Teaching Elementary Social Studies for Scholarship, Civic Engagement, and Mental Health

The Revolution WILL Be Dramatized

The virtual community approach described in this book offers over fifty detailed lesson plans that cover the entire social studies curriculum, while also empowering the emotional intelligence of elementary students. Based on the standards, concepts, information and skills established by the National Council for the Social Studies, the virtual community program accommodates all grade levels and learning styles, providing a template that allows teachers to plug in vocabulary, concepts and skills from local 1st through 5th grade classroom texts. Students collaborate to locate and create municipalities, fictitious cities and towns, in which they build, live, debate, vote, legislate, start up businesses, celebrate histories, brainstorm ideas, engineer innovations, and navigate encounters of everyday life in roles of their choosing.

With over a decade of facilitating the program with elementary school students, Lee Chasen presents a theoretical and practical recipe for integrating full spectrum learning with therapeutic agency, a child's natural, inherent ability for seeking emotional balance, to create a rich, meaningful, personalized approach to development that restores the neurological dynamic in which the brain best functions and children love to learn. Part cheerleader, Chasen encourages teachers to take on the program and re-imagine what our schools are capable of.

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Lee R. Chasen, PhD (2003), New York University, is a drama therapist, educational drama specialist, and Director of SEL Curriculum. Publications include Surpassing Standards in the Elementary Classroom: Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement through Educational Drama.
Introduction: A Crisis of Crises

1 Concepts and Construction
 1 Studied Social Overview
 2 Cognition and Full Spectrum Learning
 3 Emotional Intelligence, Social Emotional Learning, and Mental Health
 4 Drama: Director of Operations
 5 Civic Engagement and Meaningful Experience

2 Individuals in Communities
 1 Lesson 1: What in the World Is Social Studies?
 2 Lesson 2: Establishing Individuality within Community
 3 Lesson 3: Good Citizenship

3 Geography, Symbolic Representation, and Visual Composition
 1 Lesson 4: Where in the World?
 2 Lesson 5: Virtual Community Research
 3 Lesson 6: Urban, Suburban, or Rural?
 4 Lesson 7: Flags, Symbols and Mottoes of Virtual Community
 5 Lesson 8: Scene It: Creating Virtual Environment Vistas

4 Constructing Character
 1 Lesson 9: Individual Needs, Classroom Rules, Virtual Community Laws
 2 Lesson 10: Emotional Intelligence: Grounding the Content of Character
 3 Lesson 11: Declaring Independence/Establishing Human Rights

5 Historical Contexts
 1 Lesson 12: Map It: Locating the Lay of the Land
 2 Lesson 13: How Did We Get Here? Founding Mothers and Fathers
 3 Lesson 14: Making History: Shared Experiences/Ancestral Stories

6 Government of the People
 1 Lesson 15: Town Hall Meeting! Foundations of Self-Governance
 2 Lesson 16: Declaring Candidacy
 3 Lesson 17: Candidates Debate
 4 Lesson 18: Election Day
 5 Lesson 19: Legislative Session

7 Disaster Relief
 1 Lesson 20: Municipal Staffing and Emergency Management
 2 Lesson 21: Disaster Strikes!
 3 Lesson 22: Extra! Extra! Read All about It!
 4 Lesson 23: Commemoration and Closure
 5 Lesson 24: Portfolio Design and Assessment

8 Moving On: Free Market Economy

9 Innovation and Technology
 1 Lesson 44: Engineering Solutions
 2 Lesson 45: Invention Convention

10 Commercial Appeal/Rewards of Citizenship
 1 Lesson 46: Creative Collaborations and Nominations
 2 Lesson 47: Production Values and Awards
 3 Lesson 48: Virtual Community Closure/Portfolio Design and Assessment
 4 Behind the Scenes
 5 Final Thoughts

All elementary school teachers, creative / educational drama teachers and specialists, teaching artists, drama therapists, school counselors, undergraduate and graduate students studying elementary education, educational administrators
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