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I’ve been told there is no widespread, accepted recipe to becoming an effective teacher (especially that of a social sciences teacher). My time in graduate school at University of Portland has allowed me to better understand this concept, and has provided me with an opportunity to start building my own foundation for prioritizing my values as an educator.

The portfolio that I’ve created throughout my social studies methods course prompted my growth in ways that were less expected at the start of the semester. This course allowed me to investigate topics that I am thoroughly interested in; to academically venture toward whatever it was I felt called to. A majority of the assignments were tied to teaching history in one way or another. After assignments/lessons were submitted, feedback was given from my professor and my peers on such topics. In this way, my assignment submissions were different from other courses, in that, they felt less based on theory and principle and were more pragmatic toward my development as a social studies teacher.

Overall, this class supported my ability to effectively operate as a middle school social studies teacher; to prompt my students to think like historians and to prepare them to make informed decisions while participating in our ever-changing democratic society. The following activities/lessons highlight the work I’ve designed throughout this course.

To begin, I’d like to highlight a set of lessons/activities that were encouraged by my fascination with the American Frontier and the United States’ expansion throughout North America based on 19th century history topics.

Using Google Forms, I designed a formative assessment which was based on topics associated with the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.

Using data from the 1940 census and the United States’ Home Owners Loan Corporation redlining maps, I investigated the likelihood that my grandparent’s would have been approved to establish residence in North Portland during the 1950s.

I reflected on an effective experience that I had as a student in my high school US government class.

Finally, I want to highlight a mock lesson that I taught to my class which investigates the 1960s Chicano Movement and its relationship with the Black Civil Rights Movement.

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