructor could suggest that learner use the following web-based resources:
Knowing what’s in food that makes it necessary for consumption will shed light on why some cultures were (or are) more prepared for historical leaps forward. The World’s Healthiest Foods examines what’s good for fueling the body.