Posts tagged ‘social studies’

January 18, 2012

Forgetting Social Studies (or not)

by stryson

This morning, I had the following exchange with a fourth grader:

“Mrs. Tryson, do you still teach Social Studies?”


“Do you still know Social Studies?”


It often amazes me how we take certain perspective or background knowledge, such as the fact that I wouldn’t forget all of the content of Social Studies just because I wasn’t teaching it, for granted.

October 14, 2011

Eisenhower’s Birthday

by stryson

Today is President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s birthday. Eisenhower’s famous for many things, clearly, but one interesting point of note is that he was the earliest candidate to really start advertising via television. The ads are archived and still available online, along with the others from 1952 forward, on The Living Room Candidate. I’m going to show some of Ike’s ads to my classes today; I’ll be interested to see how they react. They look hokey by our standards, but they were groundbreaking for their time.

October 13, 2011

Molly Pitcher

by stryson

Good morning!

It’s Molly Pitcher’s birthday today. I searched Discovery Education Streaming, but the only Molly Pitcher information they had was geared toward older kids. Thus, I went searching elsewhere, and found this brief video. I’ll be starting my classes off with it today. I’m continuing my quest to build their background knowledge through holidays and special events each day, as I mentioned here.

Enjoy your Thursday!

August 11, 2011

Berlin Wall

by stryson

Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s construction. Reuters has a great article up right now about a bike trail that has been built in the midst of the pieces of the wall that remain. While a trip to this site is obviously unfeasible for many classes, discussion of the Berlin Wall could include this article. The link is below.

Berlin Wall Trail a Surreal Journey into City’s Past

August 10, 2011

George Washington’s Farewell Address

by stryson

While my husband and I were on vacation with some friends last weekend, we got into a conversation about U.S. Presidents. More specifically, someone in the group questioned whether or not our country had ever had any presidents that were completely uncontroversial, at least in the sense that we’ve grown up knowing politics to be. The group’s consensus was that the only obvious answer was George Washington. I took that moment to note that he didn’t even particularly want the job, which led to humorous quips about those most capable for the job not wanting it, and vice versa. In any case, this conversation led me to seek out a funny piece that I remembered Randall Munroe (of XKCD fame) composing: A Bastardization of George Washington’s Farewell Address.  He sums up Washington’s points in simplified, modern language, and I think it’s both brilliant and funny, though I feel that way about many of his creations. Enjoy!

(Also, if you’re interested in reading the actual text of Washington’s Address, it’s here.)

July 7, 2011

Resource: Social Studies

by stryson

Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

This site has useful resources for Social Studies classes at all grade levels.  The games are really ideal for the upper grades of elementary school and lower grades of middle school, but the resources throughout the  rest of the page are pretty well adjusted for the grade levels they want to serve. I’m biased, since I have one, but I think this site would be most ideally used on the smart board, working together as a group.  I found out about this website from a girl in my third grade social studies class during the 2010-11 school year. That class became particularly obsessed with the map games on the site, which can be found here.





March 20, 2011

It’s Sunday Afternoon

by stryson

… the time when I usually find myself thinking a lot about the week to come. Moreover, it’s a Sunday afternoon in March, wherein I’m usually stressing about the week to come. I find myself here, the Sunday immediately before parent-teacher conferences begin, and I don’t feel stressed. I may change my stance by tomorrow afternoon, but for now, I’m content with the way the week is shaping up.

I’m looking forward to working on a Social Studies project in earnest. I’ve started working on a play with the kids – we combine both third grade classes on Thursdays and Fridays, and I’ve written a play for them to perform about the Statue of Liberty. If it goes well, I’m considering expanding the play (which is currently about 4 pages long) into a longer piece about U.S. Landmarks. It’s heavily inspired by a play I was in when I was in fourth grade, which was called, “Look at New Jersey.”

I’ve been trying ever since I became a teacher to find a full copy of this play.  It was a brilliantly written overview of New Jersey for children. (The 4th grade Social Studies curriculum in New Jersey is all about the state.) To this day, I can recite New Jersey’s 21 counties in alphabetical order and locate them on a blank map thanks to this play. (I was the narrator – I had to point them out on an overhead projection.) There were appearances by Samuel Morse, Thomas Edison, Bruce Springsteen…. and adorable songs about immigrants and tomatoes. A friend’s response via facebook at least gave me a name to search for, though a search at the time turned up fruitless. However, I decided to try searching again while writing this post, and I have a lead! I sent an email to the man who may or may not have been the author of that play. (He is billed as “Mr.” on the program, which my friend still had, so I’m not certain if I emailed the right guy!)

I digress. In any case, I’m excited to face the week when there are fun things on the horizon, like putting together a third grade play. Now’s the time to enjoy it; standardized testing is going to take up the second half of the week, and that is usually draining. No! I refuse to think about anything except the sunshine outside and the fun prospects for the week.