Skills and Best Practices
This is the website for The Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL).
This site will provide you with a wealth of information on Dimensions of Learning, a process of encouraging student thinking from the gathering of information to applying that information in new situations.
Dimensions of Learning is a comprehensive model that uses what researchers and theorists know about learning to define the learning process. Its premise is that five types of thinking – what we call the five dimensions of learning – are essential to successful learning. The Dimensions framework will help you to
- maintain a focus on learning;
- study the learning process; and
- plan curriculum, instruction, and assessment that takes into account the five critical aspects of learning.
Dimension Two is critical to the process of gathering information.
Dimension 2: Acquire and Integrate Knowledge
Helping students acquire and integrate new knowledge is another important aspect of learning. When students are learning new information, they must be guided in relating the new knowledge to what they already know, organizing that information, and then making it part of their long-term memory. When students are acquiring new skills and processes, they must learn a model (or set of steps), then shape the skill or process to make it efficient and effective for them, and, finally, internalize or practice the skill or process so they can perform it easily.
Linking Social Studies to Literature
In the age of accountability, where reading and mathematics have been given top priority, it is becoming more and more evident that the teaching of social studies and science is becoming increasingly rare. Carole J. Wilkinson, Teacher-in-Residence, Delaware Social Studies Education Project, points out that reading and mathematics assessments are even becoming tied to promotion requirements.
This article provides some excellent suggestions for lesson plans based on the book, Foster’s War. For example, in economics, a teacher could relate the following social studies topics to literature:
- wartime shortages and rationing
- defense stamps and bonds
- the black market
- personal sacrifices to buy war bonds
- women in the work force