Social Studies resources that are guaranteed to increase student engagement

student engagement
Social Studies resources that are guaranteed to increase student engagement

The case for improving student engagement

Social studies can be a challenging subject when it comes to active student engagement. But what does it look like? Are there rules? It can be hard to get kids excited about learning about history and current events. But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are ways to make social studies more engaging for students. But how do you promote student engagement? By using active learning techniques, incorporating multimedia resources, and allowing for student choice, you can capture your students’ attention and motivate them to learn. With these strategies, you can help your students see that social studies can be fun, engaging, and relevant to their lives.

Technology and student engagement

There are many types of student engagement. In today’s fast-paced world, technology can be a powerful tool for engagement. When used correctly, it can help students to feel more connected to the material and to each other. Online quizzes and games can add excitement to the learning process and provide students with a tangible experience of complex concepts. One way technology can foster increased engagement is through Google Slides. But not just any Google Slides – interactive Slides. By providing opportunities for students to click, drag, and drop, you can grab their attention and keep them interested in the lesson. Students love typing right on the slides or inserting images to show their learning and thinking. And because they’re having fun while they’re doing it, they won’t even realize they’re learning. Here are some tips for creating interactive Google Slides that will engage your students:

Creating interactive slides 101:

  • Use engaging visuals. This could include photos, videos, GIFs, or even just well-designed slides. Anything that will capture and hold your students’ attention is a good choice.
  • Use questions and prompts throughout the presentation to encourage student participation. You can also use built-in features like polls and quizzes to get students even more involved. Pear Deck is amazing for this!
  • Make it personal by adding your own voice and personality to the presentation. Students will be more engaged if they feel a connection to the person presenting the material.
Use engaging visuals with photos, videos, GIFs. Well-designed slides are the key to maintaining attention.

Benefits of student engagement through project based learning

One way to increase student engagement in Social Studies is to use project-based learning. Project based learning is a hands-on approach that lets students explore real-world problems and implications. This approach gives students the chance to work on real-world problems, carry out research, develop solutions, and present their findings. Not only does this help students to understand the material on a deeper level, but it also fosters essential critical thinking and communication skills. As a result, project based learning is an excellent way to increase student engagement in Social Studies. Here are some examples of project based learning I’ve done in my Global History and U.S History classes:

Increased student engagement with learning stations

One way to increase student engagement in Social Studies is to use learning stations. Stations encourage students to move around the classroom and collaborate with peers. It also gives them a chance to be active learners, rather than passively listening to a lecture. When using learning stations, it is important to carefully consider the topics you will cover and the activities you will assign. The goal is to create a balance between movement and content knowledge. For example, you might have one station where students read about a particular historical event and another station where they create a timeline of that event. Additionally, stations can be used to accommodate different learning styles, making the material more accessible to all students. By using a variety of activities, you can ensure that all students are engaged and learning.

My African Trading Kingdoms Stations Activity is a lesson that I’ve done while getting observed and it is always a slam dunk with administrators. It focuses on reading, writing, and mapping skills. The stations require collaboration and communication, two staples of any great lesson plan execution. Students look forward to rotating around the room to see what the challenge of the next station will be. This lesson is a great way to mix up the usual routine and get students thinking critically about important concepts. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to assess student understanding in a variety of different ways.

African Trading Kingdoms Stations Activity

Trick them into learning

The best learning happens when students aren’t aware of it. My Declaration of Independence lesson is hands down my favorite thing I’ve ever done in the classroom and always leaves a lasting impression on every student. All eyes are on me, students are pumped up and eager for what will come next. A little drama and theatrics go a long  way with this interactive break up letter activity to introduce students to the Declaration of Independence. As I read the breakup letter out loud to students, they hoot and holler over the intimate details of the ‘relationship’ being exposed. Students are so invested and intrigued by the relationship drama that they become immediately sucked in. They forget they are in school and suddenly have an urgent need to know what happened next in the breakup saga. When I finally reveal that I’m actually talking about the breakup between the colonies and Britain, students go absolutely wild! This lesson truly takes engagement to an entirely new level that is unparalleled.

“As I read the breakup letter out loud to students, they hoot and holler over the intimate details of the ‘relationship’ being exposed.”

Going beyond the performance

Not every lesson can be a dog and pony show. It is important that students develop lifelong study skills and note taking techniques that will facilitate future success in a career or higher learning setting. However, I try to incorporate at least 2-3 high engagement activities per week in my Social Studies lessons. I find that students look forward to the unknown of the next surprise. By keeping them on their toes, there’s always an aura of mystery around how and what we’ll learn today.

Looking for more?

A major benefit of student engagement is the absence of student misbehaviors. If you’re still not convinced, check out this article on academic outcomes. If you found this post helpful, you’ll love reading my recent post about 5 ways to improve classroom management.

Looking for more tips on teaching Social Studies? Join the StuckOnEDU family! Click here.

Thank you so much for being here. Make it a great day and change someone’s life today!💕 Dani

Looking for more tips on teaching Social Studies? Join the StuckOnEDU family! Click here.

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