Yep, Andrea Runnels gets a little too romantic about her love of the Civil War-Civil Rights time period of American History. There’s quite a bit of Wishes, Dreams, and Fairy Dust here but if you keep reading you’ll get to the reality…..Enjoy the ride.
The Social Studies Whisperer LLC is the brainchild of its quirky founder Andrea Runnels. Her love of American History and burning desire to help inspire others in a significant way pave the way for one magnanimous mission to save the Social Studies world. It wasn’t a hare-brained scheme. It wasn’t a soft whisper. It was a deafening internal scream from the universe. A “Big Magic” calling that couldn’t be ignored.
It was as if the spirits of Henry Ford, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Theodore Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, and Annie Oakley combined forces in one collective voice of persuasion to take action. It was as if the souls of men whose ghosts haunt the grounds of Pennsylvania farmland forever left crimson from the mighty bloodshed during three harrowing days so many summers ago have transformed into an uproarious din of impassioned pleas. The voices of the men bravely storming the beaches of Normandy as their brothers from the sky join them to victory over German forces cascade in waves across the Atlantic Ocean speaking her name.
She is the one that has been chosen to carry out the hopes and dreams of all who have fallen on battlefields defending Old Glory. She was pre-programmed with the brain wiring for grand plans and visionary dreams like no other. She has been gifted with the package of talents, skills, and creativity to make it happen.
She dares to stay focused on her designation to impact change in a big way. She looks to the future optimistically with an iron will and steadfast determination to power through adversity and accomplish the pie in the sky dreams and exceed her lofty but glorious goals.
The Social Studies Whisperer LLC is igniting a revolution to bring American History back through creative ideas, custom digital resources, and inspirational real talk!
- Our unique integrated activities offer you the perfect solution to combat that “never enough time” feeling.
- Our distinctive product line and signature books, videos, and courses support your efforts to effectively meet the needs of a wide range of learners.
- Our helpful strategies for making Social Studies content comprehensible empower you to help special populations of children develop a renewed interest in American History and newfound curiosity.
- Our practical and original lesson hook ideas help you capture the attention of students while connecting the past to the present.
The Grand, Revolutionary Vision
We envision a paradigm shift in regards to popular opinion about American History. We believe that American History should be the first thing taught, not the last. We strive to support and encourage teachers and homeschooling families along their journey to dispel the myth that the past should stay in the past.
We yearn to uncover the untold tales of the forgotten heroes of the past and share them as fuel for sparking passion for American history in today’s learners. We believe in analyzing the causes and effect relationship derived from significant historical events and utilizing them as parallels to foster success in the future.
Back to Reality
I believe history should be the first thing taught not the last…..
I believe in connecting the past to the present…..
I can fire off an impassioned sermon all day long preaching the gospel of American History but it’s more powerful on video! So amen, hallelujah and check out my take on how the movie Free State of Jones inspired and motivated me. And the mission right now is just me, not a we yet.
Ok, let’s get real for minute. I call it #runnelsrealtalk. It pains me but I realize not every teacher shares my enthusiasm for teaching Social Studies and that’s ok. Maybe you love facts and figures or you’re a Mrs. Frizzle meets Bill Nye kind of teacher. Maybe you are stuck teaching Social Studies and Science but you prefer Science. This is why I call myself “The Social Studies Whisperer.” With my creative ideas and helpful time-saving resources, I can take a challenging situation and make it so much better!
Maybe there’s so much of an emphasis on Math and Language Arts that it’s almost frowned upon to teach history and geography. Definitely been there. “I think I’m just going to concentrate on Math and Reading since that’s what we have to pass to go to ___ grade.” Ever heard those words come out of a student’s mouth? I have and boy I would love to insert that angry face emoji right here. Ever get handed about 1/3 of the technology the Math and Language Arts people received? I mean who needs technology for Social Studies and Science, right? UM, everyone everywhere. Yep, it happened to me.
Maybe you have to stick to a particular super-outdated text book. Maybe your students aren’t engaged because they think the content doesn’t relate to their lives. Maybe you are a new teacher and you want to make SS awesome, but you just don’t know how. Maybe your standards are too vague or weird and it’s hard to find resources. Or maybe things don’t naturally fit with the rest of your unit (Salton Sea Georgia people??). I got you. I can totally be your S.S. Teacher’s BFF.
Maybe it’s just a pain to fit everything in with all the content you have to cover. Been there. Maybe you rush through your favorite units and don’t get to know those projects you love because your kids have to be ready for a test. Been there. Maybe you think you have to stick exactly to the standards and can’t mention anything else because your students have to take X, Y, and Z local, state, and inter-planetary standardized assessment.
In my flowers and rainbows world, we would all explore history for the sheer love of it and testing would go away. Well, that’s not gonna happen. Testing isn’t going anywhere. There is a way to sneak in Social Studies content beyond the standards and still stick to the curriculum. I promise. I’ve done it. There is a way to turn those “history haters” into “engaged enthusiasts.” Done many times over. Secretly, it made me happy last year when my 5th graders would groan when I would say we were doing science. That wasn’t the consensus at the beginning of the year. At Open House, I always ask kids what their favorite subject is. Can you guess how many said S.S? 1! And I don’t think he was prepared for my enthusiasm when he responded as such.
These are all valid concerns that may make teachers’ jobs even more stressful than they already are. Social Studies does not have to be a thorn in your side. It can be the best part of your day. Maybe you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “Yeah, right!” I bet that’s because the way you were taught history was enough to make you wish you could fall through a hole in the floor or someone would pull a fire alarm. Instruction doesn’t have to be like that.
I had to teach SS and SC last year to 3 different classes and clearly my preference is for one. So I literally did 1 messy lab the entire year. I incorporated literacy and music into science. We wrote song parodies for the scientific method. And those science aficionados, I see the look on your face right now. You’re shocked I didn’t do labs. But seriously, I was supposed to teach parts of a microscope or The Roaring 20s. C’mon! Well, I did a creative jigsaw activity for the microscope.
Care to wager a guess on the results for my science test scores compared to my counterpart who only taught science in a more traditional method? Minuscule difference in scores. And I’ve got coworkers in this group who can vouch for that. Want to know why? Because I brought what made me happy into teaching and I shared my enthusiasm for writing and music but just used science content. I believe I can help teachers do this with social studies.
I feel so strongly about sharing my passion for history and making sure our under-served populations are included in instruction that I truly feel called to do this. I’m a creative and I felt stifled. I taught for 16 1/2 years and I feel like my mission goes beyond 4 cinder block walls so I left the classroom to pursue this mission full time. I want to bring Social Studies back. I believe in making history hip. It shouldn’t be an afterthought or an inconvenience or just for old people.
I believe it should be OUR-story not HIS-story!