By guest author: Heather Leaman
Elementary schools in the United States typically use the expanding environments approach to teach social studies in grades K-5. Under this curriculum plan, children learn about self and family in Kindergarten and first grade. In second and third grade, children learn about neighborhood and community. As they progress through the upper elementary grades, children expand their understanding of the world by learning about states and the nation.
During the past decade, the National Council for Social Studies has suggested that children’s learning be extended beyond our country to include an understanding of the world. Publishing companies have responded to this initiative by creating materials that help children learn about themselves in relation to the world. Using this worldview, students in primary grades learn about families, neighborhoods and communities globally. In upper elementary grades, children learn about their state and nation in relation to other states and other countries. This movement provides children the opportunity to connect to their world. Continue reading A Child’s Place in the World — PART I: Using dual language books as a tool for teaching social studies in elementary school
Keeping Up with Cheetah
Written by Lindsay Camp
Illustrated by Jill Newton
Review by Maureen Pugh
Cheetah loves telling jokes and Hippopotamus loves to listen and laugh at Cheetah’s jokes – even when they aren’t very funny! This synergy makes them the best of friends. There is only one problem: Hippopotamus can’t run very fast, so he can’t keep up with Cheetah.
Cheetah goes in search of a better friend, one who will appreciate his jokes and be able to run with him. Hippopotamus is so sad, and tries to practice running, but eventually realizes he will never be able to keep up with Cheetah. He decides to do what he loves best, and goes for a “good, long, deep, muddy, wallow.” Continue reading Bilingual Book Review: Keeping Up with Cheetah
Augustus and his Smile
Written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner
Review by Maureen Pugh
“Augustus the tiger was sad. He had lost his smile.” So begins an epic quest as Augustus searches for his lost smile. His search takes him under bushes, up to the treetops, and to the crests of the highest mountains. He finds a beetle, chirping birds, and swirling snow clouds, but no smile.
As his journey progresses, however, Augustus’ expression gradually begins to change. His pleasure becomes evident as he swims in the oceans and “splishes and splashes with shoals of tiny, shiny fish.” His long tail also begins arching in a smile to match the one on his face. Suddenly he is prancing and parading in a desert, dancing and racing in raindrops, and splashing through puddles. Then he finds it – in the reflection of a “huge silver-blue puddle” – his smile! Continue reading Bilingual Book Review: Augustus and his Smile
According to the US Census Bureau, over 20% of the US population is of “foreign stock” – that is, they are either foreign-born or have at least one parent who was born in another country. In 2000, 47 million people in the United States spoke a non-English language at home, an increase of over 45% in just one decade. The number of native-born Americans with close ties to another country is expected to grow even more over the next few decades.
While these demographic changes present many challenges for educators, they also offer terrific opportunities to teach children about our world. Rather than trying to “Americanize” the ethnic community, we should make efforts to better involve English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students and bilingual families in the classroom by encouraging them to share their language and culture. Continue reading Expand a Child’s World: Involving bilingual families and English language learners in the classroom and at home.