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Social Studies in Action: A Methodology Workshop, K-5

Exploring Unity and Diversity

Who do we teach? Because themes of unity and diversity surface within both academic content and classroom climate, this session focuses on strategies for teaching provocative issues in social studies as well as methods of addressing a diversity of learners. The onscreen teachers examine national documents for themes of unity and diversity, explore Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, and develop a mini-lesson on immigration and citizenship.

Exploring Unity and Diversity

Because themes of unity and diversity surface within academic content, classroom climate, and learning differences, this session addresses the question Who do we teach? It focuses on strategies for teaching themes of unity and diversity in social studies as well as methods of addressing learning diversity.

To help you extend your thinking, you will:

  • Define elements of unity and diversity.
  • Examine models designed to help all students learn.
  • Analyze lessons for examples of unity and diversity.

 

Learning Goals

At the end of this session you will be able to:

• Identify themes of unity and diversity in social studies content.

• Address both unity and diversity in your classroom.

• Define multiple intelligences and use differentiated instructional strategies in your practice.

Engage

1 Getting Started

Watch the video introduction to familiarize yourself with the session, instructor, and participants.

View Video Segment: Introduction

You’ll find this segment at the beginning of the video. Watch for about 10 minutes.

In this video segment, participants explore elements of unity and diversity within national documents, poetry, and songs taught in social studies.

2. What Do You Know?

This activity is designed to help you think about themes of unity and diversity in social studies content. Read the following excerpt from the inaugural address delivered by President John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961. Then complete the Venn Diagram (PDF) to identify themes of unity and diversity, and where they overlap.

“We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”

3. Reflect on Your Work

After you’ve completed the Venn diagram, consider these questions:

  • What social studies topics lend themselves to teaching themes of unity or diversity?
  • How would you address the diversity of learners in your class?
  • What other elements of unity and diversity would you address?

 

Explore

Key Concepts from Glossary

Unity

Diversity

Civic education

Differentiated instruction

Multicultural education

Multiple intelligences

 

Readings
Read each of the articles listed below to gain knowledge about key concepts related to unity and diversity in social studies. As you read, look for these concepts, their definitions, and examples of each.

After you read the articles, write answers to the following questions. You can use the Reading Questions form (PDF).

  1. Describe the five dimensions of multicultural education.
  2. Choose three elements from the NCSS list of democratic beliefs and values. Explain how each element promotes individual freedom as a form of diversity and/or the common good as a form of unity.
  3. What are the multiple intelligences? How does each one address learning diversity?
  4. What is differentiated instruction and how does it address learning diversity?

Save your written work to submit as an assignment.

 

Articles
Multiculturalism’s Five Dimensions (PDF)
Michelle Tucker interviews multicultural education expert Dr. James A. Banks.

Banks, James A., and Michelle Tucker. “Multiculturalism’s Five Dimensions.” NEA Today Online.

Democratic Beliefs and Values (PDF)
Provides a listing of democratic beliefs and values from national documents.

National Council for the Social Studies. “Democratic Beliefs and Values.” Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

Multiple Intelligences (PDF)
Defines Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.

Vennema, Shirley, Lois Hetland, and Karen Chalfen (eds.). “Multiple Intelligences: The Research Perspective, A Brief Overview of the Theory.” The Project Zero Classroom: Approaches to Thinking and Understanding. Harvard Graduate School of Education and Project Zero.

Mapping a Route Toward Differentiated Instruction (PDF)
Describes differentiated instruction and what makes it effective.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. “Mapping a Route Toward Differentiated Instruction.” Educational Leadership. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Explain

The following video segment shows how themes of unity and diversity are addressed in classroom examples.

View Video Segment: Identifying Themes in Classroom Examples

You’ll find this segment approximately 11 minutes into the video. Watch for about 20 minutes.

This segment illustrates teaching strategies in several classroom examples. As you watch, take notes on the strategies teachers use to address elements of unity and diversity in terms of content, learners, and instructional strategies. This will help prepare you for the upcoming activity. Then watch the workshop participants’ discussion.

1. Analyzing Lessons

In this interactive activity, you will analyze the teaching strategies used in the classroom examples. Read the description of each segment, describe how the teachers incorporated themes of unity and diversity into their lessons, then compare your answers.

Unity and Diversity
Go to Interactive Activity

A non-interactive version of this activity is available as a PDF document.

Apply

1. Analyzing a Lesson

Workshop instructor Mary McFarland led a lesson on citizenship and immigration that was designed to incorporate themes of unity and diversity, as well as teaching strategies that focus on the multiple intelligences. Watch the video segment of the mini-lesson and identify the strategies she used. Use the Analyzing a Lesson form (PDF) to record your observations.

View Video Segment: Citizenship Mini-Lesson

You’ll find this segment approximately 32 minutes into the video. Watch for about 25 minutes.

This segment provides a review of multiple intelligences. Next, workshop participants complete a lesson on immigration and citizenship, illustrating how one lesson can include themes of unity and diversity in its content while incorporating some of the multiple intelligences as the lesson is taught.

As you watch the mini-lesson, look for evidence of unity and diversity in content and instructional strategies.

Save your written work to submit as an assignment.

 

2. Developing a Lesson

Now it’s your turn. Develop a social studies lesson that lends itself to teaching themes of unity and diversity. It can include:

  • assigning group work that requires consensus about different values;
  • examining artifacts to explore other cultures; or
  • drawing on personal experiences that reveal the prevalence of stereotypes.

Note: If you are taking all eight sessions for credit, build out from the unit you began in session one.

Create a draft of your lesson using the Developing a Lesson form (PDF). Be sure to explain how you would address themes of unity and diversity in content, and include teaching strategies you plan to use to address learning diversity. Then write your answers to the following questions:

  1. Is the unit about unity, diversity, or both? Explain your answer.
  2. How did the theory of multiple intelligences help you plan or revise your lesson?
  3. How will your teaching strategies help all students learn?

Save your written work to submit as an assignment.

 

Evaluate

What Did You Learn?
In this session, you identified a range of teaching strategies that address elements of unity and diversity in content, classroom climate, and learning differences. Now write a Summary (PDF) of what you’ve learned and how you plan to apply it in your practice. Be sure to include:

  • what it means to teach about unity and diversity;
  • strategies you learned for teaching unity and diversity in social studies content;
  • strategies you learned for addressing unity and diversity in terms of classroom climate and community demographics;
  • strategies you learned for helping all students learn social studies content; and
  • how you plan to apply these strategies in your practice.

Save your written work to submit as an assignment.

 

Refer to the Assignments below to be sure you’ve completed all assignments for this session.

Resources

Print

Banks, James A. Diversity Within Unity: Essential Principles for Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Society. Seattle: University of Washington Center for Multicultural Education, College of Education, 2001.

National Council for the Social Studies. Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. Washington, D.C.: National Council for the Social Studies, 1994.

Parker, Walter C. Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life. New York: Teachers College Press, 2002.

Perkins, David. Smart Schools. New York: The Free Press, 1992.

 

Websites

Multicultural Education
Provides a synthesis of scholarship in multicultural education.

Teaching Unity and Diversity
Explores issues in teaching unity and diversity.

Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education
Offers papers, practitioner essays, and instructional ideas.

Assignments

If you are taking this workshop for credit or professional development, submit the following assignments for session 3: Exploring Unity and Diversity.

  1. Explore: Read the articles and respond to the questions that follow.
  2. Apply: Watch the mini-lesson on citizenship and complete the Analyzing a Lesson activity.
  3. Apply: Apply what you’ve learned and complete the Developing a Lesson activity.
  4. Evaluate: Summarize what you’ve learned and how you will apply new strategies in your teaching.

Workshops