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 high school student in the classroom.
LINK: Gender-based Distinctions 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:

  • What are the benefits and challenges of teaching controversial topics in social studies?
  • Do you think a teacher should divulge his or her own position on controversial issues?
  • How do you create a safe classroom environment that encourages students to participate fully and share their ideas and opinions? Are there specific, non-negotiable ground rules that you put in place before discussion begins?
  • How do you ensure full participation by students in small-group work?
  • Why is it important for students to be able to relate social studies concepts to their own lives? What are some of the ways that you help students do this?

Watch the Video
As you watch "Gender-based Distinctions," take notes on Mr. Rockey's instructional strategies, particularly how he pursues multiple goals in the lesson. 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?
  • Why do you think Mr. Rockey decided to focus his lesson on gender-based discrimination?
  • How did Mr. Rockey clarify the goals of the lesson before students began their work?
  • How did Mr. Rockey encourage groups to stay focused on all of the goals in the lesson?
  • What evidence did you notice that students were thinking, that they were civil in their discussions, and that they worked together to produce posters?
  • What roles does Mr. Rockey assume during the group discussions, group presentations, and later in the whole-class discussion?
  • How is this class different from yours? How would you introduce controversial topics in your social studies class?

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

Mr. Rockey standing at a podium next to his class.
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Assessing Small-Group Discussions: 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 12 minutes into the video. Watch for about 5 minutes.

After students watch one group model a discussion, they divide into small groups to talk about gender-based issues. Mr. Rockey checks in with the groups as they work.

  • What do you notice about the way Mr. Rockey works with each group?
  • When and how does he intervene, and what are the results?
  • What role does "validating" student work play in learning?
Mr. Rockey in his classroom.
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Facilitating Civil Discourse: 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 18 minutes into the video. Watch for about 5 minutes.

Students have completed and presented their small-group work. In a whole-class setting, with males and females facing each other, Mr. Rockey leads a discussion about various gender-based issues.

  • Why do you think Mr. Rockey decided to use the male/female configuration for discussing these issues? What are the benefits of dividing the class along gender lines? What are the benefits of using mixed gender groups for the discussion?
  • How does Mr. Rockey get the discussion back on course when students' comments drift to other topics? Are there times when it is appropriate to let a discussion drift off course?
  • What evidence do you see of student engagement and learning?
  • What evidence do you see of NCSS standards being addressed in this lesson?

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