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Social Studies Statement

The Learning Goal contains a Social Studies section. The project selected to represent

this goal is a Passion Project that was created in the social studies practicum course through the

Master’s of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. The Passion Project Reflection represents my

thoughts and describes the layout of the project and it can be used in the classroom with students.

The social studies curriculum determines the material that should be presented to students, but

educators are quested with the challenge of presenting the material in developmental

appropriateness for all students.

The breadth of content of social studies is broad, and can be daunting to teach to young

students without a direction for instruction. “First, social studies instruction must be meaningful.

This requires appealing to students’ interests, capitalizing on diversity, differentiating according

to students’ needs, helping students make connections between social studies content and their

own experiences, and implementing a rich variety of practical tools” (Bauml, 2016). Making

connections is the core of my teaching philosophy and social studies instruction can be

connected to almost every aspect of students’ lives and experiences.

Connecting to individual students grants educators an open door to get students excited

about learning and introduce passion for social studies. “Elementary teachers viewed other forms

of instruction, such as class projects and discussion as more effective while secondary teachers

considered lecture as more effective” (Lucey, Shifflet & Weilbacher, 2014). The passion project

presented an opportunity for me to dig deeper into a topic that interested me and I was more

focused on finding new information for the project than I would have for a topic I was not as

interested in.

Students can take away meaningful information when individual ideas are compiled

together in projects with critical historical thinking. “[A study] demonstrates that the arts can be

used to teach higher critical thinking skills and the complexities that surround social, cultural,

economic, and political events in everyday life” (Colley, 2012). The passion project presentation

contains images of the art project that I created to go with the research of the main topic.

“Examples of integrated lesson and activities in elementary classrooms take many forms… For

example, grade two students learn about their community by identifying recreational activities,

their geographic location and distance from school, and paint pictures and write poems to

symbolize what the activities mean to them” (Denton & Sink, 2015). Educational time is limited,

and integrating multiple subjects together when applicable can be beneficial for both the students

and educators.

The passion project incorporated primary sources that added information to accompany

information gathered from literature to create a balanced project. “For elementary social studies,

practical tools may include strategies such as graphic organizers, timelines, and document-based

questions… and instructional resources such as primary sources, children’s literature, and

textbooks” (Bauml, 2016). These tools can be used to provide variety in learning and keep

students engaged.

Social studies curriculum presents a wide variety of information and the opportunity for

educators to work with students to find interests and investigate. “Teachers have used stories,

images, humor, binary oppositions, a sense of mystery, a sense of reality… [to] routinely

engaging students’ imaginations in learning social studies content” (Egan & Judson, 2009).

Students who are interested will be more willing to participate and learn. The passion project was

a great way to incorporate social studies topics, the arts and technology.


Bauml, M. (2016). Is it cute or does it count? Learning to teach for meaningful social studies

in elementary grades. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 40, 55–69. https://doi-


Colley, B. M. (2012). Teaching Social Studies through the Performing Arts. Educational

Forum, 76(1), 4–12. Retrieved from



Denton, D. W., & Sink, C. (2015). Preserving Social Studies as Core Curricula in an Era of

Common Core Reform. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 6(2), 1–17.

Retrieved from



Egan, K., & Judson, G. (2009). Values and Imagination in Teaching: With a Special Focus on

Social Studies. Educational Philosophy & Theory, 41(2), 126–140. https://doi-


Lucey, T. A., Shifflet, R. A., & Weilbacher, G. A. (2014). Patterns of Early Childhood,

Elementary, and Middle-Level Social Studies Teaching: An Interpretation of Illinois

Social Studies Teachers’ Practices and Beliefs. Social Studies, 105(6), 283–290.