Thursday, January 19, 2017

Exploring Sources

Learning about social studies concepts I remember reading out of a textbook or watching videos. I never thought about how I was shown one point of view- the publishers. Students today need to think about who is giving the information and keep that in mind. We started our study of explorers and began discussing Christopher Columbus. I asked students to think about who this man was and jot down some notes. Watching a BrainPOP video on Columbus, students then added to their notes about who he was. I reminded them we saw BrainPOP’s point of view. Then we read out of our History Alive books, and we talked about how this was the point of view of the textbook company. Students continued to add to their ideas of who Columbus was. Students and I discussed how it is important to read various points of view on something before making an informed judgment. Next week we will read Encounter.

When you present varying points of view to students they start to develop opinions and question things. Students started with the notion that Columbus discovered America and now questioning how he did this, as they were surprised people just claimed land for their country. Others are wondering if Columbus was a good man vs. a selfish man. They are developing ideas and stretching their thinking about how he was a catalyst for change. Students should be aware that when they are reading textbooks it is one side of the story. Same thing with watching the news, depending on the station you are on.


1 comment:

  1. Great post, Rayna. This is a critical skill for our students to learn and explore. Would love to hear how the conversation shifts and grows after you all read Encounter. That's such a powerful book and offers a new perspective for many students. It's wonderful that "perspective" is becoming a primary theme of your social studies units and a lens through which to interpret both current and historical events!