The editors of Social Studies Research and Practice are excited about the July 2008 issue. The Research section of the journal includes studies examining various aspects of undergraduate teacher education. One looks at social studies preservice teachers reported reasons for selecting a primary source document and the other examines the use of individuals serving as inservice teacher and elementary social studies methods instructor. One graduate level study describes a Master of Education for Experienced Teachers (M.Ed.) program that reconcepulatized graduate study for teachers. Other studies examine classroom practices. These include a description and study of a district-wide professional development initiative within secondary social studies classrooms,an analysis of the content and impact of the Harvard Social Studies Project and an exploration of the contributions of Donald Oliver, Fred Newmann, and James Shaver to that project, and an examination of the use of popular music in the history classroom and the various ways in which its use can engage, motivate, and instruct students.
The Action Research section of this issue includes two studies. One examines the effects that a six-week, historical, inquiry-based unit on the American Revolution had on 119 fifth-graders’ interest in studying history. The other explored the development of historical empathy in the social studies classroom by addressing the following question: Does the manner in which students are asked to express their historical conclusions impact their ability to exhibit empathy?
The Practice section of the journal will be of interest to the social studies classroom teacher. Articles include a description of the use of a Civil War soldier’s diary to teach Civil War history, an overview of what we have learned about the state of academic freedom in the public schools, and the description of a unit that illustrates the role of trade books in teaching important social studies values and content.
Also of interest to social studies classroom teachers are the lessons included in the Notable Trade Book section of the journal. Maggie’s Door is presented as a tool to foster students’ consideration of people, places, and environments as well as individual development and identity through a cultural lens and Home is used to help students explore change over time and later in themselves by interviewing their parents and constructing a timeline book of their lives.