In addition to having books around, I like having magazines because:
- Magazines can be more accessible to students because of the shorter articles.
- Some of my students are more likely to pick up a magazine than a book and just flip through it.
- Often magazines are just easier...more pictures and fun games or comics.
Two of my favorite series for social studies are Cobblestone and Dig (formerly Calliope). Both magazines are produced by Cricket Media. Cobblestone focuses on United States History and Dig focuses on World History. My students love these magazines for the interesting stories and fun comics. Each issue has a themed topic such as World War II, Immigration and Captains of Industry.
I use magazines in a variety of ways such as:
- An article related to the unit: Sometimes, I share a specific story from one of the magazines as part of our study. I set the story up at a center with an inquiry activity related to the story. Students can select that activity as part of our stations.
- Student motivation: Other times I just leave the latest magazines around for students to read at will. Students often read have the newest issue read before I do and will share an interesting story with me. (I have a large box of past issues that students can flip through or borrow, too.)
- Sparking interest for study: The magazines are helpful for sparking interest in topics students might otherwise not think of exploring. Often the topics lead to interesting discussions or entire projects. When an immigration issue arrived, although I had not planned on something at that time, it sparked an interesting debate about immigration. We looked at some proposed legislation regarding immigration and debated the bill as members of congress. It was one of the most valuable projects we did.
- Motivating a project: one of my classes were so engaged by the magazines that they wanted to create their own magazine for a unit. We were about to start World War I. Students investigated the war, divided up topics, and then created an entire magazine. It was an amazing collaborative project that was completely student-centered.
Not every issue sparks such interest, but still I find the magazines an essential part of my student-centered social studies classroom. I like having my own set in the classroom even though they are available in the library. The magazines are much more likely to be explored if they are readily available.
Social Sundays is a bi-weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies. If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below or at the store in the question and answer section.
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