Virtual field trips serve as a means for students to explore and interact with important people, places, and events in history. Although they are most often used in the Social Studies curriculum as students visit historical landmarks and museums, they can also be used across content areas. Virtual field trips provide a meaningful learning environment through technology and interactive exploration, especially when students are unable to visit these important destinations in person. In my Social Studies Curriculum course, I was able to try a virtual field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This virtual field trip would be especially useful for fourth grade students as it provides an interactive tour of the exhibits in the museum; however, there are additional resources available for other grade levels, including guiding questions and explanation of key vocabulary.
This activity addresses the importance of cross-curricular and multicultural considerations when planning instruction. The concept map gives an overview of activity ideas for a second grade classroom, as well as SOLs addressed, for “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi. The Social Studies activities of creating a class name jar and mural represent the importance of respecting others and building a classroom community. The Language Arts activities of students researching information about their names and discussing them through literature circles address the importance of research practice and respectful peer discussion. The Art and Math activities of creating personalized name tags and creating a bar graph based on data from student research represent the importance of extending their learning and creativity.
This lesson was taught in my fourth grade Practicum B experience during the Social Studies block. The objective of the lesson was for the students to create their own comic depicting the effects of Reconstruction on life in Virginia, including a title, a beginning, middle, and end, at least two characters, at least four vocabulary terms, and colorful illustrations. Given the planning sheet/rubric and the list of vocabulary terms, the students were able to independently work on their comics as I monitored and supported as necessary. Afterwards, students who wished to share were given the opportunity to read aloud their comic for the class. The students were better able to understand the Reconstruction period and its effects of segregation and “Jim Crow” on life in Virginia for American Indians, whites, and African Americans.