Hook Students on Citizenship

I know my time with my students will have been worthwhile if, at the end of our class, each child has grown as a citizen. I want my students to learn to be aware, empathetic, and active.

The Samantha Smith Challenge fits right into this approach. Last year Portland established Middle School Standards for social studies. Participating in the SSC helps me meet these standards in a very real way. Our students need to research a social studies topic using research questions, varied sources, and appropriate methods. The SSC is perfect for that! We also need students to analyze how to participate in and influence government. I can't imagine a better way to hit that standard. Finally, our students must make and present a simulated decision related to the classroom, community, state or beyond. Granted, students during the SSC don't analyze simulated decisions. Instead, they do the REAL THING!

In short, the Samantha Smith Challenge is an inspiring and practical way for teachers to hook students on citizenship while meeting our curricular requirements. I'm eager to talk with any teacher with questions. Connie Carter can put you in touch with me. With best wishes and appreciation for your nurturing of the next generation of change makers. 

Lyman Moore Middle School, Portland Maine