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Introducing: Arkansas Social Studies Education Blog

By Terra Aquia

Due to the global health crisis, students in Arkansas have had inconsistent learning opportunities since March, 2020. A new focus on Alternative Method Instruction (AMI) allows instructors to continue to teach equitably even when students are unable to regularly attend traditional classroom sessions. AMI materials often consist of learning packets, videos, and read-and-respond activities. High-quality AMI materials also include guiding questions and learning objectives so that students understand how to explore the content being presented.

Since the start of ACRE’s high school programming, the focus has been creating materials that require little or no access to technology or outside resources. These resources are designed to aid teachers who are looking to incorporate hands-on, enriching experiences for students without having to plan around a lack of technology access. With the new necessary focus on AMI,  over the summer we have adapted our resources into both “in-class” and “AMI” versions of each of our eight Arkansas-focused social studies curriculum. These new materials include virtual classrooms, online games, and reading & discussion activities, all adapted to be facilitated through an online web classroom format.

Teachers and parents are actively looking for resources in a way they haven’t in the past. Instructors are updating and adapting their favorite go-to materials and looking for new approaches to their teaching. We want them to easily be able to locate and incorporate Arkansas-centered materials into their classes. We have created a new blog-style site to organize and share Arkansas resources and Arkansas voices: socialstudiesar.org is a resource for K–12 social studies teachers in Arkansas who are looking for interdisciplinary lessons, readings, activities, and more.

The Social Studies Arkansas blog is a project of the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics with support from Economics Arkansas. Lesson plans, activities, and other content shared here are designed to meet learning objectives listed in the state’s social studies standards, making it easy to incorporate into public and charter school curriculum. With the addition of guided background readings on topics, videos, and discussion prompts, parents can also use these materials to supplement their child’s at-home instruction. The Social Studies Arkansas blog provides a space for teachers and parents to receive materials and resources from fellow teachers and education partners around the state and will create opportunities for Arkansas educators to communicate and collaborate on best practices.