Social Studies Manifesto
Social Studies is a subject that tends to get pushed to the side, especially in elementary school classrooms. People think of Social Studies as a subject that no one needs to learn about. I hate to admit it but Social Studies was NOT taught hardly at all at the elementary school that I grew up in. The only time I remember Social Studies being taught was in sixth grade because that particular teacher made it fun and exciting by dressing up as important people throughout history and doing hands-on activities with us.
Teachers SHOULD teach Social Studies because it gives the students an idea of history, geography, cultures, and many cool facts! The National Council of Social Studies states Social Studies is, “the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.” I absolutely love this quote from the National Council of Social Studies, “Social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy.” Social Studies can be more than just a boring subject to students, as it was to me in elementary school. Social Studies educates students about the world. It helps the students become better citizens and role models for other. More and more I have seen how Social Studies is not important in the elementary school classrooms, which needs to be changed immediately.
Since most schools do not focus a whole lot on Social Studies, I plan on going into my classroom with Social Studies being one of my main priorities. If a principal tells me that I do not need to teach Social Studies in the classroom, then I am going to use my critical voice and explain to him or her that Social Studies is so important for students to learn. I would explain to the principal that Social Studies is more than a subject, it is life. Since there is not a lot of time to teach Social Studies in the classroom, I plan to integrate it into different subjects. Language Arts is a very good example in integrating Social Studies. Since reading is very important for the students, I plan to use stories from the past, information on different cultures, and other Social Studies materials for the students to read. Not only are the students using reading skills but they are also learning about Social Studies. I hope that my desire to teach Social Studies in my classroom will be a role model for other teachers to teach it in his or her classroom.
In my classroom, I plan to have a learner-centered classroom. This means that I want my student’s learning to be the main focus. I also want my classroom to be very hands-on. Social Studies can be a subject that gets very boring for students. Well, the only reason it can get boring is because the teacher is just making the students read a textbook (which SHOULD NOT be the main source for the teacher) or just giving the students facts to memorize. Social Studies NEEDS to be fun and exciting for the students. During this semester, I have seen that Social Studies can be very interesting. Several examples of making Social Studies fun is the Living History Museum, plays/skits of history, and Box City. In my classroom, I also want it to be equal for all the students. I want my students to accept everyone. I would love to have a diverse classroom because it would give me the opportunity to show students several backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs.
Wow, I could go on and on about my thoughts and feelings about Social Studies. Throughout this semester, my views have changed drastically. I never really understood the point in Social Studies until I took this class. This subject is so important because it develops who you can become by learning about diversity, geography, and history. I believe I need to use my critical voice by pushing more teachers into teaching Social Studies. I just recently read an article called “Putting the Social Back in Social Studies”. I agree 100% with this article. Social Studies needs to be put back in the schools. Students do not even know capitals of states, where countries are located, why we went to war, and many other things that are important. Maybe one day more teachers will gets the idea that Social Studies is important!
In conclusion, I have learned so much during this Social Studies class. Dr. Meier is a WONDERFUL teacher and an excellent role model. I hope I can be just as half as good as she is in teaching Social Studies. Thank you for giving me so many activities to use in my classroom one day Dr. Meier. Thank you!!!