Category Archives: Social Studies

Lesson plans that use the high school social studies curriculum to build literacy and learning skills.

The Weekly Text, July 3, 2020

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Bomb Sight.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the proverb “pride goeth before a fall.” You’ll need this scan of the illustration and questions that drive the case to conduct your investigation. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key so that you and your students can solve the case and arrest the suspected felon and bring him or her to the bar of justice.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Doonesbury

If you have any budding comic strip drafters, graphic novelists, or just kids who like to draw in your cohort (I’ve had quite a few over the years), then this reading on the comic strip Doonesbury and its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet might be of interest to them. In my experience, this reading has been high-interest material for a certain kind of student, especially once they’ve seen the strip itself–available in most daily newspapers and, of course, online. If you had told me that more than forty years after I was introduced to this strip in high school it would still be going strong, I don’t know if I would have believed it.

So, if nothing else, the topical nature of Doonesbury and its longevity, inextricably intertwined as they are, is an area for some critical inquiry.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Neurosis

None of us know, I guess, what’s going to happen with schools opening in the fall. Even with the best case scenario, opening schools is a dicey proposition. In any case, health teachers or just about anyone in a classroom come September, you may find this reading on neurosis and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet useful for helping your students understand their feelings.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Social Fact

Social Fact: A complex notion, with attributes of externality, constraint, and ineluctability. It is to be understood within the context of Emile Durkheim’s conception of collective conscience and collective representations. Social facts are ways of acting which emanate from collectively elaborated and therefore authoritative rules, maxims, and practices, both religious and secular. Norms and institutions are examples of social facts in more or less solidified forms. They constitute practices of the group taken collectively and thus impose themselves and are internalized by the individual. Because they are collectively elaborated they are moral and therefore constrain individual behavior. The interesting problem for sociologists concerns the gap between the ideal representations and the material social organizations and their constituent actions—as, for example, between the socially approved forms and the actual practice.

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Cultural Literacy: Mixed Economy

I’m not sure if high-school economics class get to the point of discussing them (when I worked and at an economics and finance themed high school, the topic never came up, which may mean something), but if one somewhere does, than here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a mixed economy.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate: A memorable film (1962) directed by John Frankenheimer, based on Richard Condon’s novel of the same name (1959). It tells the story of a Korean War ‘hero’ (played by Laurence Harvey) who returns to the USA as a brainwashed zombie triggered to kill a liberal politician, his ‘control’ being his ambitious mother (played by Angela Lansbury). She goes on to order him to kill the presidential nominee, so that her husband, the vice-presidential candidate, can take over. Manchuria is a region of communist China to the north of North Korea. The expression ‘Manchurian candidate’ has subsequently been used to denote a person who has been brainwashed by some organization or foreign power and programmed to carry out its orders automatically.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Term of Art: Theism

“Theism: A term which refers to the belief in the existence of a divine being, especially in the existence of a single God, who is thought to be personal and who is the Creator of the universe. Theism involves the idea of divine revelation, and consequently is contrasted with deism, the rational belief in divinity independent of faith in a revealed truth.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Given that June 6 was the 75th anniversary of D-Day, this reading on Dwight D. Eisenhower and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet are a day late and a dollar short.

Better late than never, I guess.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Social Work

Social Work: The generic term applied to the various applied methods for promoting human welfare through the prevention and relief of suffering. In the late nineteenth century, social work was largely voluntary (notably as a charitable activity on the part of middle-class women), and aimed primarily at the alleviation o fmaterial poverty. In the period since the Second World War, social work practice has become increasingly professionalized, and now has a much wider remit embracing emotional and mental as well as economic well-being.

Contemporary social work tends to suffer from a lack of differentiation from the various other social services which comprise the modern welfare state. In Britain, for example, social workers have no legal obligation (and no practical resources) to deal with issues of unemployment, housing, and poverty—all of which are responsibility of other social services. What they are expected to deal with are the wide range of problems which diminish the ‘quality of inner life’; for example, problems and crises associated with adoption, fostering of the young and old, marital reconciliation, sexual and physical abuse, and people’s relationships with one another generally.

 

There are several models of social work practice. The ‘problem-solving’ approach involves the social worker in reinforcing the client’s emotional and organizational resources to deal with his or her difficulties. The various ‘psycho-social therapies’ stress the need for prior psycho-social diagnosis as a prerequisite for psycho-social treatment. Partly as a reaction against the deterministic and mechanical view of action implied in these approaches, ‘functionalists’ have emphasized the role of the social worker in helping (rather than treating) the client, by sustaining an appropriate supporting relationship with him or her. Other models are oriented towards behavior-modification, crisis-intervention, and short-term task-centeredness. In reality, practice tends to be characterized by eclectic pragmatism, rather than adherence to a specific method. Strong recent influences include feminist theory and anti-oppressive practice. Good recent overviews are Malcolm Payne, Modern Social Work Theory (1991) for Britain, and J. Heffernan et al., Social Work and Social Welfare (2nd edn., 1992) for the United States.

Not surprisingly, many outside observers have expressed concern at the periodic psychotherapeutic takeover of social work; similarly, given its inherently moral character, social work practice has been subject to repeated controversy involving those who view it as primarily a political tool—either for promoting or hindering social justice.

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Draft Riots

Now seems like a perfect time to post this reading on the draft riots in New York City in 1863 and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. These events were, among other things, an outbreak of racist violence that included the arson against the Colored Orphan Asylum on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.