Saturday, 21 March 2015

Social Studies Research

I gave myself most of Term One for teaching the Holocaust. However... I've spent all of this term doing it.

I need to remind myself I'm still learning how to teach from a social studies mindset (again). And I'm incredibly blessed and lucky that I'm able to. I've missed it so so much. I like the balance of four English classes and my one Social Studies class. I need to be better though - so this is the aim of this particular post.

My original breakdown for the term:
Weeks for Holocaust Unit: 6

My current breakdown:
Weeks for Holocaust Unit: 9
Skills Developed:
Knowledge creation through listening, thinking abd visual skills
Visual skills - analysis of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, analysis of Schindlers List, analysis of maps and Holocaust videos
Listening Skills - dictation skills, developing discussion skills and the importance of respecting other peoples opinions and thoughts
Thinking Skills - use of SOLO hexagons and the process to move forward, how it affects others and themselves and the world around them
Research Basics - searching, referencing, keywords, focus questions, changing focus questions, analysis of research
Essay writing basics - how to write effective social studies essays

When I look at all of these skills - and the knowledge that they have probably learnt more than I give myself credit for... it makes me happy.

Rise of Hitler
Systemic and bureaucratic extermination

Use of Quizlet for concept analysis and development, use of society experiment and accountability

At the end of the day there is just so so much to discuss about the Holocaust.

The next time I'd teach it - I'd be more focussed around certain elements - and I wouldn't let the research drag on so long. Though really - a thirty minute session (when you factor in setup, logging on/off, tech problems, troubleshooting, questions and plenary times) is not enough each day to truly do effective research. In essence though - I can't let myself get pulled into the 'everything must be assessed' thinking because then the research won't be as effective. Sure their essay can be assessed - but when it comes down to it - it's more about the process of what they've learnt that's more important.

So... that's what I've been thinking about. Need to get back into social sciences essay styles too. Maybe if I wrote an essay on some of the things that I've learnt maybe then I can show my students and see if they see how it's structured.... and co-construct assesment guidelines as to what a good social science essay should look like. Except for the fact that I haven't done real research in years... hours and days and weeks of researching for a 500 word essay. Because it's always been about the learning and the process for me - rather than the actual assessment. :)