Social studies in the 21st century

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Adapted from Amber Rehm, Central Square and based on SG
Grant/Greg Ahlquist presentation.
Social Studies on the Rebound
Despite seeming to be left behind in recent years,
state and national efforts on behalf of social studies
are emerging and changes are in the works
 College,
Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for
Social Studies State Standards (NCSS - 2013)
 New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework
(Adopted April 2014)
 New York State K-12 Social Studies Resource Toolkit
and Professional Development Project (Projected
publication – August 2015)
A Program that Supports Teaching, Learning & Assessment
These components work interdependently in both instruction and
assessment. Through an inquiry-based approach, students develop
thematic and conceptual understanding while applying disciplinary
practices and literacy skills in the context of content.
Pedagogy Behind the C3 Social
Studies Framework: The Inquiry Arc
Dimension 1: Developing Questions and
Planning Inquiries
 Dimension 2: Applying Disciplinary Concepts
and Tools (Civics, Economics, Geography, and
 Dimension 3: Evaluating Sources and Using
 Dimension 4: Communicating Conclusions and
Taking Action
NY Social Studies Framework
3 Instructional Shifts
Focus on Conceptual Understanding
 Rather
than facts, breadth of topics, and recall
Foster Student Inquiry, Collaboration, and
Informed Action
 Rather
than teacher as disseminator, students who learn
facts from textbooks, students that retell interpretations
Integrate Content and Skills Purposefully
 Rather
than students focusing solely on content
knowledge or developing literacy skills and social
studies practices separately
Social Studies Framework Explained
Content Specifications
Key Ideas: big, overarching
ideas that provide context
and structure for students’
Conceptual Understandings:
provide more specific and
detailed information that
support the Key Idea.
Content Specifications:
written as “Students will…”
statements, outline the specific
content that can be taught to
illustrate the Conceptual
Understanding and support
the larger Key Ideas.
Example from SS Framework: 3rd Grade
3.1 Geographic regions have unifying
characteristics and can be studied using
a variety of tools. (Key Idea)
 3.1a
Earth is comprised of water and large
land masses that can be divided into distinct
regions. (Conceptual Understanding)
Students will identify the continents and
oceans, by using globes and maps.
 Students will locate the selected world
communities in relation to oceans and
continents. (Content Specifications)
Common Core Skills Embedded in SS
Common Core ELA is necessary but not sufficient
Key Ideas and Details
Craft and Structure
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Range of Reading & Text Complexity
Text Types and Purposes
Production and Distribution of Writing
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Range of Writing
Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Social Studies Toolkit Project Timeline
Field Guide Published (Fall 2014) – “almost obsolete”
Refining, reviewing, piloting and revising inquiries and conceptual
foundations (Aug. 2014 – Aug. 2015)
 14 Annotated Inquiries (1 for each grade level; 2 for 12th; first 3 to
be released at end of Feb. 2015)
 70 Abridged Inquiries (5 per grade level)
 84 Total Inquiries (6 Inquiries per grade level )
Developing additional annotated and abridged Inquiries; piloting
inquiries (Nov. – Feb. 2015)
Revising annotated inquiries (March – May 2015)
Publishing of Social Studies Toolkit (August 2015)
The intention of the Toolkit is to bridge the NY State Framework for Social
Studies and teachers’ classroom practice.
Why Inquiries Rather Than Units?
Inquiries are not fully-developed content units or modules,
require teachers to supplement with other sources and
Written by teachers and piloted by teachers
Inquiries enable pedagogical coherence not scripts
An inquiry need not necessarily cover an entire key idea
A Key Idea may necessitate several inquiries
Compelling questions are intellectually meaty and kid
Teachers have freedom to choose some supporting questions
and sources and not others
Teacher expertise and agency is key
What will the Inquiries look like?
What will the Inquiries look like?
What Does Taking Informed Action
Understand the problem
Assess options for action
Research issue relevant to inquiry
Identifying the problem(s) and possible civic action(s),
brainstorming a list of opportunities and constraints
Apply and take action: Civic Activism
Organizing a boycott, petition, fundraiser, school
newspaper editorial, school assembly, bringing
stakeholders together for a classroom forum, class
presentation, work in the community to solve problems
New Social Studies Assessments
Global History & Geography Regents - June 2018
(current 7th graders)
Exam will only over modern world history 1750 to present
 Students will need a good foundation in Global 9 in order
to do well
United States History Regents – June 2019
Implications of 4+1 Pathway to Graduation
First time that the Office of Assessment is working
together with teachers to create these new exams
(content & skill)
What will these new exams look like?
Evidence Centered Design (ECD): Testing skills and content
Multiple-choice (stimulus style NOT jeopardy style)
Shorter Constructed Response Questions
A set of questions based on a stimulus
Must bring in content knowledge, use and understand the stimulus
to then answer a set of questions
Often based on stimulus as well
Students have to understand stimulus or question and then pull
from their knowledge
Example: “Give 1 piece of evidence that would support the
author’s argument and give 2 pieces that would refute.”
Document Based Question (become more like AP style)
Example of MC Stimulus Question from
AP United States History Exam
This excerpt is taken from journalist John L. O’Sullivan’s 1845 essay “Annexation,” in which he first
used the phrase “manifest destiny.” The concepts of Manifest Destiny and expansionism are
addressed in learning objectives ID-2 and WOR-6.
Questions 9–11 refer to the following quotation.
“Our … destiny [is] to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of
our yearly multiplying millions. . . . The Anglo-Saxon foot is already on [California’s] borders. Already
the advance guard of the irresistible army of Anglo-Saxon emigration has begun to pour down upon
it, armed with the [plow] and the rifle, and marking its trail with schools and colleges, courts and
representative halls, mills and meetinghouses. A population will soon be in actual occupation of
California. . . . Their right to independence will be the natural right of self-government belonging to
any community strong enough to maintain it.” — John L. O’Sullivan, 1845 9.
9. The ideas expressed in the passage above most clearly show the influence of which of the
Models of limited government inherent in the Articles of Confederation
Beliefs in separation of powers articulated in the United States Constitution
Concerns about foreign alliances expressed in George Washington’s Farewell Address
Concepts of republican democracy found in the Declaration of Independence
Example of Stimulus Question from AP
United States History Exam Continued...
10. The process described in the passage above most directly led to political
controversies in the 1840s and 1850s over the
expansion of slavery into newly acquired territories
authority of the Supreme Court to overturn federal laws
role of the federal government in economic development
use of natural resources in newly acquired territories
11. Which of the following events in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
represents a continuation of the process described in the passage above?
(A) Efforts to restrict immigration to the United States
(B) The Supreme Court’s endorsement of racial segregation
(C) The United States gaining possession of overseas territories
(D) Political parties’ attempts to regulate economic activities
Example of Sample Short Answer
Constructed Response Question
United States historians have proposed various events to mark
the beginning of an American identity.
 A) Choose ONE of the events listed below, and explain why
your choice best represents the beginning of an American
identity. Provide at least ONE piece of evidence to support
your explanation.
End of the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) in 1763
Signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776
Ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788
B) Contrast your choice against ONE of the other options,
demonstrating why that option is not as good as your choice.
Social Studies in the
Focus on Continuity: With all of these
changes, what remains the same?
NY State Social Studies Standards
Standard 1: History of the United States
and New York
 Standard 2: World History
 Standard 3: Geography
 Standard 4: Economics
 Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and
Social Studies Practices or
Historical Thinking Skills (K-12)
Gathering, Using, and Interpreting
 Chronological Reasoning and Causation
 Comparison and Contextualization
 Geographic Reasoning
 Economics and Economics Systems
 Civic Participation
10 Unifying Themes of Social Studies
Time, Continuity and Change
People, Places and Environments
Individual Development and Identity
Individuals, Groups and Institutions
Power, Authority and Governance
Production, Distribution and Consumption
Science, Technology and Society
Global Connections
Civic Ideals and Practices
Social Studies Content Sequence
Grade and Content Focus
 Kindergarten: Self and Others
 Grade 1: My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago
 Grade 2: My Community and Other United States Communities
 Grade 3: Communities around the World
 Grade 4: Local History and Local Government
 Grade 5: The Western Hemisphere
 Grade 6: The Eastern Hemisphere
 Grade 7: History of the United States and New York – I
 Grade 8: History of the United States and New York – II
 Grade 9: Global History and Geography – I
 Grade 10: Global History and Geography – II
 Grade 11: United States History and Government
 Grade 12: Participation in Government & Economics, the Enterprise System,
and Finance
Compelling Questions for Elementary
Teachers and the Social Studies
Where does Social Studies fit into the elementary
schedule? (Daily? Weekly? Monthly?)
What are the connections between the ELA
modules that are rooted in Social Studies and the
Social Studies Framework?
How will the inquiries from the SS Toolkit help to
bring the SS Framework into classroom practice?
What can we use or create that would enable
Social Studies to come back into the elementary
Advice from Social Studies Experts
Elementary teachers are crucial to helping students
prepare for the new Social Studies exams; but more
importantly to preparing students for civic life
Begin to have vertical conversations; vertical spiraling
of skills and content from elementary, middle school and
high school
Make reasonable shifts because of the time allotment in
elementary schedule
2015 is a year of learning, make small changes or
shifts to instruction and lessons
Request professional development opportunities from
district administration
Thank you
For more information:
E-mail Liane Benedict at
[email protected] or Barb
Recchio at [email protected]
Visit the following websites

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