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Social Studies at the Center

Integrating Kids, Content, and Literacy

By Tarry Lindquist, Doug Selwyn
Foreword by Walter Parker

Tarry and Doug demonstrates how teachers can put social studies skills, content, and knowledge at the center of their school day by presenting a view of teaching and learning that connects what students learn with how they learn and what they feel about it.

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For too many years in too many classrooms, social studies has been something that is "done" to students—with no real bridge between students’ experiences and the pursuit of social values and moral citizenship. With the publication of Social Studies at the Center, Tarry Lindquist and Douglas Selwyn change all that. For the first time, students actually "do" social studies. They read, write, act, sing, dance, and draw social studies. They compare, organize, investigate, interview, and analyze facts. Most of all, they come to love social studies because in the process of studying content, they are learning more about themselves.

Social Studies at the Center presents a view of teaching and learning that connects what students learn in social studies with how they learn it and what they feel about it. With an emphasis on meaning and understanding over coverage of facts, the authors demonstrate how to customize learning to accommodate students’ interests. They support an integrated approach to social studies teaching and place the subject at the center of the entire school curriculum.

In addition to providing a large repertoire of learning strategies, Lindquist and Selwyn demonstrate how intermediate and middle school teachers can put social studies skills, content, and knowledge at the center of their school day—with benefits that are reaped beyond the social studies period. Two units are provided as models: one on geography and the other on history. An entire chapter is dedicated to responding to both common and uncommon questions about the teaching and learning of social studies. Another details sixty-eight practical integrative strategies that teachers can put to immediate use. Favorite resources and websites are shared, and a brief review of national standards and assessment strategies are included.

Whether you are a seasoned or novice teacher, new to the profession or new to the grade level, Social Studies at the Center will serve as that veteran educator down the hall who recognizes that the best learning occurs in an integrated, real-world context and that the best vehicles for achieving this are small group work, hands-on projects, kid-centered research, and student-based assessment.

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