Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of a middle school student.
LINK: Exploring Geography Through African History Home
LINK: About the Class
Watching the video
LINK: Connecting to Your Teaching
LINK: Standards
LINK: Resources

Watching the Video

Image of a notebook with the following text displayed: Reflect: As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them in a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • How do you approach a subject as general as world cultures?
  • How would you narrow the focus of a topic as broad and complex as Africa?
  • How might you integrate the study of Africa's geography, history, and culture?
  • What are the key unifying themes or questions you would formulate in preparing a unit on Africa?
  • What background knowledge do students need before beginning a unit on Africa?

Watch the Video
As you watch "Exploring Geography Through African History," take notes on Ms. Farrow's instructional strategies, particularly how she supports student inquiry. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.


Reflecting on the Video
Review your notes, then respond to the following questions:

  • What struck you about the classroom climate, background, preparation, strategies, and materials used in this lesson?
  • How did Ms. Farrow help students use their prior experience with timelines to understand African history?
  • What were Ms. Farrow's goals for this lesson?
  • Which of the strategies used by Ms. Farrow were especially effective in accomplishing the goals for this lesson?
  • How did Ms. Farrow structure the learning experiences to ensure success on the part of all students?
  • How did Ms. Farrow encourage students to make use of multiple types of resources?

Looking Closer
Let's take a second look at Ms. Farrow's class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Closeup of students hands working.
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Building Background Through Inquiry: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your video screen. You'll find this segment approximately 5 minutes into the video. Watch for about 6 minutes.

Ms. Farrow has given the students maps, titles, and descriptions of events to match up. Students are using clues to determine which pieces of information belong together.

  • How does group work facilitate a better understanding of the topic?
  • What does the student comment near the end of this clip reveal about students' perceptions of what was learned in this lesson?
  • How does this lesson address Ms. Farrow's overall learning objectives for students in their study of Africa and geography?
Students working together.
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Using Timelines To Extend Learning: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your video screen. You'll find this segment approximately 13 minutes into the video. Watch for about 3 minutes.

Ms. Farrow has asked students to work in pairs to develop timelines that show the duration of key periods in African history. Students then use their timelines to answer questions.

  • What are students learning as they use the timelines to answer additional questions?
  • What kinds of connections can students make by doing this activity?
  • Which skills are developed by the activities in this lesson?
  • How might this activity be reconfigured for a student who has difficulty organizing timelines?

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