More Social Studies through Children's Literature: An Integrated Approach

More Social Studies through Children's Literature: An Integrated Approach

More Social Studies through Children's Literature: An Integrated Approach

More Social Studies through Children's Literature: An Integrated Approach


Energize the social studies curriculum and implement national and many state standards. Each of these 33 units offers book summaries, social studies topic areas, critical thinking questions, and dozens of easy-to-do activities.


Who would have thought? When I wrote Social Studies Through Children's Literature in 1991,I was not prepared for the overwhelming and enthusiastic response it got from thousands of teachers all across the country. Teachers from urban, suburban, and rural schools eagerly purchased copies of that book and joyfully shared the activities and projects with their students, revitalizing their social studies curricula in a plethora of creative and dynamic ways. Conversations with educators in school districts all over the United States confirmed that a rich vein had been tapped—a vein of curricular gold that reinvigorated both the teaching and learning of social studies.

To say that I was delighted and thrilled would be an understatement. Scores of letters and e-mail messages from new and experienced teachers alike supported a literature-based social studies curriculum as just the ticket for moving students beyond textbook learning and into a hands-on, minds-on approach to education that connects them with the world in which they live. Making homemade oatmeal muffins (Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt) supplanted mindless workbook sheets; building a classroom terrarium (The Great Kapok Tree) took the place of vapid question-and-answer sessions; and inviting students to create period costumes (Miss Rumphius) replaced round robin reading from out-of-date textbooks. Teachers were excited about teaching social studies; students were excited about learning social studies. Who would have thought?

Since that book was first published, social studies education has changed remarkably. New standards issued by the National Council on the Social Studies, fresh new trade books written by some of this country's most exciting authors, mind-boggling new Web sites, and a reconfiguration of social studies curricula all across the country are indicative of the exciting changes and transformations taking place. I wanted to share that enthusiasm and energy once again in a follow-up book that would share new literature and new ideas with classroom teachers—a book that would build upon and extend the successes, excitement, and exhilaration enjoyed by teachers who energetically embraced Social Studies Through Children's Literature.

This book, like the first, is designed to offer you a participatory approach to social studies education—an approach saying that when students enjoy meaningful opportunities to make an investment of self in their education, that education will become both relevant and dynamic. Thus, the emphasis in this book (as it was in the first) is on the processes of learning, not the products. This book does not replace the first, but complements it. It offers new literature and new extensions that, when combined with the literature profiled in the first book, can provide your students with an array of magical journeys and a host of exciting treasures. It is my hope that you will discover within these pages an infinite variety of creative learning possibilities for your classroom and that your students will discover an exciting cornucopia of mind-expanding, concept-building, and real-world experiences that will reshape their perceptions of what social studies is as well as what it can be. Come aboard and enjoy the ride!

Tony Fredericks . . .

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