During our first department meeting, we discussed a unit that I'd put together over Christmas and asked for feedback and thoughts at our second meeting. I was excited to see input from everyone who could see we needed more ideas, engagement and lessons that would motivate student interest and ownership.
The introductory lessons allowed students to imagine they were Moana and travelling to a new country, but needed to remember how to protect where they'd come from. Part of the reason for this was to get to know our kids and to allow them to share who they are and where they come from with the teacher and with the class.
An important part of social studies is understanding concepts so much of the unit centres around defining, identify and describe key concepts like identity, traditions, culture and change. It was important to understand what our kids knew about these concepts, then build on their understanding with lots of relatable examples and at the same time, trying to get know who the kids were in our classroom.