The Evolution of Social Studies Curricula for Elementary School Students

With what’s going on in the world today, I can definitely say that the curriculum of social studies have definitely evolved. I myself enjoy talking about history, geography, government, current events, current issues, and all sorts of things relevant to social students. I find social studies classes being my most favorite classes to teach during my time as a substitute teacher. I managed to use my knowledge to keep kids paying attention. It was the same back when I was in highschool.

Anybody that’s in a United States high school should know about the highschool news show called “Channel 1 News.” I definitely remember the show. Lisa Ling of the View and National Geographic World and Anderson Cooper of Anderson Cooper 360 were both anchors on Channel 1. Back when I was in highschool during my 11th grade year, there was a segment on young adults going into prison, everybody in the classroom including me remained quiet watching this segment. Mr. Booker or teacher was shocked on why we watch this and don’t pay attention to anything else.

This one guy in my class named Nate talked about that this segment reaches close to home and that we really don’t care about the Bill and Monica scandal. I really didn’t care much listening to the scandal. Clinton was doing a good job of running the country. And take a look at George W. Bush and his administration. There were many fiascos, mess ups, and scandals in his party and his administration which were far worse than the Bill and Monica sex scandal. But that’s just an example on bringing up issues that matter.

I’ve substituted in both middle school and elementary schools in which students came from broken homes. I’ve had classes with students whose parents were in prison for various reasons such as theft, drug use, and what not. Basically to get the students attention, we have to go in-depth in the various subjects. At an elementary level, it’s best that the stuff is taught in fourth and fifth grade. The fourth will be transitioning into fifth grade. Depending on how elementary and middle schools are structured, students will remain in elementary school for sixth grade or start sixth grade in middle school.

When I substitute for social studies classes, we go over a wide area of topics. It tends to be my favorite subjects because I’m Asian. I happened to be the youngest and only Asian substitute teacher in the county. I would get asked questions if I was Chinese or Japanese. I would go I’m Vietnamese. Then I would have to explain about Vietnam and where Vietnam is located at. For fun, we would talk about the various martial arts and which countries those martial arts styles come from. I happen to be a martial artist myself which is always fun to talk about. But then it tends to get disruptive because the students want me to do a demonstration. But I don’t.

We go over a wide array of things. If we’re going over American History, we go over the religion, the people, the government, the socio-economics, the socio-psychology, and other relative subjects. I do the same thing for World History, World Geography, American Government, Economics, etc. Depending on the schools, you’ll learn one aspect of social studies in one grade and learn another in the next grade.

During the ’04 elections, I took a job with the John Kerry campaign due to not getting many calls that fall. We took a good beating from Hurricanes Charley, Francis, and Jeanne so the actual teachers had to make up the time. It gave me enough experience to bring up topics with the class. I don’t express my opinions but I like to get the opinions out from the students. It’s the first step of getting them to learn and develop.

Overall, social studies is evolving. In order to apply the evolution of social studies, I go by this philosophy: “everything is relative one way or another.” When you find the links between things, it creates more understanding. At the same time it increases their knowledge and wisdom. It’s important for a subject like this to evolve that way we become more aware and more informed.