The summer of 2006, I was able to attend the Social Studies class through the Teaching American History in South Carolina program. The main objectives in the course were American History from 1865 to Modern Times, the exact timeline I teach in my fifth grade class. The information, events and activities tied into many of my lessons in the classroom along with the connection with South Carolina.
Being able to learn the material from a Master teacher was an incredible addition to my growing knowledge on the topics for my classroom. The ability to listen and discuss the information with individuals that share an interest in the information was also a positive attribute to the course.
The tours and visitations of the various places added some good incite to places in South Carolina, with in driving distance from my school, for field studies in Social Studies. Being able to tour and learn the different aspects of the locations assisted with the planning of the lesson, using the information I obtained, learned and experienced during the days in the course.
I believe what has really improved my knowledge and ability to be a better teacher is the material I was able to receive during the class. I was able to have a large number of books and resources to use during the planning of my lesson and activities. I has put some great sources and information together to make researching certain topic much easier, when tying them into South Carolina. I was also able to learn how to use Primary Sources and Secondary Sources to make the lessons I teach to may students meaning and connected to real life situations from the past. Knowing there are individual with such knowledge of primary sources so near to us, will assist in future planning the lessons.
Starting out the school year a co-worker and I, that took the course with me, were very excited to use the knowledge of the Primary Sources we discovered over the summer course. We were opening a new school that was not ready and tried to use the information we had for our first standard. Our first unit was Reconstruction and we learned of many items that were connected to South Carolina. Many of these sources were introduced and used in different lessons. The outcome was mixed.
The feeling as a teacher I was to not satisfied with the way the lesson went the actual knowledge the students learned from it. Knowing what I know now after learning more about the different sources I was able to create much more meaningful lessons that I know the student really gained some incite to what truly happened in South Carolina during the times we studied.
The project that came out of the lesson I did with the Primary and Secondary Sources did not produce the level of quality I would have liked out of my students. As I began to write up the lesson I intended to use I saw more I could do with it and didn’t feel I could put the feel to the lesson that it really deserved. I will rearrange the lesson for next year’s lesson to incorporate what I have learned over the past few months with what I learned this summer.
As a result, I have rearranged my lessons to be done in the future. I feel I have learned so much since I have had the opportunity to put some quality time into creating a lesson with all the information I gained with the course. I feel the lesson I have created, along with my co-workers is a lesson that will be meaningful to the students. Since teaching is all about student learning. I focused on what was best for the students.
The students have had the chance to work with a number of Primary Sources within the Social Studies lesson I have done their year. That is a major change from any teaching I have done in the past. I think they have really benefited from the knowledge I have gained in these few months. The students also were able to learn some new presentation techniques and that will benefit the project put together for this lesson.
After the several lessons created for this unit the students will be able to use a variety of Primary Sources to create a presentation for others to use toward their learning. The students will be able to find Primary Sources on their own, put them into Photo Story presentation and narrate it with the information they learn through the research, interview and different activities.
In the future, I intend to use the skills I have learned in this course in all my Social Studies lessons. I am very excited to teach the unit we have developed for WWII. The students really enjoy learning about the real things that happened and having Primary Sources back up that it is real and that is what leaves a lasting affect on their lives. I also know that it really takes some planning ahead and compiling of information to present a meaningful lesson.
This course had made a great impact on my teaching and creating of meaningful lessons. I would encourage all to take the time to learn and use what they learned to help students know about the past.