Active Learning in Social Studies, Part 4

10 Feb

ye seoh

Activating Students as Instructional Resources

When activating students:

  • teachers must have the belief that ability is incremental

  • regular structured learning opportunities are set

  • modelling successful working and learning is important

Ideas for activating students:

1. Traffic lighting

– green, yellow and red marks on a work sample mean…Green=meets criteria/understand, Yellow=partially meets criteria/not sure, Red=doesn’t meet criteria/ do not understand.

– students can do this in peer partner groups

– rich discussion occurs when discussing ways to improve the work

2. Two by Fours

– students work in pairs to identify questions/problems they could not do or didn’t understand on their assignment

– pairs join another pair and share their discussions, answers and/or solutions

– any unanswered questions are brought to the teacher for entire group discussion

3. End of Session Questions

– students in small groups are checking their understanding, anything unanswered is given to the teacher

– adaptation of material occurs

4. C3B4ME

5. Investigating an Image

– the power of images and symbols – video clip

– using images and pictures helps students activate and building upon prior knowledge BEFORE they read

– it also helps them develop the skill of inferencing.

– making inferences without text as a barrier, supports all our students, particularly reluctant readers. For many students, text is the barrier to the development of this skill of inferencing, not their ability to learn the skill itself.

– additionally, if students can work with someone else during the process, the learning increases even more. Pictures really lend themselves to group work, because our reluctant readers can engage as deeply as their strong reader partners.

– the right picture can replace written text- do we need to have students read everything in the textbook? Can we find images that can help students learn the same content?

W5 Questions


(What is your answer?)

Criteria for

Plausible and imaginative INFERENCES: the inferences go beyond the obvious conclusions and are supported with several pieces of evidence found in the image, or based on other known facts

Evidence / Observations

(Clues from the picture or other known facts to support your inferences)

Criteria for

Accurate and relevant OBSERVATIONS:

the evidence accurately describes the relevant details in the image

A.   WHO is in the image?

Ideas to think about:

Person’s role or occupation?

Social status?

If several people, what is their relationship to each other?

B.   WHAT are they doing?

Ideas to think about:

What actions?

What objects are used?

What is the focus of attention?

C.   WHERE does the image take place?

Ideas to think about:

In what region or country?

In what setting (rural or urban)?

What is the terrain?

Are there landmarks?

D.   WHEN did it take place?

Ideas to think about:

What time of day?

What time of year?

What year or decade?

What historical period?

E. WHY is the action happening?

Ideas to think about:

What reason for this event?

What bigger purpose?

Summary Explanation:

Criteria for fully developed EXPLANATION: the explanation includes suggestions with appropriate detail for each of the 5W questions.

Assessing the Explanation

Powerful Images can be found at:

  • The Big Picture news stories in photographs.

  • Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone.

  • Earth Album explore the earth in photos. Some of the most stunning photos in the world courtesy of Google maps and Flickr.

  • Flickr Creative Commons Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.

  • 2Learn Image Database

  • Discovery Education Canada


  • Fotopedia Heritage iOS app



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