Originally Posted: Spring 2010
Ever wondered how to fit social studies into a crowded language arts curriculum? With all of the emphasis on reading and writing scores, social studies is often left out of the equation. Kindra Kilgore has found a way to bring both language arts and social studies into her 7th grade Humanities curriculum by using literature circles to ignite student interest and prepare for the Dig Deep Classroom- Based Assessment.
Kindra uses the K-12 STUDY CANADA resource, Canada, Northern Neighbor, developed by our consortium partners at the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University, as a foundation for instruction. Students work in cooperative groups to research the many geographical aspects of Canada. She then has students work in groups to read historical fiction written for young adults. Students research Canadian historical events through the novels. Individually, the students write research papers about these events to address the state CBA requirements. Finally, they present their research in groups using technology as a tool.
Participants in Kindra’s sessions at WSCSS commented that this form of instruction could work at any level and with any subject. One participant, who teaches social studies at the high school level, mentioned that this would help him work more closely with his partner teacher, who teaches English. They would be able to work together to create one integrated unit for both classes.
To learn more about using young adult historical novels in your classroom, you can find Kindra Kilgore’s power point presentation and materials on the Canadian Studies Center website.
This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Title VI grant, U.S. Department of Education, Office of International Education and Graduate Program Services.