Editor’s Notes

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Social Studies Research and Practice once again brings an issue packed with interesting research and practical classroom applications for the Social Studies professional. The research section of the journal includes a focus group study of conservative education students, a study of how the film Iron Jawed Angels impacted students’ understanding of the American Women’s Movement, particularly the fight for suffrage by the National Women’s Party, and a study that presents the findings of a qualitative investigation about four elementary pre-service teachers’ experiences learning to teach social studies in the No Child Left Behind era. This section, in addition, includes discussions of teachers’ understandings of content and how it affects their abilities to develop creative instructional strategies for learning and the “disclosure dilemma” and how social studies educators engage in discussions of controversial issues in the classroom.

The Action Research section includes a discussion of a project tracing how a teacher used images of cultural universals as part of a kindergarten social studies curriculum to help her students develop temporal distinctions between past and present. The Practice section of the journal includes two technology-related articles, one that looks at the way technology is currently used in social studies education and makes the argument that technology can better serve teachers and students as a tool of engagement and inquiry rather than as a supplement to existing practices, and another describing how high school history students used the Avalon Project Internet webpage and graphic organizers to comprehend the primary sources with which they were working. The section also includes an article exploring controversial issues and how elementary teachers consider their own positionality.

The Notable Trade Books feature includes three detailed lesson plans ready for classroom implementation.  The lessons’ topics include an understanding of work as a varied and important part of each person’s life, immigration to the United States, and of symbols representing views of patriotism in various countries, such as China, Japan, Australia, England, France, or Canada.

The Interdisciplinary Education feature, edited by Elizabeth Wilson and Tammy Cook, includes an article by Ronald Helms discussing three elementary level lessons by Population Connection. Lois Christensen, editor for the Social Justice feature, and others look at the rebuilding of two preschools in Indonesia following the devastating 2004 tsunami.  Gerry Swan is the guest author for the Technology Integration feature, edited by Kathleen Swan and Mark Hofer. Swan discusses the initial implementation of an open source platform that provides the opportunity to utilize reading quizzes in a formative manner through color-coded displays.