Standard 1


Demonstrates knowledge of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) s/he teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful to students.

Artifacts:

History 304 Final Paper (“Montclair and its Race Problem”) 

Using Internet for Research Lesson Plan

Primary Source vs. Secondary Sources for Malala Lesson Plan

Rationale: 

As a history major at Bowdoin College, I successfully prepared myself to understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of Social Studies, while simultaneously learning how to effectively teach students these components of the discipline. My procurement of a Bachelor of Arts in History made me a more astute and committed preceptor of the human experience. While studying history, I learned to understand the importance of individual action, place, and time on history, appreciate the value of an assortment of different kinds of evidence for developing a strong argument, and analyze different interpretations of historical events and historical trends for their merits and faults. My History 304 final paper most clearly demonstrates my ability to evaluate seemingly conflicting evidence and other historians’ interpretations, emphasizes the importance of geography to history, and effectively postulates my own, informed opinion.

Evidence and the interpretations they elicit are the primary tools of inquiry for social studies. My final research paper for my history seminar Place in American History, titled “Montclair and its Race Problem”, evaluates racial dynamics in my hometown, Montclair. The paper argues that, “while Montclair has certainly striven for integration and racial-equality, it has often struggled to fully extricate itself from race and class-based community problems, just like many other places in American history.” Although the paper primarily focuses on race problems in Montclair, it connects these local problems to the larger historical concept of race and class struggle, especially in the United States. Through Montclair, I demonstrate that most societies struggle with class and race differences at times, although how these societies choose to remember or forget these struggles differs. The paper combines primary and secondary sources to illustrate Montclair’s development into an affluent commuter suburb, while analyzing different authors’ perspectives on how successfully it integrated its black and white citizens, while offering my own evidence-supported opinion on the subject. In the paper, I rely on the existing scholarship on Montclair’s history to guide my research, yet I form my own, distinct interpretation, modeling the structure of historical debate.

As a teacher, I am responsible for creating learning experiences that make the central concepts of history meaningful to my students. My lesson plan for a seventh grade socials studies class on using the Internet to learn is evidence that I can teach students how to effectively find valid information online. During the lesson, my students practice effective researching strategies by searching online for the answers of teacher-given questions on current events and determining the credibility of that information based on the website’s quality of text, URL, and perimeter. The lesson plan requires my students to examine how effectively and efficiently they use the Internet to to learn, since interpreting the quality and meaning of evidence is a central concept of social studies. My students are privy to a vast range of information pertaining to social studies on the Internet, but without an understanding of how to interpret the validity of this information, they risk learning the wrong information and reaching unsupported conclusions.

I also demonstrate that I have met Standard One in my seventh grade social studies lesson plan on primary and secondary sources. During the lesson, I provide definitions, examples, and purposes for both kinds of sources in preparation for our learning activity. This activity is a learning experience that requires my students to analyze different sources on Pakistan and Malala Yousafzai, one of our unit topics, and determining whether they are primary or secondary sources. Not only do my students analyze the differences between primary and secondary sources during this lesson, they also gain an appreciation for how a combination of both kinds of sources is ideal for effective research. Evaluating and using evidence to support arguments is a crucial tenet of social studies; since this lesson contributes to my students’ ability to integrate both secondary and primary sources to support their conclusions, they gain credibility in their findings and a deeper understanding of the material.

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