Thursday, March 24, 2016

Day 24: #SOL16- Some Amazing Resources for Social Studies

The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by the inspirational writers of Two Writing Teachers. Each March, they invite people to join them in a commitment to write every day. Here's to another year of daily slicing!

First of all, a quick update for people who read my post yesterday about the cell phone dilemma. I gave Julia her phone back in the morning with a note on it explaining why, and what I wished could be different. She was lovely when she came home last night--

Today, I spent the day at a conference about the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks. I not only presented, but I also got to attend some amazing presentation from other educators in our state. Laura Krenicki teaches sixth grade social studies in Colchester, but she also does an amazing job at curating resources. Check out her resources at Live Binder. While many of her resources are specific to Connecticut, there are some that could be used or adapted for any state in many different units. 

One of the resources she shared was one I was familiar with already, but I know we underuse National Geographic’s Interactive Mapmaker. Through this free (yes, FREE) tool, users can explore all different types of maps anywhere in the world. With just navigation and clicks, you can see topography, population density, rainfall, types of animal life, economic status, resources...You can zoom in and out, you can compare to other places. Really, the learning is endless and addictive within this resource. 

Another resource is at the site Mystic has created for educators. I knew Mystic had great resources, but in the last year, they have made a concerted effort to create teaching units from the documents and exhibits they have, enlisting teachers to write inquiry-oriented lessons that inspire students to engage in primary documents, technology, artifacts, and authentic world issues. Even though the history is geared toward Connecticut, so much of it could be used within more global topics and units--there’s phenomenal information about the whaling industry--check out the way the voyages of the different ships can be traced here. If you really want to dig into primary resources, check out the logbooks. Imagine the inquiry work that could grow around whales as an endangered animal. The various stories that they have traced to other places in the world could also support studies of world geography, as these stories extend far beyond Connecticut.

We live in world that is so full of information, and it’s a major challenge to sift through it all. These are resources are all definitely worth time exploring!

Happy Slicing,


  1. That mapmaker site looks intriguing ... Thanks for the link and resource

  2. Thanks for sharing these resources, Melanie! I'll share them with our social studies teachers.

  3. I will keep the link for the maps, & am pleased to hear about the Mystic resources too. I've been sailing two times with students, & know that there are amazing resources available now about the sea and all things connected. Thanks Melanie, will pass these on to former colleagues.