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Gregory Silcox

What do you need to know to teach social studies?


In my field placement, I am still attending Anthony Wayne Middle School. Over these weeks
between blog post five and now I have had Mrs. Young twice and a substitute. The substitute was
actually a recent graduate of Bowling Green. It was very interesting to see what a substitute does
compared to the teacher. In class that day the students already had a paper that they were
working on. Despite of that the substitute was still up and around and helped kids out during the
class period. My first question is, how much content is needed to teach and how accurate it needs
be? And my other question is, how do teachers get the most out of the students within a class
period? From my field experience over the past 3 weeks I am able to answer these important
questions.

How much content is needed to teach and how accurate it needs be?
Overall for both of these points within the question I am going to relate them to discussions in
class. To answer the question of how much content is needed to teach I am going to use
classroom discussion and the Ohio Learning Standards (OLS) for K-12 Social Studies. In class,
we realized that there is a lot of content that we need to know as future social studies teachers.
One example is the OAE test that we must take before methods. Personally, I thought that I know
an above average amount of social studies, but when you get around a 50% you realize how
much you have to know. As an AYA Social Studies major you must know content from grades 712. These topics include early world history, early American history, American History,
American Government, Modern World History, Economics, Geography, and World Issues (OLS
SS-Standards). Another thing that we did in class that put this in perspective were the clothesline
timeline. You could see the main events that you have to teach from 7-12 and what the students
are supposed to learn between those grades. It is a lot of information but it is completely doable
to know all this information.
As a teacher knowing the content and being accurate go hand and hand. In the classroom, you
want to give the students the correct information. In my field experience, I think that Mrs. Young
does a great job of being able to raddle of information and have it be correct. Many times, in the
class when I am helping the students, I can also help them with that information since it is some
basic facts about ancient Greece and Rome. One week in class Mrs. Menzie talked about how as
a teacher you need to have all the correct answers because of how easy it is for kids to look the
answer up. That is like in Mrs. Youngs class; the school has gone paperless so every student is
working on an iPad and has the internet at their fingers. If Mrs. Young or myself are unsure of
something the kids look it up to double check, which I think helps everyone. I think that this also
really helps the students to dig deeper on the topic, instead of just asking the teacher the whole
time and getting the answer.

How do teachers get the most out of the students within a class period?

To answer this question, I am going to use our class discussions about essential questions and
parts of the Bring Learning Alive! reading. In class, we learned that you want to get the students
engaged in the topic you are teaching. When the students get involved they learn more about the
topic and understand more. An essential question must be crafted so that it provides students an
opportunity to reach a deeper understanding of key standards. If the focus of the question is too
narrow, it may not push students to fully synthesize what they have learned (BLA 226). Having
a question or topic that makes students the students dig deeper it benefits everyone. This quote
reiterates everything that we have talked about how to get the most out of the topic and how to
get the most information to the kids. In Mrs. Youngs class, she does a great job of giving the
kids a topic and then they go from there. So far many times I am in there they are working on
different projects, which involves working together and working together in groups. This is great
for the students because they get to bounce ideas off of each other and at the same time dig
deeper and deeper into a topic. In Mrs. Youngs classroom, she does a great job of making the
students dig deeper.

Overall experiences
My experiences over the past month or so have been great. When I am in the classroom Mrs.
Young lets, me work with students and help them to bounce ideas off each other and help on
projects. The week that I was with the substitute, students were working on a Document based
Question. My job was to make sure that they were on task and to help them is any got stuck on a
question. The next week I was there I had to grade papers for Mr. Young. I always knew that
graded papers where time consuming but I never thought to this extent. It took me the whole two
and a half hours to grade all the papers that she had for all her classes that day. Each class has
around twenty to twenty-five kids and she has a totally of 6 classes. Then this last Tuesday that I
went they were working on a discussion between the Roman and Greece Governments. I got to
see ideas from both sides of the debate, as I helped both groups out. My field placement and I am
looking forward to the rest of my field placement.

References
Ohio Department of Education. (2010). Ohio's new learning standards: Social studies standards.
Retrieved from http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Ohio-s-New-LearningStandards/Social-Studies/SS-Standards.pdf.aspx.
Bower, B., Lobdell, J., and Owens, S. (2010). Essential questions. Bring learning alive! Methods
to transform middle and high school social studies. Palo Alto, CA: Teachers Curriculum
Institute, pp. 226-228.