Higher Education

Powerful Social Studies for Elementary Students, 3rd Edition

  • Jere Brophy Late, Michigan State University
  • Janet Alleman Michigan State University
  • Anne-Lise Halvorsen Michigan State University
  • ISBN-10: 1111838062  |  ISBN-13: 9781111838065
  • 360 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 1996
  • © 2013 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $126.00
  • Newer Edition Available
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POWERFUL SOCIAL STUDIES FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS examines the nature and purpose of social studies as it outlines ways to select content and teach history, geography, and social sciences more meaningfully. These respected authors present principles and illustrative examples to help pre-service and in-service teachers plan well-organized social studies instruction that produces positive student outcomes. The Third Edition emphasizes the importance of using developmentally appropriate content and methods when helping students to develop social understanding and civic action, and includes a solid research base that is reflective of the current NCSS standards. Rather than advocating the elimination of the traditional content framework used to organize the social studies curriculum ('expanding communities framework'), the authors call for retaining the most important topics that have traditionally been emphasized and for teaching these topics in 'more coherent and powerful ways.'

Features and Benefits

  • The authors address strategies for promoting family involvement and home-school connections into the teaching of social studies.
  • Coverage of use of the Internet and other technologies in social studies instruction.
  • The authors have included the latest NCSS standards as well as standards statements that have been developed for the "component disciplines" (history, geography, economics, etc.) of social studies into the new edition.
  • Coverage of the social sciences, as well as integration using the arts, history, and literacy.
  • Other emerging topics include: creating instructional units; planning and conducting field trips; expanded coverage of assessment; additional instructional methods and strategies (e.g., role plays, use of vignettes), to stimulate critical thinking and problem solving; and use of narratives and other more teacher-centered strategies along with constructivist approaches.
  • The chapters end with a 'Your Turn' section in which readers are invited to apply the chapter's key understandings to sceneries involving planning for teaching a particular topic.
  • Instructional units developed by the authors are woven throughout the chapters and two resource units focusing on popular unit topics are included in the appendices.

Table of Contents

1. Elementary Social Studies: What is it? What might it become?
2. How can I build a Learning Community in my Classroom: Strategies for including all Children.
3. How do I select powerful Goals and powerful Content?
4. What Social Studies planning tools are available?
5. How can I teach History powerfully?
6. How can I teach Geography and Anthropology content powerfully?
7. How can I teach the other Social Science content powerfully?
8. How can I structure Classroom Discourse to help students develop Social Studies understandings?
9. How can I assess Student Learning?
10. What are some other Strategies for teaching Social Studies?
11. How can I design, implement, and evaluate Instructional Activities?
12. What is the role of Curricular Integration?
13. How can the Curriculum be expanded and made more powerful through Homework?
14: What is the Research Base that informs ideas about powerful Social Studies teaching?

What's New

  • Each chapter begins with a Student Voice: comments by novice and experienced teachers who communicate their views on the content of chapters and talk about how they implement the principles.
  • The newest NCSS standards have been incorporated throughout the text and a new icon designates areas where they are discussed or exemplified.
  • Technology Tips, a new box, gives tips for using technology to develop and deliver social studies units and lessons.
  • TeachSource Videos have been incorporated to demonstrate key ideas and allow students to get an accurate picture of actual teaching situations and challenges.
  • Research Base boxes in each chapter highlight one or more of the principles of effective teaching to explain how they serve to make social studies, as well as other content areas, powerful and memorable.
  • Content has been rearranged to reflect common teaching practices and improve the flow of information.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Powerful Social Studies for Elementary Students is an excellent text. It covers all of the main aspects needed for teacher candidates to plan for and teach the social studies content needed in our elementary schools. It offers many powerful activities at the end of each chapter to help teacher candidates apply their new knowledge."

— Linda K. McMillan, Kutztown University

"The text has excellent information. It is practical in nature..."

— Dana Harwell, University of West Alabama

"...I know my students learn a great deal from the book. Most students continue to keep [it] not only for the rich social studies ideas, but also for all the clear and concise wisdom related to powerful teaching practices."

— Erik Jon Byker, Michigan State University


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual with Test Bank  (ISBN-10: 1133491774 | ISBN-13: 9781133491774)

Prepare for class more quickly and effectively with such resources as chapter goals, assessing prior knowledge exercises, assessing student learning, and suggested field activities.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Jere Brophy

Jere Brophy was a leading researcher and scholar in education. He was a University Distinguished Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, where he taught from 1976 until his death in 2009.

Janet Alleman

Janet Alleman is Professor Emeritus of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, where she focused on curriculum content and instruction methods as well as issues in teaching social studies. She has co-authored a host of books, including an award winning one with Jere Brophy entitled CHILDREN'S THINKING ABOUT CULTURAL UNIVERSALS. Other books co-authored with Jere Brophy and Barbara Knighton include INSIDE THE SOCIAL STUDIES CLASSROOM and A LEARNING COMMUNITY WITHIN A PRIMARY CLASSROOM. Currently, she serves as a consultant and teacher coach in K–12 schools.

Anne-Lise Halvorsen

Anne-Lise Halvorsen is an associate professor of teacher education, specializing in social studies education, at Michigan State University. Her research and teaching interests are elementary social studies education, project-based learning, the history of education, the integration of social studies and literacy, and teacher preparation in the social studies. She is a former kindergarten teacher and a former curriculum writer for the State of Michigan.