Category Archives: Social Studies

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

Independent Practice: Hinduism

Here is an independent practice worksheet on Hinduism. I don’t know about your school district, but in the years I taught in New York City, understanding the South Asian civilization (s) was a key part of the global studies curriculum.

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.

One Way to Think about Teaching Social Studies

“Social scientific research is and always will be tentative and imperfect. It does not claim to transform economics, sociology, and history into exact sciences. But by patiently searching for facts and patterns and calmly analyzing the economic, social, and political mechanisms that might explain them, it can inform democratic debate and focus attention on the right questions. It can help to redefine the terms of debate and focus attention on the right questions. It can help to redefine the terms of debate, unmask certain preconceived or fraudulent notions, and subject all positions to critical scrutiny. In my view, this is the role that intellectuals, including social scientists, should play as citizens like any other but with the good fortune to have more time than others to devote themselves to study (and even to be paid for it—a signal privilege).”

Piketty, Thomas. Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2014.

Autoimmune Disease

Good morning on a bright and sunny day in southwestern Vermont. This seems like a good time to post this reading on autoimmune disease and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

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.

Independent Practice: Three Chinese Dynasties

Here’s an independent practice (what teacher also call homework) worksheet on three Chinese dynasties. This is really a basic reading comprehension worksheet and therefore seeks to use the social studies curriculum as a means of increasing literacy.

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 Order of Things: Admission (or Readmission after the Civil War) of States to the Union

As I mentioned the previous posts in which I published these documents (and you can learn more about these materials in the “About Posts & Texts” page on the homepage of this blog, just above the banner photograph), I began to contrive lessons from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book The Order of Things just about the time I left public education last month. So, because I have only used these materials in the classroom a couple of times, they remain somewhat tentative.

Nonetheless, I wrote 30 of them, and have the document templates prepared to write 30 more–at least. If you’ve ever considered commenting on Mark’s Text Terminal, I would be very much obliged to hear what you think of these lessons. I intended them for emergent and struggling readers as a means to experience directly the task of reading and comprehending two symbolic systems (i.e. numbers and letters) at the same time.

So, here is a lesson plan on admission (and readmission after the Civil War) of states to the Union, along with its reading and comprehension worksheet. The worksheet is relatively short; like most other things on this blog, however, it is in Microsoft Word and therefore easily manipulable to your needs. I suppose, as I look at these, they have the potential for transfer into cross-disciplinary instruction.

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.

Larry Bird

OK, while Jimmy Rushing (“Mr. Five by Five“)  sings the blues in the background, let me offer this high-interest reading on Larry Bird along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Bird, in my experience over the years, remains of interest to students who are likewise interested in professional basketball.

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: Skill

“Skill: In everyday speech, skill means a relatively precise set of manual or mental techniques which, though they may depend on aptitude, have to be learned through training or schooling. Sociological work, though not denying this aspect of skill, is primarily concerned with the management of skill; that is, how skill is defined, constructed, and recognized. Since the publication of Harry Braverman’s work in the 1970s, much scholarship has been devoted to examining Karl Marx’s claim that ‘valorization’ in the capitalist labor process requires a continual attempt to de-skill expensive forms of labor. De-skilling means either the disintegration and mechanization of craft techniques; or a refusal adequately to recognize established or new capabilities still required of the worker. The latter is very common in women’s employment. Many writers, Marxist and non-Marxist alike, argue that de-skilling is not inevitable. Workers, individually or through trade unions, may resist mechanization, or insist that de-skilled processes are reserved for workers with established training, who continue to be paid a premium for their displaced skills. Also, employers may upgrade (or ‘upskill’) workers; because they wish to recognize and retain dependable or experienced workers; or to control and inhibit labor unrest; or because, notwithstanding Marx, the development of technology has created new skills in place of older ones. In any case, jobs may be de-skilled without necessarily implying the de-skilling of individual workers, or indeed the labor force as a whole. A selection of empirical case studies are reported in Roger Penn et al (eds.), Skill and Occupational Change (1994).”

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