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Concepts and Generalizations


Predict what you would encounter at the Bergen, Norway Airport. ... Rental car counter. Adapted from Lynn Erickson Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Concepts and Generalizations

Concepts and Generalizations
  • Teaching for Understanding in Social Studies

With your neighbors
  • Make a list of the things you see, hear, and
    experience at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Be
    ready to share.
  • Think of other major airports you have been to.
    Are there items to add to or take away from your
  • Predict what you would encounter at the Bergen,
    Norway Airport. Will there be items to add to or
    take away from your list?

Standardization makes our lives easier by
reducing complexity.
Airports everywhere are alike in many ways to
make airline travel easier and more efficient.
Houston Airport
  • I encountered
  • Signs for Baggage Claim
  • Ticket counters
  • TV monitor with flights
  • Flight announcements
  • Security checkpoint
  • Parking garage and ticket
  • Airplanes
  • A newsstand
  • Rental car counter

Organizing Our World An Example
Adapted from Lynn Erickson Concept-Based
Curriculum and Instruction
Concepts are
  • mental pictures of a groups of things that have
    common characteristics
  • categories for our perceptions

Subsistence farming
Concepts Rules/Laws Values Conflict Interdepende
nce Fairness Diversity Power Rights Adaptation M
ovement Diffusion Democracy Region Self
Interest Government Cooperation Compromise Aggress
ion Innovation Leadership
Family Life
Texas History
U.S. History
Political Science
World History
Understanding concepts is ultimately what enables
students to transfer understandings learned in
one time/place setting to a new time and place
even a setting with which they have no previous
acquaintance. When we teach concepts we allow
our students to transcend the settings that we
have taught. -John Hergesheimer
People are often willing to move to improve their
English colonists came to America seeking a
better life in the New World.
Families will often relocate to follow higher
paying jobs.
Migration, push-pull factors, settlement
Migration, push-pull factors, settlement
Settling the First English Colonies
Dads Transfer to Houston
  • Dad said he couldnt pass up a 20,000 raise.
  • We like our new neighborhood and we have a bigger
  • I also was wanting to get away from some bullies
    at my old school.
  • In 1620, the Mayflower arrived off Cape Cod.
  • In 1630, Puritans came to New England to escape
    the persecution of King James 1.
  • Jamestown settlers believed they would find gold
    in Virginia.

Bridging Two Worlds
Adapted from Lynn Erickson Concept-Based
Curriculum and Instruction
Generalizations Organizing the Facts to Create

Many Irish migrated to the U.S to escape the
Potato Famine.
Topical Generalization
Topical Generalization
Topical Generalization
Universal Generalization
Topical Generalization
Topical Generalization
Universals are special
  • They finally give teacher and student a common
  • They build confidence in students.
  • They point to activities or prompts that
    authentically connect content to students own
  • They help us clearly unpack the TEKS.
  • They provide a framework to help students
    remember facts

Ok So how can we put these powerful tools to
work for us in the classroom?
Plan curriculum carefully
Curriculum developers may assume that teachers
know the essential understandings
generalizations related to a topic. My
experience has been that unless teachers
consciously identify these understandings, they
focus on the fact-based content as the endpoint
of instruction, and the conceptual level of
understanding usually is not addressed. Lynn
Erickson- Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction
Make it easy to use effectively in the classroom
Even school districts that devote tremendous time
and energy to designing the intended curriculum
often pay little attention to the implemented
curriculum (what teachers actually teach) and
even less to the attained curriculum (what
students learn).

Richard DuFour
So we have to systematically develop a curriculum
that is based on concepts and generalizations and
help teachers understand how to use it
effectively with students.
Is there an easy way to do that?
Concepts and Generalizations Curriculum/Instructi
on Planning Steps
  • What TEKS/SEs will we address?
  • (2)  History. The student understands the
    political, economic, and social changes in the
    United States from 1877 to 1898. The student is
    expected to
  • (A)  analyze political issues such as Indian
    policies, the growth of political machines, and
    civil service reform
  • (B)  analyze economic issues such as
    industrialization, the growth of railroads, the
    growth of labor unions, farm issues, and the rise
    of big business and
  • (C)  analyze social issues such as the treatment
    of minorities, child labor, growth of cities, and
    problems of immigrants.
  • What content from those TEKS/SEs do we intend to
    cover? What are the concepts?
  • (The factors that led to the unprecedented
    economic growth in America during the late 1800s
    industrialization, improved transportation,
    labor unions, agriculture, big business)

  • What topical generalization summarizes the
  • Technical innovations created the capacity for an
    unprecedented industrial boom of the late 1800s.
  • Industrialization had significant political,
    social, and economic impact.
  • What universal generalization that students
    already understand well is this generalization an
    example of ?
  • New ideas/inventions allow people to be more
    productive and have more choices.
  • Change has both positive and negative effects on
  • Can you develop an analogy/guiding question that
    would help students make the connection between
    their own lives (universal generalization) and
    todays lesson (objectives, concepts, and
    topical generalizations)
  • How would our lives be different if the computer
    had not been invented?

Once we have the generalizations, they provide a
clear focus for planning instructional activities.
The first step is to explore the experiences
students have already had with our universal.
The Hook - Focus
  • Using examples from their experiences, students
    reflect on their knowledge of the universal
    generalization or concept to be covered in the
  • Students examples of the generalization/concept
    clearly link to the examples the teacher wants
    them to explore in the lesson.

Helps me understand
Adapted from History Alive! Teachers
Curriculum Institute
The second step is to allow students to explore
new examples of the universal, examples that
are in fact the content of the lesson.
The Line Concept Development
  • Students collect information and use it to
    develop notes or use graphic organizers
  • The new information consists of content-based
    examples of the same concept or universal
    generalization they explored in the hook.
  • The line activity requires students to compare
    their own experiences with the concept or
    generalization with examples from the lessons

Adapted from History Alive! Teachers
Curriculum Institute
The third step is to let students process their
new examples of the universal, practicing and
extending their fresh understanding of it.
The Sinker Student Practice
  • The activity requires students to process and
    extend their new understanding of the concept or
    generalization based on the new content
  • The activity is engaging, challenging, and
    interesting and allows students to interact with
    new information

Adapted from History Alive! Teachers
Curriculum Institute
The fourth step is to assess the extent of
student processing and understanding of new
learning and applications of concepts and
The Catch Assessing Student Learning
  • Using formative or summative assessment
    strategies the teacher and/or student determines
    the extent of their learning in relation to the
    new material/concepts/facts/generalizations
  • This part of a lesson or unit can be informal or
    formal based on answering questions,
  • Helps the teacher decide whether the fish is
    big enough to keep or needs to be thrown back in
    to grow some more

Can this approach improve student achievement in
Social Studies?
The Bottom Line
Students already understand universals. Our task
is to help them learn more examples of the
concepts and topical generalizations as they
apply in Social Studies classrooms.
Two More Examples
Imposing restrictions on subordinates who want to
be independent may lead to resentment and even
After years of relative independence, the
colonies resisted attempts by Britain to impose
new restrictions.
As children become older and less dependent on
parents, they tend to resist parental controls.
Independence Resistance Conflict
Independence Resistance Conflict
Growing Tensions between the Colonies and Great
Tensions between Parent and Child
  • He poured out the milk rather than drinking it
    like his mother demanded.
  • His mother made him stay in his room for pouring
    out the milk..
  • Rather than pay a tax on tea, the colonists
    dumped the tea in the harbor..
  • Because the colonists dumped out the tea, Great
    Britain closed Boston Harbor.

Bridging Two Worlds
Adapted from Lynn Erickson Concept-Based
Curriculum and Instruction
New ideas and inventions often help people
achieve things that werent possible before.
Computers have transformed business productivity
and personal lifestyles in the past 20 years..
Scientific and business innovation converged to
produce the industrial boom of the late 1800s.
Innovation Industry Productivity Progress
Innovation Industry Productivity Progress
Industrialization in America, 1860-1900
The Computer Revolution
  • Millions of people pay their bills
  • I can buy, sell, fax, copy, play games, talk to
    my friends, and print all my school papers on my
    computer at home.
  • By 1900, 190,000 miles of rails linked businesses
    and their customers.
  • The Bessemer process made it possible to mass
    produce high-quality steel.

Bridging Two Worlds
Adapted from Lynn Erickson Concept-Based
Curriculum and Instruction
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