University of Utah
Educational Studies 450
Social Studies Methods
Instructors: Linda Barlow and
Peggy McCandless

In the elementary teacher certification program at the University of Utah, Elementary Social Studies Methods is required in order to meet the Utah State Office of Education Certification standards. The Educational Studies Department requires Elementary Social Studies Methods (Ed. St. 450-1-2-3) which all elementary Teacher Candidates must successfully complete. The Graduate School of Education graduates approximately 75 elementary education majors per year. The study of social issues includes numerous topics including, but not limited to, anthropology, economics, careers, democratic policies, character education, self esteem, psychology, problem solving, community involvement, laws, rules, politics and history. Social Studies 450 encompasses theoretical, philosophical, and methodological dimensions of social science and its implications for practice and change. Through a service learning component that the students choose, plan, develop, and assess, students can learn the importance of service learning. In addition, an abundant number of other learning opportunities is acquired through service learning activities, for all parties involved.

Service learning teaches responsibility, caring, giving, democratic character, integrity, social justice, authentic problem solving, etc. All of these skills are taught in our Social Studies course. It is well known that by having youth and adults interact with one another, appropriate role modeling and communication among generations takes place. When people get to know one another, mutual respect is created. Respect is a strong component of our Social Studies course. A sense of belonging is a vital aspect of positive human development. Research shows that high risk behaviors decrease with the implementation of service learning. Furthermore, service learning activities can empower youth by giving them useful, productive roles in the community. Thus, society looks for the positive attributes in our youth and the youth have a positive influence in their community. Again, all of these ideals are taught in our Social Studies course. Additionally, many elementary school curriculum topics can be integrated into the service learning activities. For example, communication skills along with process writing can be emphasized in almost all service learning. Integration is a strong component of our certification program and service learning easily provides students with the skills needed to begin integrating subject matter.

It is our intent to designate all three sections of Educational Studies 450 as a service learning course. Our Teacher Candidates are gaining an understanding of the importance of service learning and the benefits service learning has with the youth in our community. What better place to convince a new cadre of teachers to implement service learning into their own classrooms than at the beginning of their careers?

Criteria for Designation:

  1. Students in the class provide a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools, or other entities in the community. After hearing about possible options, the students will determine what project they would like to pursue. The students will also determine if they want to work alone, with a partner, or with a small group. The projects to chose from are numerous. The students can choose to work with an organization, an individual in need in the community, a nursing home, the food bank, creating a community park, etc.
  2. The service experience relates to the subject matter of the course. We want our graduates to use service learning in their own classrooms. Experiencing service learning themselves is an ideal way for them to learn the importance of service learning. In addition, service learning will expose them to social problems in our communities, thus increasing their content knowledge about social studies, another goal for the course. Finally, we want our students to acquire dispositions of caring and helpfulness, positive regard for and skill in democratic process, and a desire to work for social justice. Service learning will facilitate accomplishing these goals.
  3. Activities in the class provide a method or methods for students to think about what they learned through the service experience and how these learning related to the subject of the class. This will be done through class discussions, individual journal entries, and culminating with a poster presentation and final paper.
  4. The course offers a method to assess the learning derived from the service. Credit is given for the learning and its relation to the course, not for the service alone. Through journal entries, a final paper, and a poster session, the students will show evidence of learning. Some of the questions addressed in these assignment include, "What have you learned from being involved in the project?", "What have you learned about your community", "What did you learn about other people?", "What would you have done differently?".
  5. Service interactions in the community recognize the needs of service recipients, and offer an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service. The organizations or individuals involved will evaluate the quality of service by writing a small report at the end of the semester. This information will be provided in students' final papers and poster presentations.
  6. The service opportunities are aimed at the development of the civic education of students even though they may also be focused on career preparation. Because this is a social studies methods class, our students are studying civic education and thus, are directly involved with civic understanding.
  7. Knowledge from the discipline informs the service experiences with which the students are involved. The content of the course, itself, will be directly affected in the service learning activity. For example, social studies includes understanding community involvement. From implementing a service learning project, our students will directly experience what community involvement means.
  8. The class offers a way to learn from other class members as well as from the instructor. At the end of the experience, the three sections of our social studies class will present their projects to each other. And, during the course, itself, the students share their progress with the class. 9. Course options ensure that no student is required to participate in a service placement that creates a religious, political and/or moral conflict for the student. Because our students chose and create their own project, each individual student should experience no difficulty.


REQUIRED READINGS: Several articles will be required readings for social studies methods. Please check class schedule for assigned readings. And, be prepared, before class begins, to be able to discuss the articles. Groups will be asked to present article information.

1. Elementary Social Studies by Evans and Brueckner available in the Curriculum Lab

2. Intrigues to the Past by Shelley Smith, Jeanne Moe, Kelly Letts, and Danielle Paterson. Available in my office.

3. The Kids Guide to Social Action by Barbara A. Lewis. Available at most educational bookstores or call at: 1-800-735-7323

4. Cooperative Learning by Steven Kagan. Call: 1-800-933-2667

5. Keepers of the Earth by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. Available at the University Bookstore on the first floor.

6. TRIBES ... A New Way of Learning Together by Jeanne Gibbs. Available in my office.

7. Social Studies for the Elementary Teacher by David Warren Saxe. Available in the Curriculum Library.

8. Essentials of Classroom Teaching Elementary Social Studies by Thoman N. Turner. Available in the Curriculum Library.

9. Elementary Social Studies* A Whole language Approach by Pamela J. Farris and Susan M. Cooper. Available in the Curriculum Library.

10. Social Studies and the Elementary School Child by George W. Maxim. Available in the Curriculum Library.

11. Teaching and Learning Elementary Social Studies by Arthur K. Ellis. Available in the Curriculum Library.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this course is to introduce pre-service teachers to social studies education. By combining theory and practice, students will gain an understanding of social studies and develop their own effective teaching style. Through a variety of models, with an emphasis on the discovery method, students will explore various techniques of teaching social studies. Students will discover strategies for problem solving using guided research, technology, questioning processes, and trial and error methods by exploring a social issue in a local Salt Lake area. While problem solving, students will learn about the local government and how it operates, ancient and more recent history of the area, economics, how to implement a social action project within any community, and how to use the environment to teach social studies to young learners. Teacher candidates will also be exposed to the idea of "Teacher as Change Agent". it is most important that the students will gain resources as to where they can seek Social Studies teaching materials to use in their future classrooms and to learn to organize, design, and successfully teach effective Social Studies lessons to young learners.

DEFINITION: Social Studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. (NCSS)

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: (Please, as much as you can, have assignments computer/type written.)

A total of 200 points may be earned in Ed, St, 450,

One thing I am very particular about is handing lessons in on time. I feel it is very important for you to have feedback on your lessons in advance, previous to teaching the lesson in the classroom. This gives me a chance to know what will be going on in the classroom plus it allows me to have enough time to give you suggestions or ideas before you present your lesson in the classroom. Therefore, lesson plans must be handed to me one week prior to teaching, If lesson plans are handed in late after the lesson has been taught, no credit will be given for that lesson or the reflection of that lesson. if circumstances arise, please let me know. Due dates for assignments are listed on the grade sheet, Please refer to those dates.

  1. Lesson Plans, Turn in two lesson plans for two social studies lessons at least one week prior to teaching. These must be turned in for evaluation before teaching in the elementary classroom. You are not to teach without a graded lesson plan. You must plan one lesson for your Site Teacher Educators's classroom and one lesson for your foursome classroom. Spread these two lessons out between about three or four weeks for reflection purposes. Do not do the lessons one right after the other. Lesson plans consist of three parts: a content outline, an instructional sequence, and a refection. You will be given credit for the first two parts of the lesson plan under this category in the following manner: 6 points for the content outline, and 14 points for the instructional sequence which includes, but is not limited to, quality/clarity of the planning, and inclusion of all parts of the lesson planning model which was presented to you in General Methods. 40 points (20 points each).
  2. Lesson Evaluations, After successfully teaching two Social Studies lessons, complete a reflective self evaluation on both lessons. Your self evaluations will obviously be turned in after you have taught the lessons. There are two forms available to you at the end of this syllabus. 20 points (10 points each).
  3. Unit, 50 points will come from a unit in which you will write for the classroom that you are assigned to in the schools. The unit will consist of at least a week's worth of lesson plans on one particular topic in Social Studies. The topic can be decided on between you and your Site Teacher Educator. You will teach this unit during winter quarter student teaching. After your unit is taught, you will write a self reflection paper (one or two pages) about your unit which will be due at the end of winter quarter. The reflection of the unit will be worth 10 points. Extra bonus points can be acquire if your unit is a social action unit.
  4. Service Learning. 50 points will come from a social action project. "This is a service-learning course because: *Students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of the community, and is coordinated with the community and an institution of higher education." *Service-learning helps foster civic responsibility *and, It is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum and includes structured time for the students and participants to ref lect on the service experience. ff Service-Learning in the Classroom: Bennion Center

You and/or your group will chose and work on a service learning project during fall and winter quarter. During the last few weeks of winter quarter, you/r group will present its findings to the whole class. Please realize that the process is more important than the product, so think about how you will present the process! (See grade sheet attached) We will talk about this in class.

5. Web Sites/Core Curriculum. 10 points of your class grade will consist of finding social studies web sites in the computer lab, and exploring core curriculum resources in the Curriculum Library. Both of these activities will take place during a class session.

6. Professionalism. The remaining 30 points is called professionalism. Professionalism includes such activities, though not all inclusive, class participation, attendance in class, handing in lessons plans a week in advance, taking notes, attending to the lesson content, offering constructive feedback to peers, displaying positive attitudes towards teaching, taking time to find resources to teach successful lessons, sharing ideas with others, being open to constructive feedback, seeking advice when needed, completing assignments in a timely fashion, teaching effective lessons, etc. You will need to read the Professional Ethics section of your Teacher Candidate Handbook. You are expected to uphold the same professional standards of a certified teacher in the State of Utah. Occasionally, during class sessions, I will randomly call on a group to present the day's reading/s. Please be prepared!

                                GRADE SHEET
                         Service Learning PROJECT


4 points - Proposal

        What are you planning on accomplishing during your personal
        social action project?  Describe the project.  Describe, the
        best you can, how you plan on implementing your project.

6 points - Journal

        A weekly record of your accomplishments, contacts you've
        made, books you've read, feelings about your project, etc.

20 points - Final Report

        A three-four page report describing what you've learned
        during your project, how you would implement service
        learning into your own classroom.  What technology was used
        during your project?  In this final report, you need to
        include feedback from someone who was on the "receiving" end
        of your project.

20 points - Poster Session

        A poster describing your project so others can see, hear,
        witness, etc. what you've done during your social action
        project.  What type of technology was used to present your

Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 15:36:51 MST
From: Renee Buchanan <>
Subject: Educational Studies 450