Student Creation

A common complaint among teachers and parents is the lack of student motivation. From the student perspective, they must focus on up to seven courses worth of material five days a week and complete homework afterwards. As many researchers and educators have discovered long before now, people, not just young students, are incapable of listening and memorizing for extended periods of time. Although teachers know this, students still have huge chunks of their day in which they do nothing but listen. History classes tend to be guiltier than other classes, because many believe that lecture is the best method for dispensing history. This is an undervalue to what history and social studies has to offer and should change in order to bring out the best potential of students.

One of the best methods a social studies teacher can do is allow their students to be creationist in their classrooms.

Quick Tips
1. Multiply the grade number of your students and multiply by 2. That is how many minutes you should expect to lecture them in a class.
2. Do not teach students how to copy down notes. Teach them how to take good notes from secondary and primary sources.
3. Let students create in your classroom.
4. Allow students to choose their topics and how they present.
5. Help students create their own compelling questions and guide, not teach, them to a good answer.
6. Collaborate with other teachers. Give students as much school time as possible to work.
7. Google “National History Day.”

Three different project being worked on. The large project on the left turned out great!

One of the best methods a social studies teacher can do is allow their students to be creationist in their classrooms. Allow students the autonomy to choose their own topics. This must go beyond creating a list of twenty famous people and allowing the students to choose one. Students should have time in class to learn the different themes and topics of social studies and explore which one pertains most to them. Ask students what problems do they want to fix when they grow up or what do they want to be should be asked from the beginning of class. Pair these questions with the reflection question that would help students understand how the study of history can help them better prepare for their future careers and interests.

Students spent months researching their self chosen topics. Watching them put it together was great!

Project Based Learning has been around for several years, and when used correctly, can promote the creationist skills to be successful as a citizen and historian. In addition to PBL implementation, instructors should strive to join organization that share, promote, or sponsor projects in history. National History Day is one example of an organization that would send resources to assist students and give students motivation to complete their assignments (there are regional, state, and national competitions which have scholarships).

Students were more happy that I have ever seen them when working on their self chosen history topics.