Social Studies Curriculum Term Paper

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Highly Effective Strategies of Learning in the Social Studies Context: Marzano's Exploration of Intellect and Learning

Identifying Similarities and Differences

Summarizing and Note Taking

Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition

Homework and Practice

Nonlinguistic Representations

Cooperative Learning

Setting Goals and Providing Feedback

Generating and Testing Hypotheses

Activating Prior Knowledge

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This paper explores the nine categories of highly effective strategies used in classroom settings that facilitate learning based on a study conducted by Marzano (1998) entitled, "A theory-based meta-analysis of research on instruction." The paper begins with a brief summarization of the 9 highly effective strategies, each followed by an example of two social studies cases and how each of these categories would apply to the social studies classroom at the Secondary level. The nine strategies of achievement detailed in this publication suggest they are the most effective in influencing positive learning among students (Marzano, Gaddy & Dean, 2000). Each strategy represents an instructional category. The foundation for this study is the idea that the role of the government in education is to provide educators and noneducators accurate information regarding instructional strategies that are effective in promoting student achievement (Marzano, 1998, p.1). The research findings reviewed below represent a summarization of a Meta-Analysis of Research conducted by Marzano in 1998 involving more than 4,000 comparisons of what works, and what doesn't. Here we review the nine strategies that work.

Strategy 1 - Identifying Similarities and Differences

Term Paper on Social Studies Curriculum Assignment

Also known as comparison and contrast, this strategy encourages students to review and classify information by identifying similarities and differences that exist within the information presented, then encourages students to use analogies or metaphors to further this process (Marzano, 1998). In doing so, students must analyze two or more elements of the objects being examined, which inherently allow students to classify and categorize information they collect about the similarities and differences of the objects of their attention. To facilitate this process, educators should and can encourage students to gain more awareness of what the objects being studied share in common, and what differences exist between them. This can be facilitated easily through "student-directed tasks" or those that require less direction from the teacher and allow students to explore information using their own intellectual capacities and resources (Marzano, 1998). In doing so students are more likely to absorb information about the objects of study, and become more adept at identifying the unique characteristics of the objects in question. While classroom monitoring is still expected, much of teacher involvement focuses on engaging students in tasks that will lead them to their own conclusions and evidence gathering. There are many ways comparison and contrasting can be utilized including the use of graphic organizers allowing visual interpretation of comparisons (Marzano, 1998).

As an example of how to apply this method in the Secondary classroom, is in examining historical fact vs. fiction. For example, in the classroom a social studies teacher could ask students to adopt strategy one and compare and contrast homesteading in the Midwest to homesteading in Mars in the year 2030 (WebQuest, 2002). Students may use metaphors and analogies to describe life in the homestead in the Midwest compared to their perception of what it may be like in Mars in the year 2030.

A second example might be to encourage students to use this technique when reviewing and researching Ancient Rome (WebQuest, 2002). Students would begin for example, by comparing and contrasting social life in Ancient Rome to that of life during the Medieval period. A graphical comparison or chart might be created exploring the way people interacted in a social context. For example, Romans might shake hands, whereas the Ancient Greeks might show respect and familiarity by embracing and kissing each other once on each cheek.

Strategy 2 - Summarizing and Note Taking

Using this method, students are encouraged to summarize the information they gathered and take notes of important concepts or points they learned as they explored a given subject (Marzano, 1998). This will enable them to later make decisions or conclusions about the information acquired in class. There are many summarizing strategies a teacher might adopt to facilitate this process. For example, a teacher might employ a "rule-based" summarizing strategy (Marzano, 1998, p. 27). Using the example of examining the homestead, educators may construct a set or rules that will define how students summarize the information they gathered or predicted about the future. These rules may include deletion of trivial material or redundant material and use of topic sentences for all summaries of comparisons made (Marzano, 1998, p. 27).

Using a different strategy and applying it to the second classroom example, that of Ancient Rome vs. Ancient Greece, an educator may encourage students to adopt summary frames to summarize the information gathered. This would entail the educator creating a series of questions for students to answer that enable them to highlight the most important information learned from the material reviewed (Marzano, 1998, p. 28). One way to do this is to construct text that enables students to determine whether a problem/solution pattern (Marzano, 1998) exists within the information gathered. Each problem represents a main point, for example, "How did the Ancient Romans gather grain for their families?" The problem at hand centers on how the Ancient Romans collected food to eat. Another main point would present the same problem but apply it to the environment of people living in Ancient Greece.

To enforce this strategy and encourage note taking, the teacher may provide the students with prepared notes, or the teacher may instruct students on efficient methods of taking notes that provide essential information related to the subject they are studying (Marzano, 1998, p. 40).

Strategy 3 - Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition

Marzano (1998) notes that this category does not directly enhance cognitive learning, but rather reinforces students' "attitudes and beliefs" thus encourage active engagement of "cognitive processes" (p. 49). This in turn encourages students to adopt what they learned and integrate it into their long-term memory, rather than learn the material, store it in short-term memory and forget about it.

By providing recognition for their work, students learn that with effort they can enhance their achievement and their ability for success in the future, a talent they can apply to future endeavors including work and their careers (Marzano, 1998, p. 49). Marzano points out that many students do not realize the link between their effort and achievement, thus it is the role of the educator to provide this information so students inextricably learn as they grow to link effort with lasting results and recognition.

To accomplish this using our first example of the homestead study in the social studies classroom, a teacher may reinforce effort by using what Marzano refers to as a "pause, point and prompt strategy" where the teacher would encourage a student to pause when summarizing an important point, and then prompt the student to provide more information about the point being made to encourage greater recognition and understanding of its significance. The teacher can than recognize the student by praising them for interesting and interpretive analysis of the homestead in 2030 for example.

Using our second example, comparing Ancient Rome to Greece, a teacher may employ this strategy by using "symbolic tokens" as a tool that will instantly suggest to the student they successfully completed the task at hand and reward them simultaneously. To adopt this strategy effectively, the educator would have to connect a token or reward to a clearly identified goal or performance standard, such as outlining the primary difference between rural lives in Ancient Rome vs. rural life in Ancient Greece.

Strategy 4 - Homework and Practice

Homework and practice are routinely used to encourage students to learn and absorb the information they learn in the classroom in a different setting. Homework and practice work synergistically according to Marzano to help "deepen their understanding and proficiency" regardless of the content area (p.57). Practice for use in Marzano's strategic plan is considered an "effective instructional strategy" even when it involves activity outside of routine homework assignments (p. 57).

As an example of how to use this strategy in the social studies example of exploring the homestead, the instructor can establish and communicate a specific policy regarding homework that tells students directly what the purpose of homework is and how much homework is expected of them when exploring this subject (Marzano, 1998, p. 57). A teacher may for example, require that students spend 20 minutes each night reviewing the information they learned of the homestead in the Midwest and then spend an additional 15 minutes creating notes that reflect how this information impacts their expectation of what life will be like in 2030.

Using another strategic example and the case of Ancient Greece vs. Ancient Rome studies, an instructor may adopt a different approach by clarifying the purpose of homework assignments (Marzano, 1998, p. 58) so students are more willing to engage in activities required of them outside of school hours. Marzano (1998) notes that many… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Social Studies Curriculum.  (2007, May 8).  Retrieved September 20, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Social Studies Curriculum."  8 May 2007.  Web.  20 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Social Studies Curriculum."  May 8, 2007.  Accessed September 20, 2020.