Federalism: The Twenty-First Century Approach to 1787<br />Josh Berger<br />4/17/2010<br />
Phase I: Relative Advantage<br />Integral to the New York State fourth grade social studies curriculum is an introduction to federalism and the different branches of government.<br />Many of the terms and concepts related to these topics involve low-frequency vocabulary terms, and some students may not be immediately engaged in a content area which they may not readily relate to.<br />NB* I would engage students in lessons with the objective of defining the importance and roles of government in our lives, as well as how we participate in government, before introducing content related to Federalism, branches of government, and checks and balances.<br /> Internet resources can be used to introduce these topics. These resources, including YouTube videos and student friendly websites, can engage learners, and introduce low-frequency vocabulary to struggling learners and ELL’s through means not limited to print media.<br />
Phase II: Objectives and Assessment<br />Students will identify the branches of government and be able to compare and contrast national, State, and local government.<br />Through this unit, students will be able to<br />Use a variety of multimedia and web based resources to engage in learning about Federalism and separation of powers.<br />Students will understand the above terms and identify the branches of government on a variety of levels.<br />Students will research a topic of interest, either at a National, local, or state level, and write to the appropriate representative, regarding this topic. Students will be taking part in the process of government, use a variety of materials for research, and transfer the knowledge gained throughout the unit.<br />
Phase III: Design Integration Strategies<br />I will integrate direct and project based instructional methods into this unit.<br />Videos will support written materials about Federalism and the different branches of government.<br />Students will be provided with internet resources that will support their research for topics of interest, that they will be writing to politicians about.<br />
Introductory Activity: Federalism<br />After the read-aloud of A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution, by Betsy and Giulio Maestro, students will watch THIS AWESOME YOUTUBE VIDEO!<br />Following this video, students will view this GREAT GRAPHIC ORGANIZER<br />The class will discuss concrete examples of the powers of national, State, and local governments, and how these government bodies effect their lives. <br />Students will receive a printed out version of the above graph organizer for reference throughout the unit. (Similar organizers often appear on the NYS fifth grade social studies assessment).<br />
I Thought This Was America: Activity II<br />Who doesn’t love SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK to help explain the separation of powers and branches of government?<br />Students will go to the Congress for kids website, to gather information about forms of government and to take the self-assessments related to each term. If a computer lab is available, students may work in pairs, reading and taking notes about each branch, but if this is not an option, the class could engage in a whole group discussion about this website, and interact with the materials as they are projected in the classroom for students to see.<br />
Phase IV: Prepare the Instructional Environment<br />The classroom will require a computer, projector, and preferably a SmartBoard.<br />Students will need notebooks to jot down the key ideas from the activities discussed.<br />All activities can be adapted IF I am fortunate enough to teach in a school with a computer lab that classes have regular access to.<br />Students will be provided a variety of internet resources, for which they can research current event topics, so that they may write to the proper government official.<br />
An Assortment of Student Friendly Current Events Websites<br />An age old question in education is, how do we keep our students informed about and engaged with the world around them? By providing students with websites, with age appropriate news articles, and providing them the opportunity to write to politicians, students will be transferring their classroom learning and develop a sense of the world around them. The Washington Post, PBS, and of course Scholastic all maintain excellent current events websites for children.<br />
Phase V: Evaluation of Integration Strategies<br />Struggling readers and ELL’s will benefit to the introduction of vocabulary related to a study of American government, through the use of a variety of video clips which can be found on the internet.<br />Students who would otherwise be reluctant to learn about federalism and the branches of government may be further engaged through the use of digital media throughout this unit.<br />Students will be excited to write to politicians about issues which they may read about in provided resources. Students will transfer their classroom learning into practice, and will be exposed to events and issues confronting the world around them. <br />Every website presented is completely free. With depending computer access, many of the activities which implement digital resources may have to be modified.<br />
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