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Chapter 16 – Projects in the Social Studies Classroom Learning Topics The Role of Projects Defining a Topic for Inquiry Inquiry Models and Project Work in the Classroom Selecting Resources for Effective Inquiry Creation, Application, and Communication of |Independent Project Work The Role of Heritage Fairs in Your Program Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
“ When students become truly engaged in a project they take off in unexpected directions, producing work that is vastly superior to their customary levels of achievement.” (Sears, 1999) Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
The Role of Projects Projects are a common occurrence in primary and junior classrooms. They vary in size, scope, and style but all projects serve essentially the same purposes. Projects provide opportunities for students to work with ideas they have encountered to sort information and consider deeper meaning. Projects are constructivist in approach as they allow room for students to grapple with ideas to look for personal meaning. The teacher’s role is to ensure that projects assigned in the classroom have the substantive content to allow manipulation and interpretation by students in an effort to make meaning. As students develop increasing facility with word meanings, projects can become more sophisticated and provide opportunities for students to use the histographer’s skills to learn from different text sources. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Ways Students Can Engage Text in Project Work Interrogating (analyzing) the text Examine competing accounts of an event Examine a single account of an event that is problematic in details that are included or excluded Consider the credibility of the text source Reframing the text to work with the ideas presented in it Look at the text from a different perspective Present personal understanding of the text in another genre (to display the reader’s synthesis of ideas) Applying the information from the text in a new situation Apply an analytical framework (e.g., a series of analysis questions) to examination of the text account Solving the problem Guide the project so that it focuses on learning about the big ideas or enduring understandings rather than bogging down in minute details Facilitate students’ increasing understanding of the social world and conceptual understanding of its complexities Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Using Analytical Questions to Guide Project Work Usiproject approaches can allow students opportunities to become discriminating users of historical sources of information. They can be “armed” with a number of analytical questions that gradually become habits of ng mind as they interrogate new text. Students can learn to consider questions such as: Whose account is this? Why would this person write about this event? What is their motivation? Is this a first hand or second hand account of these events? What details might differ between first and second hand accounts of the same event? Does the account include bias? Is the event well described? Does the author appear to be well informed? Is there evidence of inaccurate or unexplored details in the account? What does the author appear to want a reader to believe about the people depicted in this account? Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Timing Projects within a Unit of Study When opportunities for projects are presented in the classroom, their timing in the learning sequence is critical. Students should have been immersed in the topic and able to gather many details about the era and significant events. They should have had opportunities for guided discovery of personal areas of interest and opportunities to identify personal choices about areas they would like to examine further. In an earlier chapter, phases of instruction were discussed. Project work should be offered as a way to consolidate and apply developing conceptual knowledge to support students’ deepening understanding of these concepts and relationships among them. Projects also give students many contextualized opportunities to consolidate and apply the skills of research, allowing them to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate data from a variety of sources. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Types of Projects in the Primary and Junior Social Studies Classroom Telling Stories Grade 1 students may explain what a day in their community involves through photo-journals and drawings. Understanding Events Over Time and Place Grade 2 students may explain how traditions and celebrations in their community vary each season and reflect the religious and cultural beliefs of people in their community. Understanding Technology Grade 3 students may study farm technology changes over time and offer some conclusions about how the size of farms and cooperative farming practices have changed the types of technology used on Canadian farms. Uncovering Patterns Grade 4 students may study aerial maps of farms along the St. Lawrence River and identify patterns in their layout and relate these patterns to historical information about early transportation. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Identifying Problems Grade 4 students may examine accounts of the same current event from different news sources and propose reasons why different details were highlighted in different accounts. Offering Solutions Grade 5 students may study transportation challenges in the far north and experiment to consider other options and examine the potential impact of their proposals on the environment. Making Connections Grade 5 students may examine immigration patterns across Canada and consider strategies that could be used to determine the needs of new immigrants in various areas and propose ways to monitor the changing needs and their differences across communities and groups of origin. Making Predictions Grade 6 students may examine the stories of Canadian soldiers in other wars and in current conflicts from both primary and secondary sources and make some predictions about the types of post-conflict supports that may be needed by veterans. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Clarity about the Purpose of Projects When projects are introduced to young children, the learning goal of the project should be clear to both the teacher and the students. Parents often play an important role in supporting project work that is done in the classroom by providing encouragement, and often supplies for project completion. Parents can become supportive partners in the classroom’s project work if they are informed of the goals of the project. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Using Rubrics to Guide Project Work As students develop enough language and conceptual understanding to engage in reflection about their learning, rubrics become a critical support to guide project work. A rubric can identify the criteria being considered by the teacher for project work completion and can help students consider the aspects of the work that will be under scrutiny by the teacher to provide evidence of their learning. When used in the latter way, rubrics become the standards that students can aspire to and identify specific, criterion based growth schemes for students to use as a reference point. Rubrics help parents understand how they can support and encourage project work that their child engages. See your textbook for sample frameworks for developing project rubrics. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Using Sources for Project Work with Young Students There are many advantages of using primary, secondary, and tertiary sources in classrooms projects with young students (Dhand, 1999). Source approaches use the raw materials of history and current events to: Support inquiry Provide easy to access sources (e.g., through topical kits of primary and secondary sources) Provide insights into events and personalities Allow examination of different points of view Support skill building as students try to determine bias, establish authenticity, validity, reliability, and frame of reference, draw inferences, generalize, interpret, compile and conclude Apply historiography approaches to help students learn to seek truth Promote connections between events, their causes, and their impacts over time and space Help students develop higher order thinking skills Learn to relate reports of events to the reporter’s frame of reference and context Understand the impact of changes in attitudes, beliefs, and values on interpretations of events over time Create students’ desire to engage history as active and critical participants Allow students to reflect on the balance and comprehensiveness of their own sources of information and the approach they apply to interpreting them. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Primary Sources Include many forms of documents that have survived over time May reflect the emotional reactions of a recent event to allow for greater empathetic response from readers From the time of the event so language conventions will be authentic and may reflect subtleties May not reflect much processing of the impact of the event on later events Are likely to present a single perspective on events Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Secondary Sources Include some documents that have been interpreted over time Advantage of emotional distance Disadvantage of a lack of social context for interpreting accounts Language may incorporate modern idiom that can distort the original event and its significance May misinterpret a primary source Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Tertiary Sources May demonstrate considerable distortion because accounts have passed through more hands Degree of removal in time and space from the original event adds potential for further distortion Context clues become harder to interpret May misrepresent both primary and secondary sources May be developed for the sole purpose of presenting balanced perspectives Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Using Projects to Represent Learning When projects are chosen as a way for students to represent their learning, they should have clear links to the main threads of the appropriate provincial or territorial guideline. Typically, guidelines share many common foci (Gibson, 2009). Guidelines usually: Present a view of Social Studies as an interdisciplinary subject Give primacy to historical and geographical concepts Require students to engage topics about relationships within their community, between communities, and with the environment Present the past as a vehicle to help form understanding of the present and consider aspects of the future and impacts on it Present Social Studies as a vehicle to help students understand the local and global contexts of their lives and experiences Promote supporting students’ development of the skills needed for active citizenship in a democracy. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
When Interviews are Part of a Project Interviews are special sources of information for projects. These sources of information are readily available to young learners without the need to navigate text sources to acquire rich information. People in the community can be invited to the classroom to engage the students in interviews about current topics of study. Interviews will need careful preparation so that students benefit from the time spent interviewing people. Clear expectations for the outcome of interviews will help to direct students’ questions of the interviewee. In community studies or career related topics, visitors can be questioned about their job description, work history, long term goals, responsibilities, hours, wages, benefits, advantages and disadvantages of their job, connections with other industries in the community, and working conditions. If the interview relates more to the community history and generational experiences, interviews may focus on the visitor’s childhood experiences, school days, family structure, memories of key events, hard times in the family or community, or personal interests such as crafts, hobbies, pastimes, family traditions, religious practices and celebrations, celebrations, or foods and music memories. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Teaching Young Students to Interview To prepare for visitor interviews, students should be taught to plan two types of interview interactions. 1.The first is a list of specific questions related to the reason that the visitor is coming to the classroom. Different groups of students may have vastly different lists of questions and may take turns addressing their specific interests. The number of questions should reflect the goals of the visit and the amount of time that will be allotted to the interview. 2.The second type of interaction that students need to be taught is the use of probes and prompts to encourage more detail about an interview question. This type of interview interaction would include comments such as: “Can you give us an example of…?” “What would cause this?” “Can you explain the details?” “What do you think…?” Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Interviews for Older Students Older students may be taught to generate interview questions using an organizer that will allow them to prepare questions ahead of a visitor interview but also allow them to generate additional questions as they listen to interactions during the interview. An organizer such as the following may provide support for this purpose. Interviewee: Purpose(s) of this interview: Date: TYPES OF INTERVIEW QUESTIONS INTERVIEWEE RESPONSES/NOTES Facts (What is/was…?) Emotions (How does/did this feel…?) Impacts (How did this affect…?) Probes (Examples and expansions) Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
The Learning Advantages of Interviewing Sources Sears (1999) identified several benefits to students from engaging in interviews with classroom visitors. In addition to providing rich data for the students to digest, synthesize and apply to a task, interviews also provide: Strong motivation Opportunities for self-discovery as students view incidents through the impressions of another person Opportunities to appreciate the value of storytelling Exposure to the language of another person who can connect students’ studies to life outside the classroom Data without the risk of plagiarism Information that can be collected systematically (if pre-interview preparation is done thoroughly) Opportunities for purposeful talk Increased independence in the quest for specific information from alternative sources Flexibility and accessibility to all age groups of students Opportunities to make community connections that may influence future interactions in the community Opportunities to build intergenerational relationships in the community Exposure to active, integrative learning. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Preparing for Effective Interviews Create triad teams to conduct mock interviews. Have the team work together to find out background information about the interviewee. Have the team generate potential interview questions using a framework to align questions for facts, emotions, impacts, and probes, with spaces for interview notes. Plan for recording during the interview. This will help students listen as well as probe if they do not have to take all notes on the spot. Video or tape recording must be approved by the interviewee before their arrival. Check all interview questions for sensitivity, careful wording, and potential misunderstanding. Be prepared to follow the story as the interview progresses and jot down new questions as the interviewee uncovers anything unexpected but interesting. Consider how individuals or the class will thank the interviewee for their time and sharing at the end of the interview and more formally after the interviewee leaves. Revise plans for how to work with the data and present it after the interview. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Defining a Topic for Inquiry As students engage project based learning to consolidate and apply ideas they have been learning, there will be growing opportunities for them to delineate the focus and scope of their projects. This flexibility to encourage personal interests and opportunities to explore ideas within a common topic will motivate students. The students will need practice with defining project topics initially and with following projects through from conception to completion. Teachers will have goals for learning when assigning a project in Social Studies. In age appropriate ways these goals should be shared with the students so that they start to learn to focus their project choices within parameters that will encourage their interests and still meet the required learning. The initial challenge in doing this in early primary classrooms is that students lack the scope of background knowledge to determine what fits and what does not. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Therefore, initial forays into project work with young children may benefit from framing choices in a limited set so that students have a few options but not a wide open field within the topic. As students acquire experience with completing projects, they will need the teacher’s guidance to develop inquiry questions to frame the scope of their project. Topic elaboration questions can serve as a generic set of starters to help students adapt to their interests. The generic questions of topic elaboration include: What is it? How does it work? What are its interesting characteristics? How do those characteristics change over time? Space? What are those changes related to? What would happen if…? What should/ could/ might/should/will be done about this? Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Inquiry Models and Project Work in the Classroom Throughout this book, the theme of inquiry as an essential Social Studies process skill has been revisited. Re-examine the models and inquiry components that have been presented. While there are many ways to approach inquiry, students will benefit from having some consistency in the model they are using throughout the early grades. Variations can be introduced as confidence is acquired. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Check-In Processes for Project Work When students engage in sustained inquiry projects, they can be supported by having teacher planned check-in points as their work progresses. A check-in point allows the teacher and student to have regular planned conferences to examine the student’s progress, redirect if needed, and support with emerging resources. Check-in points also provide opportunities for the teacher to provide guidance about the type of presentation of the final project work that will best fit the student’s study and findings. Teachers can formalize the check-in process by making it a student’s responsibility to have each part of their project “signed off” as it progresses. A check-in record sheet can be maintained by the student and also serves to remind them of the expected steps of their inquiry. See your textbook for a sample inquiry check-in template. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Selecting Resources for Effective Inquiry As students mature in their inquiry and project skills and reading levels develop so that more types of resources are readily accessible for research, students should be taught to consider and monitor the types of resources they are using. By monitoring what they do use, students can also consider what they have not yet used and can engage in searches for those resources. Students can monitor their resource selections on a framework that exposes them to all of the possibilities and teaches them to keep accurate records about their research sources. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Project Sources Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Almanacs Journals Business directories Lecture Notes or Tapes Business Files Magazines Cartoons Maps Cemetery Records Newspapers Census records Oral Histories Charters Pamphlets Chronicles Photographs and/or Paintings Deeds Poems Diaries Real Estate Abstracts Electronic Media Reminiscences Family Bibles Statistical Data Genealogies Telephone directories Harvest Records Treaties
A Text Walk-Through When students address new sources of text, a text walk- through will help them to refresh their knowledge of text features. A text walk-through can happen in cooperative learning groups and will help to draw students’ attention to the unique features of text they may encounter during research. A text walk-through will also help to reinforce students’ developing concept vocabulary as they learn to name text features. A review of the use of graphic organizers to sort and relate information (Chapter 13) will also support students’ research work. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Documenting a Text Walk-Through A text walk-through in scavenger hunt format could be structured so that students work with a team but compete against other student teams to find many features of their text or visual source. This sample could be adapted for a text walk- through from electronic sources. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Sample Text Walk-Through Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Text FeatureFound on page… Introduction Diagrams Main Headings/Titles Captions Sub-Headings/Sub-titles Quotations Table of Contents Photos and Illustrations Credits Maps Chapter Overviews Cartoons Chapter Summaries/Reviews Web Sites Vocabulary (Bold or Italicized) Bibliography Personal Stories References/Footnotes Profiles Charts, Tables, Graphs, Timelines, Graphic Organizers Fictional Text Inserted into Informational Text to Illustrated a Point
Creation, Application, and Communication of Independent Project Work The creation, application, and communication of projects should be a celebration of the student’s work. To make the opportunities a successful learning experience for all students, each student should be taught communication skills that support presentations to a group. Prior opportunities to engage in drama activities and to use Readers’ Theatre approaches will support students’ confidence as they present individually. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Heritage Fairs The Fair's program brings together students who enjoy history and have chosen to delve deeply into a particular Canadian history topic. Typically, Heritage Fairs involve students from Grades 4 to 9, but school fairs may include students from any grade. Parents are often invited to visit the Fairs at the school level and many regional fairs welcome visitors from the local community. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Heritage Fair displays are usually three dimensional and mounted on backboards, comparable to the style used for Science Fairs. There are no size restrictions for Heritage displays. Entries may also be history based plays that are presented to all fair participants. Students who are presenting their research in a three dimensional display are encouraged to add interactive components to their displays so that visitors and fellow historians can see, touch, and even taste some of their research. Many participants develop and wear a costume that matches the theme of their display. Pioneers, Native people in traditional dress, soldiers, and early firefighters can be seen at a typical fair. Heritage Fairs are indeed a celebration of Canadian history! Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Some Ideas to Help Students Benefit From Project Work in Your Classroom Include: Projects are often completed in display style and students from the same grade or from other classes have an opportunity to visit the displays. Develop a project scavenger hunt (“Find a project that…”) which could be used for an in-class or school-wide project display event so that the visitors get the most out of their time viewing the displays. Hold a seniors’ tea (Sears, 1999) in your classroom to allow students opportunities to interview a variety of seniors about topics of interest in the lives of an earlier generation. Help students generate lists of specific and prompting questions that they can ask during an interview. Provide students with a framework to record answers and help them analyze and draw conclusions from their interview responses. Support them to write thank you letters to the seniors after the tea. Create a Powerpoint to teach your students about Heritage Fairs. Include some sample photographs of Heritage projects from the many photos available on the national Historica Dominion Institute web site. Find out about Heritage Fairs in your region. Most Heritage Fair committees welcome teachers to participate in hosting the regional fair. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Chapter Review Projects provide opportunities for students to work with ideas and synthesize and evaluate information to develop deeper understanding. During projects, students can engage text by analyzing/ interrogating it, reframing it to examine perspectives and display understanding, and by solving a problem presented through research. Analytical questions can be used to guide project work to ensure its validity. Immersion in a topic must precede project work so that the topics of projects have substance. Projects should provide opportunities to consolidate and apply learning. Students need process skills and understanding of product options before engaging in beneficial project work. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Project types include telling stories, understanding events over time and place, understanding technology, uncovering patterns, identifying problems, offering solutions, making connections, and making predictions. Parents should be informed of the goals of a project so they can support the project as valid learning and in practical ways. Rubrics can provide direction for students about goals for producing high quality projects. Specific project rubrics can be co-developed by teacher and students to help students conceptualize the characteristics of high quality projects. Exemplars provide targets for students’ project work. Source kits provide excellent resource materials for students to use for projects. Source approaches to project work have many advantages. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Primary, secondary, and tertiary resources have unique characteristics and unique advantages. Primary sources may present unique vocabulary and script challenges for young students. Project work can support many guideline goals for student learning. Interviews are special types of projects that require unique skills from students before, during, and after the interview. Students need support in preparing valid and viable questions for interviews. Projects provide unique opportunities for students to pursue personal interests related to a topic. Topic elaboration questions can be used to guide the scope of a project. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
Check-in points during project work provide a useful way to help students stay on track and to provide timely support for their work. The reading level of project resources can create challenges in primary/junior project work. Providing a list of potential sources of information for projects can help students in their quest for resources. Text walk-throughs can help prepare students to navigate texts for project work. Web sources may require additional support as students navigate this unique text style. Projects provide opportunities for students to develop many of the process and product skills targeted in provincial and territorial guidelines. Heritage Fairs provide motivating venues for the display and presentation of students’ project work. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers
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