Students of every age can learn from primary sources. Resources like the Smithsonian Learning Lab and Metropolitan Museum Open Access programs let us explore artwork and documents from every period and around the world. Via technology, students can manipulate and respond to artifacts in ways that were never possible before. It's been an inspiration to see my students interact with documents and artworks from the past and develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of history and culture.
The ultimate goal of social studies education is to make students active and knowledgeable participants in society. Our class, "The Planet We Live On" combined environmental education with lessons in government and citizenship, giving students tools to make the change they want to see in the world. My other class, "Art and History" aimed to teach students the cultural history of the objects, images, and buildings they see every day.
One of my biggest priorities as a teacher is to make sure every student feels seen, respected and understood. Decolonizing social studies education and presenting history through diverse eyes is a powerful way to honor their identities.