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Chapter 15 – Using the Community as a Resource Learning Topics Field Trips to Promote Inquiry Resources for Learning in the Local Community Museums Virtual Museums Archeological Sites: Real and Simulated Cemetery Studies Guest Speakers in the Classroom Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Field Trips to Promote Inquiry Field trips are one of the many community based learning opportunities available to teachers to help them enrich their Social Studies programs. The community can provide supportive program experiences in many forms, including: Areas that can be investigated for rich information Speakers to talk about their personal experiences and interests, whether on-site or in the classroom Materials to share that reflect the business, concerns, or interests of groups within the community Field experiences that simulate adult experiences and provide intense ways of connecting to learning in the classroom. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Careful Planning Careful planning is essential to making successful use of the community as a learning resource. Teachers must consider the time needed to plan community trips, the safety issues for every child in the group, accessibility issues for any challenged children, background learning required for students to benefit from a community experience, readability of resources related to the experience, costs, and time needed for the trip seen in the light of time taken away from other possible learning in the classroom. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Deciding to Plan a Field Trip Teachers have many things to consider before deciding on the inclusion of a field trip in their programs. They should consider the following questions: Is this the best way for my students to learn about this idea? Are there safely issues that would make this field trip problematic? Is this experience affordable? Is this experience accessible for every child, both physically and cognitively? Is the expenditure of time and money worth the learning available through the experience? Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Types of Field Trips 1.To create a common base of experience Example: A group of Grade 3 students from an urban school visit a mixed produce farm to explore ways that the farm serves the local urban community. Two thirds of the students in the class have never been on a farm so this trip is planned primarily to strengthen their common understanding of what a farm is and how a farm is worked to produce food items. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
2.To discover new learning in a structured way Example: Students from a rural environment are learning about irrigation systems used in local farms. One local farm has a new automated overhead irrigation system. The students are visiting this farm to see how this system works and to compare its advantages and disadvantages to more usual ditch or underground irrigation approaches. They have a comparison chart to complete while they are on this trip and they have generated a list of questions to ask the farmers about their choice of this irrigation system. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
3.To provide opportunities for students to practise new learning in context Example: Students have been learning about planting and harvesting cycles on farms. They understand that different crops are ready for harvesting at different times and farmers are able to test crops to determine the best time to start harvesting. However, this is an abstract concept. This field trip will allow young students to walk through corn fields with the farmer and witness and participate in the testing being done to determine when harvesting should begin. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
4. To provide opportunities for students to solidify learning through experiences not available in the classroom Example: This field trip is designed to allow students to track the process of preparing fields for planting, rotating crops, tending fields during growth, harvesting, and marketing crops. The students will engage in a field trip to the manager of a large cooperative mixed farm. Through a combination of formal presentation and visits to the various buildings on the farm, students will be able to see the complex interaction of people who manage the different aspects of the farm. Students are divided into cooperative groups; each group is responsible for creating a photo-journal of one aspect of the farming operation they observe and presenting that to classmates after their trip. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Preparing for Different Types of Field Trips Each of these purposes for a field trip requires a different type of preparation from the teacher and different levels of pre-trip knowledge in the students. Prior to arranging a field trip, the teacher needs to be very familiar with the facilities at the site and know what learning can be uniquely provided by this experience that is not possible in the classroom. Often, the teacher will need to visit the trip site ahead of time. Some facilities provide teacher kits that describe all programs at the site and may include videos of the site so that the teacher can do a virtual trip before the class visits. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Choosing Locations for Trips Most school boards will have policies that govern the types of trips that teachers may plan for their classrooms. School board insurance policies may identify some opportunities as high risk and therefore school boards may not allow these trips for their students. In some jurisdictions, school boards may require special levels of permission (e.g., from the superintendent or director). For all trips, the teacher should discuss the idea for a field trip with the school administrator early in their planning. This will allow the teacher to ensure support for the idea, as well as provide an opportunity for guidance. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Planning the Details Strong planning will ensure a safe and worthwhile field trip experience for students. Teachers should plan for: things to be done before the trip things to be done during the trip things to be done after the trip See your textbook for more details about planning for each of these aspects of your field trip. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Resources for Learning in the Local Community Dependent on the age of the students involved, school board policy may limit the types of trips and field experiences that students may take for safety reasons. It is common for primary students to be limited to day trips in the local community. Some jurisdictions may approve one night overnight trips for students in junior grades, while out of province, multi-day trips may be acceptable for intermediate students. Knowledge of these policies is critical for teachers planning to use field trips as community resources to enrich Social Studies programs. If a field trip is not possible, teachers may have the option of bringing resources into the classroom that may provide the same type of learning without leaving the classroom. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Topics to Address through Classroom Visitors Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers roles of people within the community accessibility issues the economic structure of the community cultural activities in the community community labour action industry in the community community services waste management in the community local rules and laws water treatment local signage commerce and business incentives community transportation routes architecture and historical preservation initiatives natural resources in the community zoning and the bylaw development process green space preservation recreation land use issues governance erosion and pollution issues special interest groups
Using Museums as a Resource Most communities have a local museum. The museum may be available to support Social Studies programs in one of five ways. Communication with the local curator can help teachers understand what services are offered locally. Typical museum services include: In-house museum tours In class lectures and presentations on a specific topic by museum personnel Loans of museum kits of specific topics Professional development for teachers Support partnerships with school based history clubs. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Increasingly, museums are developing interactive displays so that students can be more engaged when they visit museums. By determining the best ways for the local museum to be part of your Social Studies program, teachers can be sure to make the most of this valuable and irreplaceable community resource. Many museums also welcome teacher involvement on their museum board of directors. These boards are usually responsible to the local or regional government of the area and teachers can contact these governments directly to learn more about this avenue of engagement. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Virtual Museums Virtual museums are available for many topics and provide unprecedented access to artifacts through high quality photography. The use of virtual museums provides a time and cost effective alternative to some field trips and appeals to many learning styles because of the relatively low verbal needs of this resource. Some virtual museums even provide a virtual walk through the space so that the architecture of the actual museum becomes part of the simulated experience. Maneuvering within a virtual museum requires some practice and will need to be modeled for young students. When using virtual museums, teachers will need to use the same criteria as for any community based resource. It is critical that the museum experience has specific and achievable learning goals. Web quest approaches (Chapter 14) can support students’ examination of virtual museums. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Archeology Sites: Real and Simulated The opportunity to be involved in an archeological dig would provide rich learning for students. However, most classrooms will not have access to an authentic archeological dig site. If there is a university in the local community, teachers could contact the chair of the History department of the university to find out about what sites might be active locally. When an actual archeological site is not available for a field trip, teachers can simulate archeological digs with their students in many ways. Young students will benefit from early exposure to archeological techniques from using the classroom or division sandbox (indoors for sanitary reasons) to uncover items that are buried beneath the sand. In this context, grid work, accurate recording, artifact preservation, photography, archiving, and restoration can be taught. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Simulated Archeological Sites Archeology skills and concepts can also be learned through online simulations. A growing number of sites offer archeological simulations of students of all ages. As with any online site, teachers need to examine the site for security, appropriate images, and accessibility of the reading level. Laser scanning as an archeological tool has made it possible for students to view site artifacts from some digs in detail and many of these laser images are embedded in modern archeology simulations. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Cemetery Studies Cemetery studies can provide a fascinating source of data about the history of the local community. Graves in early times in Canadian history were not as organized around church and municipal sites as is the case today. Many graves and even small graveyards can be found in obscure and unlikely places in both small and larger cities. Graveyards on small islands, behind car dealerships in major cities, or below paving stones in town squares are all part of Canada’s graveyard history. Most graveyards are always open to the public. This has changed somewhat in recent years because of incidents of vandalism. Local funeral homes can be a source of information about access to cemeteries for study if the local cemetery does not have an office that is easily accessible for information. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Studying Gravestones When planning a cemetery study for young students, start by ensuring that you are clear about what you want students to learn from the study. The teacher’s prior knowledge about the history of the graveyard can ensure the optimal use of time during students’ visits. If a goal of the study is to examine gravestones for symbols, teachers need to be cautious about not over-generalizing meaning in some engraving or encased photographs. Generally, gravestone symbols will be indicative of: The person’s attitude toward death and the hereafter Membership in a fraternal or social organization An individual’s trade or occupation Interests of the deceased Ethnic identity of the deceased. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Planning a Cemetery Visit Be aware that some areas of the cemetery are likely to be “off limits” during your visit because of funeral services. Clarify expectations about this with the cemetery caretaker before you plan your visit date and activities. As part of your planning, explain the following to students: Traditional funeral routines for observers (i.e., quiet, stay still as the funeral procession passes, hats off, heads bowed). Explain the purpose of special vehicles in a funeral procession (e.g., hearse, family car, flagged cars). If possible, check on the morning of your trip to be sure you are aware of possible funeral activities before leaving the school. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
CEMETERY ACTIVITIES Check your textbook for a variety of ideas about cemetery activities that are suitable for younger students. There is also as section in this chapter about types of gravestones you may find in a local cemetery. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Guest Speakers in the Classroom It can be very difficult to connect with suitable guest speakers for the primary and junior Social Studies classroom. In this context, guest speakers need a unique variety of skills in order to provide a learning experience that is more valuable than what can be provided by the day to day classroom experience. A passionate and detailed knowledge of their topic would be critical to ensuring the effective use of learning time guided by a guest speaker. As well, it is critical that the guest speaker has previous successful interaction with young children, who can be a ruthlessly critical audience when their interest is not engaged. With these criteria in place, a guest speaker can engage and encourage young learners to examine ideas from new perspectives and through new ways of knowing. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Preparing for a Guest Speaker To prepare to discuss a topic with the guest speaker, students should have a clearly defined task to complete during the time period and should have several questions about the topic in hand before the speaker arrives. An effective guest speaker will be able to weave the students’ questions into their presentation if they are given access to the questions before they visit the classroom. Guest speakers may also come to the classroom to be interviewed by students rather than to present to them. If this is the case, students will benefit from having a graphic organizer that allows them to relate interview questions and the responses of the speaker. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Preparing to Interview a Guest Speaker INTERVIEW ORGANIZER Our guest _____________ will talk about ____________________________________________ I know these things about this topic: Our guest speaker knows about this topic because: I want to find out about these things: I will ask the guest speaker: Question ______________________________________________________________________? Answer ________________________________________________________________________ Question ______________________________________________________________________? Answer ________________________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Projects and Project-Based Learning in the Classroom Project work will inevitably bring students into contact with the school or internet community as they gather resources, learn strategies, or invite other people to celebrate their learning. Projects should have a structure. Review Topic Elaboration from Chapter 1. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Project Ideas The following ideas present four sample strategies for dealing with students' project work. Work with a small group of colleagues to identify all of the possibilities in your local area for field trips that would support specific Social Studies curriculum for a grade of your choice. Collect all of the trip sites identified by your colleagues and create a data bank that identifies the site name, a contact person, contact details (phone, , web pages, etc.) and information about the destination that would be useful for trip planning (hours of operation, distance, costs, program flexibility, etc.). Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Choose a topic for which you might invite a guest speaker into the classroom. Create a question bank for the guest speaker that anticipates questions that your students might ask during the speakers’ presentation. Create a warm-up activity that you might use to acquaint a guest speaker and a group of young students before the guest speaker starts a presentation in your class. Be sure that the activity serves the dual purpose of acquainting and relaxing the students so that they can focus on learning from the presenter. Create an activity center for your classroom that will allow students to practise the skills needed to produce effective gravestone rubbings before they do this in a cemetery visit. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Chapter Review The community can provide supports for Social Studies through many experiences that include area investigations, field trips, speakers, and resources in print forms that can supplement the normal classroom resources. Community based experiences must be well conceived and well planned so that they provide enriched learning experiences. Before deciding to use community resources such as field trips, the teacher must consider the benefits of learning in comparison to the effort, time, cost, and safety aspects of alternative experiences. Field trips can be designed for four purposes; each purpose requires different preparation prior to the field trip Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
School board policies may influence the types of trips that are options for local students. There are many details to be planned before, during, and after an effective field trip. Field trips need to be followed up in the classroom to ensure that learning is solidified. Community resources in print or artifact form may help teachers bring current community information into the classroom. Many Social Studies topics may be enriched through the use of community resources that can be brought into the classroom for reference. Museums can support classroom programs in many ways. Museums are becoming increasingly interactive in their display approaches Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Virtual museums provide a cost and time effective option to field trips to examine some topics. Real and simulated archeology experiences can create interest in historical details. Many archeological skills can be used in the classroom, on the beach, or in a small area of land to examine “planted” digs. Online simulations teach students many archeology skills and concepts effectively. Cemetery studies provide unique sources of information about the local community. Many activities can be planned for cemetery studies to complement the other aspects of the program in Social Studies. Guest speakers who are passionate, knowledgeable, and aware of the learning needs of young students can provide valuable learning experiences for students. Students need to know what they are to learn from a guest speaker. Students need opportunities to plan what they want to learn from a guest speaker before their visit to the classroom. Teachers need to be well acquainted with students’ prior experiences and sensitivities before introducing cemetery studies as part of their program Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
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