Kendyl Bass is not only adored by her students at Harmony High School, she is also a talented and strategic teacher of social studies. She began teaching two and half years ago, with a background in communication and customer service. In her short time in the classroom, this UCF grad has gained a wealth of experience in teaching World History, Introduction to Social Science, and Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics. We sat down with Kendyl to find out what tools help her students achieve at the highest level.
OCHS: How do you use primary sources and artifacts in your classroom?
KB: In my classes, we use many primary sources. Specifically, we use documents from varied perspectives from the time period being studied to deepen knowledge and understanding of the unit. In AP Government, we refer to the Constitution throughout the semester. In my freshman courses we use primarily pictures as primary sources to understand the time period.
OCHS: What is one strategy you use that helps engage your students in social studies curriculum?
KB: I have a strategy of never using the same strategy too much. Students are used to getting their information in short bits and pieces, and while it is definitely good to teach them patience through activities, it is also good to peak and keep their interest in a unit. So while some things such as having an agenda for the day and essential question on the board each day are standard, I may stop an activity to encourage and foster thinking critically about a topic.
OCHS: What is your favorite part of teaching history/social studies?
KB: I love history. As a kid, my parents always took me to really historic places like St. Augustine, Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, and the list goes on. They always had some museum planned or walking tour for us to do. This translates into my teaching style. I love what I am discussing. Each topic has a different point of interest and I really think my students know that I am passionate about the subject—even for seemingly “dry” units like economics. My favorite part about teaching history is the history and the teachable moments that come from it.