“I honestly believe that social studies could be on the cusp of its greatest moment-that is could soon be a subject students come to love and look forward to. But to ensure that happens, we must infuse generous amounts of current and historical texts into students’ weekly social studies diet. Such documents should include primary source documents, alternative histories, and also current issues and events found in newspaper and magazine articles. These should be introduced no later than the upper elementary grades. Such supplemental texts could be a real game-changer, with a profound impact on students’ sense of what history is and how it connects to the to their personal lives, culture, and communities.”
– Mike Schmoker
Social Studies teachers in Ohio have two new sets of standards to consult as they develop unit and lesson plans–Ohio’s New Learning Standards and the ELA Common Core Standards. If you are a K-5 teacher, read the ELA Common Core Standards for grades K-5 in the areas of reading information text, writing, speaking, and listening. At the secondary level, the ELA Common Core Literacy Standards for Social Studies in grades 6-12 have been specifically developed for Social Studies in the areas of reading and writing. The Herff Jones Achievement Series from February of 2012 has provided us with an article that explains why teaching literacy in Social Studies is essential to the overall development of students’ reading and writing skills (read BROAD KNOWLEDGE DRIVES LITERACY: Building a diverse academic knowledge base contributes to the ongoing development of reading and writing skills). There are several solid resources, like the Reading Like Historian Program and the Teaching Channel on the web and on the market, like the DBQ Project to help teachers help their students improve their reading and writing skills. We pulled many of these resources together to form the Social Studies with Reading, Writing, and Research at the Core online professional development course together. Check back with OCSS as we continue to build our PD offering and resources for Social Studies teachers.
NEW WHITE PAPER ON THE CCSS and SS – Common Core Presents Opportunities for Social Studies But history, civics, geography, economics educators must work actively to seize them by Herff Jones (August 2013)
“There is no such thing as doing the nuts and bolts of reading in Kindergarten through 5th grade without coherently developing knowledge in science, and history, and the arts. Period. It is false. It is a fiction. And that is why NAEP scores in early grades can improve slightly but collapse as students grow older. Because it is the deep foundation in rich knowledge and vocabulary depth that allows you to access more complex text.
Let’s not get confused here that [the CCSS] are adding back nice things [history, arts, science] that are an addendum to literacy. We are adding the cornerstones of literacy, which are the foundations of knowledge, that make literacy happen.”
– David Coleman