SIM 5: Skills Versus Content 


A Social Studies Teacher teachers US History and spends weeks covering the Revolutionary War.  Mrs. Marrietta, has been teaching in the school for 20 years and has taught the exact same lesson every year.  The Principal walks into her room, after she has taught the Revolutionary War for 10 weeks.  The Principal asks, Mrs. Marietta, "How long have you been covering the Revolutionary War?" Mrs. Marrietta shares, "Not long enough, this is one of the most important wars in our nation's history and students need to understand the facts, details, and every aspect of the war.  I'd love to teach an entire course on this if you left me." 

It's obvious that Mrs. Marrietta is passionate about her work with the Revolutionary War.  During the observation, the principal asks to see a most recent assessment. The principal noticed that almost the entire test was low level thinking and simple recall questions about dates, people, and identification of key events.  There was one question that challenged the student's thinking but even that question wasn't the strongest and highest level of thinking. Since the principal has such a strong focus on skills like creativity, collaboration, and communication the teacher had students work in groups to create a diaroma in a shoe box as their required activity on creativity.    

Mrs. Marrietta believes that her students are prepared for college and the workplace because this has worked for the past twenty years.