Deb Brown, a good friend from the Shawnee Mission, Kansas district, shared a statement with me several years ago and it’s rattled around in my head ever since.
“Primary sources belong to everyone. Not just the smart kids.”
I like that.
Something else she said caught my attention.
“Kids should read like a detective and write like an investigative reporter.”
With the new Kansas state standards in full force and the NCSS C3 document just out, this sort of thinking needs to part of every teacher’s world view.
Around the same time, Deb shared some of the things that teachers in her district were using to help kids make sense of all sorts of historical evidence. They fit perfectly into the first C of the 4C’s framework I’m developing for social studies teachers:
And using graphic organizers help meet Common Core literacy standards. So I’ve borrowed what she shared and put them together with a few other things to come up with a list of eight highly effective strategies. Together, they provide students with a variety of powerful data collection tools that they can use as they work to solve problems. Continue reading 8 sweet graphic organizers for primary sources→
After years of sitting on the margins of instructional practice, social studies is getting a makeover. The Common Core is calling for the teaching of literacy through the integration of fiction and non-fiction into our instruction. In August 2013, the National Council for the Social Studies published the complementary College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards.
Both the Common Core and College, Career, and Civic Life standards support a different approach to teaching and learning social studies than what we saw as part of No Child Left Behind. Instead of focusing on memorizing specific content measured by multiple choice tests, students are now being asked to do social studies – to think historically, to solve problems, to read, write, and communicate. As teachers, we are being asked to find a balance between foundational knowledge and the authentic use of that knowledge.
But for the last ten years or so, at least in the state of Kansas, we’ve asked kids to focus instead on memorizing content. So now when we’re asking our middle school and high school students to not just write more but to use evidence while proving assertions, we get a lot of blank stares.
Steal a practice used by a lot of elementary teachers and start training your secondary kids to use evidence-based terms while writing.
Evidence-based terms are simple phrases that support the use of, well . . . evidence. So if we ask kids to look a couple of primary source documents and develop a thesis from their analysis, they have some scaffolding to help them do that.
I spent most of the day today talking iPads with K-12 teachers in all contents. But I have to admit – my favorite part of the day was the two hours spent with social studies teachers.
We chatted about a variety of things but the focus was on iPad apps and activities that aligned to my recently released C4 Framework for the Social Studies. For those unfamiliar with the C4 Framework, we’ve broken down the NCSS national social studies standards, the Common Core literacy standards for the social studies, and the new Kansas social studies standards into four easy to follow themes that can help you plan high-quality lessons and units.