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Engaging Minds in Social Studies Classrooms: The Surprising Power of Joy


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Political intrigue. Environmental issues. Ethical dilemmas. Critical thinking. Problem solving. Social studies content is directly connected to real life and is filled with built-in hooks to transform tuned-out students into engaged and enthusiastic learners.

Table of contents

Understanding Joyful Learning in Social Studies

Evaluating and Assessing Joyful Learning

Implementing Joyful Learning in Social Studies

Using Joyful Learning to Support Education Initiatives

About the authors

James A. Erekson is an associate professor of reading at the University of Northern Colorado. He has been teaching in the field of languages and literacy for more than 20 years, teaching four foreign languages in addition to reading and language arts courses. Erekson collaborates with K–12 educators to teach and do research on reading, writing, and oral language. He taught elementary grades and collaborated with middle school teachers to coordinate a successful reading center for eight years, where the vitality of social studies content helped young readers make breakthroughs in reading and writing. Erekson has presented his work both nationally and internationally, and he recently worked with Denver Public Schools' elementary teachers on a three-year state-funded learning experience on social studies and literacy.

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