Happy 2012 School Year! What a great time to teach social studies. With the upcoming presidential election and all of the events surrounding it and Constitution Day right around the corner, opportunities for integrated social studies and language arts are everywhere.
In our first 2 weeks at UT Elementary, each and every classroom has established a caring, supportive environment with Morning Meetings. The great thing about Morning Meeting is that it starts each day with the democratic process in a way that engages every student. I thought it would be fun to share an example of how we used Morning Meeting to support social studies and service learning just last week.
The backstory: Leading up to Constitution Day and establishing the use of primary sources to look at history from a variety of viewpoints, we used the Picturing America resource (http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/), Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell to talk about our freedoms and how the Constitution and Bill of Rights are there to guarantee our rights and freedoms. We’ve rewritten the Pledge of Allegiance in our own words and listened to the Preamble to the Constitution. We compared the four freedoms that President Roosevelt referred to in his speech during WWII and talked about why those freedoms were so important then and now. We discussed how Norman Rockwell expressed the idea of Freedom of Speech in his painting, and we decided as a class that the young man standing up and speaking had courage and appeared to be standing up for something he believed in, possibly something he wanted to change. Last, but not least, I created a brief DBQ for students to put thier ideas into writing about Freedom of Speech. My mantra for DBQs is: “The only wrong answer is no answer.” All of these experiences set the stage for our Thursday Morning Meeting last week.
Morning Meeting Lesson: Our school-wide character focus this month has been courage.
As students arrive into the classroom and complete their morning procedures, I played the song, Be the Change by Kat Edmundson (link to YouTube below). As they join me on the carpet for our Morning Meeting, I ask them to listen to the lyrics.
1. Greeting – After the song ends, I ask students to turn and greet one another and discuss what the quote, “Be the change that you want to see,” means. I also ask if anyone knows where the quote comes from (Ghandi).
2. Sharing – Students share their ideas with the class in complete sentences. One of our 5th grade girls, Amethyst, said it best, “Be the change means if you want to see more trees in the world, then plant more trees!”
3. Activity – Turn and talk to a partner about what your feel strongly enough about that you would stand up and speak about it, or “be the change.” We recorded these ideas and I encouraged students to use this as a topic for their writing during language arts stations.
4. Message – Included in their Morning Message on this day is a link to our H2O for Life Project fundraising page
We wrap up our introduction to service learning by watching the video made last year when the non-profit organization Students of the World joined us on our annual Walk4Water. Check it out! http://vimeo.com/4762582
Kat Edmundson – Be the Change:
Thanks all. Peace out.