Brenda Betts, Ph.D.
I have been an educator for more than twenty years. In the beginning of my career, I was a bilingual (Spanish/English) elementary teacher in East Los Angeles. Then, I taught elementary school on U.S. military bases overseas. I worked in Korea, Japan and the Philippines for nine years. I returned to California and taught bilingual (Spanish/English) elementary students in Los Angles and Glendale. I earned two Master's Degrees and my Ph.D. in Education at the University of Southern California. One of the most important things I learned by teaching and learning is --
Everything is Social Studies! It is not a separate area of the curriculum, but is the context for learning skills in reading, math and science. When we read, we read about people, places or events. We need math and science to solve social challenges - people problems. Solving those challenges/problems are what Social Studies is all about. We really can't separate Social Studies from other subject areas. For example, what was the last book you read? Was the topic about people? Were they in a location? What happened? Did some action take place? Were there any events? If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, then you were reading about Social Studies!
Teaching and learning about Social Studies is fun! It is easy to make the content relevant and meaningful to students so they want to learn more Social Studies. When we teach Social Studies, we have opportunities to explore many fascinating topics and learn about people, places and events.
The California Council for the Social Studies is the professional organization that advocates for students, teachers and the curriculum across the state. This organization sponsors a conference once a year, usually in the spring. Everyone is welcome to attend this important event, particularly credential students and Liberal Studies majors. If you plan to become a teacher, this conference will be very beneficial for you. At the conference, there are workshops, seminars, speakers, networking, a book fair, a vendor fair and numerous free instructional materials. When I attend this conference each year, I bring a large box on luggage wheels and fill it with free teaching materials each day. Do you know that many school districts have money to send teachers to professional conferences? Ask your administrator about conference opportunities!
You can find out more about the advantages of belonging to the California Council for the Social Studies and their annual conference by going to their web site, www.ccss.org.
In addition to teaching Social Studies methods, I teach courses in Cultural Diversity and Bilingual Education. Sometimes, I supervise student teachers and interns. I am the Faculty Advisor for the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA) on campus. Do you belong to SCTA? Why not? It is an excellent professional organization with many member benefits. You can find out more about it by reading the web page, www.cta.org. I am also a mentor in the Faculty Mentor Program. I serve on various committees in the Department of Teacher Education, the College of Education and the university. My research interest is the social construction of knowledge and identity in academic contexts. Does that sound like Social Studies? Of course!
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles. I enjoy reading, traveling and shopping.
Ansel Adams Curriculum Unit for Fourth Grade
This curriculum unit includes 34 lesson plans to accompany the Ansel Adams Inaugural Exhibition: California at the Carnegie Arts Center in California. You can download the curriculum unit here.
Each syllabus is available in two formats -- as a MS Word document or as an Adobe PDF file. Select the one you are able to view and print below:
Each handout is available in two formats -- as a MS Word document or as an Adobe PDF file. Select the one you are able to view and print.
|Sample Thematic unit||.doc|
|101 Quality Creative Literature Projects|
|5 Step Lesson Plan Model||.doc|
|Black African-American Inventors||.doc|
|Bilingualism in U.S.- A Historical Perspective||.doc|
|CATESOL Position Paper||.doc|
|Dear Levi, Overland Trail||.doc|
|Directions-Group 5 Step LP||.doc|
|Elements of Sheltered Classes||.doc|
|Ethnic Notions video||.doc|
|Field Trip Checklist||.doc|
|Five Themes of Geography||.doc|
|Geography K-6 Curriculum||.doc|
|Getting Started w-T. Unit||.doc|
|Graphic Organizers - Time Line||.doc|
|Graphic Organizers - Organize Projects||.doc|
|Graphic Organizers - Pyramid||.doc|
|I Am - activity sheet||.doc|
|Lesson Plan Format||.doc|
|Los Arcos Volunteer Applipcation||.doc|
|Los Arcos Volunteer Flyer||.doc|
|My People Made It Without Billingual Education||.doc|
|Quilt Thematic Unit Questions||.doc|
|Rubic, Thematic Unit, Sp 04||.doc|
|Social Studies Role Play||.doc|
|Social Studies Standards|
|Standards topics by grade||.doc|
|The Orphan Train Heritage||.doc|
|Virtual Museum Tour||.doc|
|Writing Process Diagram||.doc|
|If Only Trees Could Talk|
|My Handy Garden|
|Recipe for an Ag Day|
|Try It, You'll Like It|
|African-Americans on U.S. stamps|
|Become a Stamp Detective!|
|What do Postage Stamps tell us?|
|Women on U.S. Postage Stamps|
|EDMS4140 Book Review||.doc|
|Multicultural Book Review||.doc|