Guest Teacher Post: How I Increased Student Engagement


Editor's Note: Susan Lyons teaches social studies at McKinley Middle School in Saint Albans, West Virginia. In this guest post, Susan describes how she uses Curriculum Pathways in her 1:1 iPad classroom. This is the third in a series of blog posts written by West Virginia educators sharing how they have integrated digital content in their classrooms. This series is part of a larger collaboration between Curriculum Pathways and SETDA, one that includes this October 2017 webinar.

When I was introduced to Curriculum Pathways -- during a workshop for science and social studies teachers -- I was immediately hooked and could not stop thinking of the ways that I could use this resource in my social studies class and that other teachers could use it in their own middle school disciplines. Back then, I was part of a pilot program in which social studies teachers were given a set of laptops as part of our new textbook adoption.

Fast-forward five years: our county is now 1:1. All students have their own iPad, and Curriculum Pathways has become a valuable tool in my classroom. I use it to enrich my lessons, expand my students’ knowledge, and enhance my students’ overall educational experience. Curriculum Pathways engages my students, creating an environment in which they are excited about learning.

Roman Inventions from Curriculum Pathways explores a historical narrative that presents key people, events, and issues related to this focus question: How did ancient Roman inventions contribute to modern civilization?

One of the many resources I use is Roman Inventions, Quick Launch (QL) number 1340. I use the introduction portion to review Rome’s rise from a republic to an empire. Working independently, students use a graphic organizer to explain the importance of each invention and to clarify its impact on modern society. The most valuable part of this section -- the Interactive Points (IP) -- allows students to explore how Roman roads were built and to see the similarities between those roads and the ones we travel on every day. Finally, the Test Your Knowledge section helps me assess whether students have mastered the concepts and objectives of the lesson.

This much is clear: Curriculum Pathways has increased student engagement in my classroom.  The resources make history come alive, enabling students to see links between past civilizations and modern society.


About Author

Lee Ellen Harmer

Outreach and Collaborations Manager

Lee Ellen Harmer is a member of the Social Innovation Division at SAS, a team committed to finding innovative ways to apply SAS® technology to the world's most pressing needs. While focused heavily on global sustainability issues, the Social Innovation team also works to support the next generation of innovators, introducing young learners to data, how it can be used to better understand global issues, and how to turn those insights into action in their own communities. Lee Ellen's role encompasses marketing, communications, and Data for Good partnerships, all focused on education. She also facilitates awareness and adoption of SAS's K12 education outreach programs, promoting learning for all, with the goal of building a global community of innovators. Lee Ellen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with a marketing concentration from Wake Forest University (Winston Salem, NC).

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