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Keep students engaged and active with more than 100 classroom-tested tools

Tools for Teaching Social Studies delivers a wealth of practical, immediately useful ideas for the classroom — all grounded in solid educational philosophy. A lifeline for new social studies teachers and a source of inspiration and new ideas for experienced teachers, this book by master educator Jim Parsons will help you thrive throughout your career. Along with useful suggestions to build fundamental learning experiences for your students, you’ll also find lifesaving handouts you can use in your classroom to get you out of those last-minute jams.

These 100+ tools will help you to:

  • Discover your unique style and connect with your students. What’s your teaching identity?
  • Set and achieve realistic professional and personal goals.
  • Learn five key teaching principles to put you and your students on the path to success.
  • Stay organized and manage your time effectively.
  • Empower yourself as a teacher. Don’t get burned out!
  • Facilitate effective group work.
  • Create engaging learning plans.
  • Use social media the right way in the classroom.

Table of Contents

Section 1: Being a Teacher
Linking it together: Thinking about teaching

Tool 1.1 Finding your teaching identity
Tool 1.2 Becoming an empowered teacher
Tool 1.3 Setting teaching goals
Tool 1.4 Supporting yourself
Tool 1.5 Managing your expectations
Tool 1.6 Managing your time
Tool 1.7 Participating in professional development
Section 2: The Practice of Teaching
Linking it together: The importance of planning

Tool 2.1 Using the program of studies/curriculum
Tool 2.2 Planning a unit
Tool 2.3 Writing a lesson plan
Tool 2.4 Building a community of learning
Tool 2.5 Establishing class routines
Tool 2.6 Staying organized
Section 3: Engaging Students
Linking it together: Meeting students’ needs

Tool 3.1 Telling stories
Tool 3.2 Using student-centred learning
Tool 3.3 Using group work
Tool 3.4 Encouraging homework and study routines
Tool 3.5 Fostering inclusion
Tool 3.6 Promoting social justice
Tool 3.7 Engaging diversity
Tool 3.8 Working with FNMI students
Tool 3.9 Addressing mental health
Tool 3.10 Communicating with parents
Section 4: Teaching Literacy Skills
Linking it together: Literacy includes skills of understanding

Tool 4.1 Presenting course content
Tool 4.2 Taking notes
Tool 4.3 Using textbooks
Tool 4.4 Reading and discussion
Tool 4.5 Reviewing vocabulary
Tool 4.6 Writing position papers
Tool 4.7 Writing social studies essays
Tool 4.8 Writing reports using pictures
Tool 4.9 Writing on the computer
Tool 4.10 Writing tribute poems or essays
Tool 4.11 Writing and using personal value dilemmas
Tool 4.12 Preparing and structuring debates
Tool 4.13 Asking good questions
Tool 4.14 Teaching chronology and concentricity
Tool 4.15 Teaching critical analysis
Section 5: Assessment
Linking it together: Make assessment frequent, varied, fair, and positive

Tool 5.1 Planning your evaluation scheme
Tool 5.2 Recording and calculating marks
Tool 5.3 Writing thought-provoking multiple-choice questions
Tool 5.4 Creating quick quizzes
Tool 5.5 Creating a good final exam
Tool 5.6 Grading social studies essays
Tool 5.7 Using rubrics
Tool 5.8 Using alternative assessment strategies
Tool 5.9 Separating grades from feedback
Tool 5.10 Getting feedback from students
Section 6: Technology
Linking it together: Integrate technology into the curriculum

Tool 6.1 Integrating technology
Tool 6.2 Choosing social media
Tool 6.3 Using movies
Tool 6.4 Keeping track of movies and video materials
Tool 6.5 Incorporating music
Tool 6.6 Using computer applications
Section 7: Research and Experiential Learning
Linking it together: Connect with students’ lives

Tool 7.1 Synthesizing and generalizing
Tool 7.2 Distinguishing between fact and opinion
Tool 7.3 Creating safe spaces for sharing
Tool 7.4 Encouraging tolerance, understanding, and critical thinking
Tool 7.5 Promoting student voices and government
Tool 7.6 Encouraging reflection
Tool 7.7 Bringing history to life
Tool 7.8 Using oral history
Tool 7.9 Building living libraries
Tool 7.10 Using fieldtrips
Tool 7.11 Using statistics
Tool 7.12 Using newspapers as a resource
Tool 7.13 Searching and researching

I would recommend this book for any preservice or novice teacher, and even veteran teachers could take away a few new instructional techniques from reading it.… I would strongly recommend it for introductory pedagogical courses.

Teachers College Record

Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons, PhD, is a professor in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Education. His research and writing interests are in the areas of online education, student engagement, and instructional leadership. A teacher educator who has researched and taught throughout North America, China, and Scotland, Jim is the president of the Northwest Association of Teacher Educators and the former president of the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement.

Mariah Schroder

Mariah Schroder is a recent graduate of the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. She received the Roger S. Smith Award for undergraduate research in 2014. Her research and areas of interest are social studies pedagogy and First Nations’ education, specifically the reconciliation of traditional and emergent knowledge.

Other contributors are Craig Ferguson, Michelle Gulka, Natasha Kolibaba, Chris Larose, Ash Miller, George Richardson, Laura Servage, Stephen Stoyko, and Samantha Tooke.