Stella Nagac D’Arceaux believes that, “…there is a need to amplify indigenous voices and diverse perspectives to history.” The elementary school teacher at Westwood Charter in Los Angeles is especially excited to address indigenous history and modern-day civil rights efforts as she partners with CHSSP historian Shelley Brooks as together they lead the 3rd and 4th series in our newest online program, Grade Groups. As Stella and Shelley see it, the third and fourth grade curriculum offers a unique opportunity to incorporate local, regional, and state history, which allows for California students to see themselves in the material that they learn.
Stella and Shelley plan to approach elementary social studies from an interdisciplinary angle that will help teachers respond to timely issues in the fall. The 3rd/4th grade group will use picture books and online tools to explore local California histories. These sessions will focus on deepening students’ historical analysis skills (and developing tools for assessing this) and will also incorporate activities for integrating reading, science and math into historical inquiry.
The 3rd and 4th Grade Group will also provide “teachers a forum to share ideas and concerns as we work through distance learning.” Shelley aims to assist teachers in identifying a wide-range of resources that can be useful in teaching synchronously and asynchronously. Resources ranging from photographs of older generations of Californians, picture books about local civil rights struggles, data sets about environmental changes over time can assist teachers in their instructional goals. Moreover, Shelley hopes that the group can collaboratively focus on “online tools for investigating local communities' circumstances.” Taken together, this series promises to combine depth of content, skill development, and instructional strategies ready for classroom use – however that classroom is situated.
The Grade Group series is specifically designed to provide teachers with the resources and support they will need to teach this fall. The 3rd/4th Grade Group – like all other groups – will offer educators from across the state the opportunity to talk with each other, share new ideas, and think together about how best to teach their particular content and address students’ social and emotional needs in this new and admittedly difficult context.
Grade Groups are set to begin on September 24 at 4:00 with a special presentation by USC Professor and Neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang on the impact of trauma on student cognitive and emotional development. In addition to the September 24 event, the 3rd/4th Grade Group will meet the following Wednesdays from 4:00-5:30 pm: September 30, October 7 and 21, November 4 and 18, and December 2.