The Social Studies Connection

More than a Newsletter for Secondary Social Studies Teachers

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Preparing students for success in college, career, and civic life

If you missed last month's edition of the Social Studies Connection, click here.

Matthew I. Doran

Secondary Social Studies Specialist

Office of Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Division

Southland Center

November 2021

In this edition:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Native American Heritage Month
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Veterans Day
  • Curriculum and Instruction: TCI Implementation Home Base
  • Curriculum and Instruction: TCI Strategy of the Month
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Mastery Connect Assessment Tool
  • Professional Development: Teaching with TCI Tuesdays
  • Professional Development: The Social Studies Connection on Canvas
  • Student Programs: Kids Voting Election 2021
  • Student Programs: Civic Action Project Support


Native American Heritage Month

The Columbus City School District occupies the historic lands of the Shawnee, Delaware, Seneca-Cayuga, and Wyandotte peoples.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations (“Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

The following teaching resources are available for Native American Heritage Month:


Veterans' Day, November 11, 2021

Ohio Revised Code 3313.602(D) requires that each school devote at least one hour or one standard class period on or around Veterans Day, November 11, to an observance that conveys the meaning and significance of the day.

As you discuss the significance of Veterans Day with students, consider these talking points:

  • Ask students about veterans in their own families and stories they may have heard.
  • Until the withdrawal of troops in August this year, the U.S. had been in armed conflict in Afghanistan for the entire lifetime of your students.
  • Technology has changed the nature of warfare in the 21st century (e.g., drone strikes) and communication between the war front and home front.
  • Although the Selective Service System remains in place, the U.S. has relied on all-volunteer armed forces since the end of the Vietnam War.

Teaching resources include:


TCI Implementation Home Base

We have created a custom CCS TCI Home Base page to help teachers implement the TCI resources and pedagogy. The Home Base provides tools for Getting Started with TCI, TCI by Grade Level for Middle School, TCI by Course for High School, and TCI Six Active Learning Strategies.

Access the CCS TCI Home Base page here.


TCI Strategy of the Month: Visual Discovery

Each month we will focus on one of the six TCI active learning strategies. The November strategy is Visual Discovery, a frequently-used strategy in second quarter lessons.

Visual Discovery transforms the passive lecture into a dynamic, student-centered, participatory experience. Students bring to life compelling visuals as they discover key social studies concepts. The strategy sharpens visual literacy skills, encourages students to construct their own knowledge through higher-level thinking, and develops deductive reasoning. Consistent with Universal Design for Learning (UDL), visual discovery allows for multiple means of representation.

The five steps for implementing Visual Discovery:

  1. Use powerful images to teach social studies concepts. The best images show human emotion, drama, suspense, or interaction and have the potential for students to step into the scene and bring it to life.

  2. Arrange your classroom so projected images will be large and clear. Typically, the best classroom configuration is parliamentary style, with two groups of desks facing each other, a center aisle, and a front staging area.

  3. Ask carefully sequenced questions that lead to discovery. Ask a series of questions for each image that spiral from the basic to critical thinking: Level I: Gathering Evidence (What do you see in this image?); Level II: Interpreting Evidence (What do you think is happening in this scene?); and Level III: Making Hypotheses from Evidence (How do you think these people were feeling at this time and place?).

  4. Challenge students to read about the image and apply what they learn. Students "read" and analyze the image, read their text to gather more information and record notes, and process what they have learned.

  5. Have students interact with the images to demonstrate what they have learned. Students “step into” the visuals and bring them to life through an act-it-out with scripts or role cards.
To find the Visual Discovery lessons in your TCI program, click on the Content tab on the left menu. Under the Modify View button, be sure the Teaching Strategy box is checked.
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Visual Discovery: TCI's Visual Learning Techniques for Kids


Mastery Connect Assessment Tool

Mastery Connect is the district-adopted platform for developing and delivering assessments to students. Mastery Connect contains item banks that teachers can use to deliver standards-aligned formative and summative assessments.

The Certica Navigate item banks contain test items for all core social studies courses. The OH AIR Item Bank contains released test items from Ohio's State Tests in American History and American Government. We are in the process of adding test items to the Columbus City School District bank as well. Teachers can also create their own item banks and access items created by other teachers.

It is important to note that just because an item is identified as aligned to a particular standard, does not make it so. Most publishing companies do an alignment by keyword matching, which is not an effective approach. Consequently, a large percentage of items (including those in the Certica Item Bank) are not actually aligned with Ohio's standards. The responsibility falls to teachers to vet each item before including it on an assessment. The District curriculum documents are especially helpful in helping teachers unpack the learning targets guide assessment alignment.

Mastery Connect is accessible via CCS Clever for teachers and students. A 30-minute video tutorial below provides an overview of Mastery Connect.



Teaching with TCI Tuesdays

The Teaching with TCI Tuesday fall webinars have concluded. The sessions are recorded and posted to the CCS TCI Homebase.

Look for additional information on TCI professional development opportunities coming soon.


The Social Studies Connection on Canvas

The Social Studies Connection is more than a newsletter for secondary social studies teachers in Columbus City Schools. The Social Studies Connection is a collaborative community of professional learners.

Using the Canvas LMS, we have created a collaborative virtual space, where teachers can share ideas, resources, and questions with your social studies colleagues. Working together, the space will be as useful as we make it!

Click here to join/enroll in the Social Studies Connection community on Canvas. (Log-in with Active Directory through Clever).



Kids Voting Double Click Democracy Election

Kids Voting Ohio Double Click Democracy mock election concludes on November 2. Teachers will receive directions via email for accessing the election results on November 3.


Civic Action Support (CAP) from the Constitution Rights Foundation

Civic Action Project (CAP) is a project-based learning model for civics and government courses. It offers a practicum for high school students in effective and engaged citizenship and uses blended learning to engage students in civic activities both in and out of the traditional U.S. government classroom.

CAP is managed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF). CCS has a long history with CAP, having served as one of three pilot districts in the country with funding from Annenberg Foundation from 2004-2007.

Although CRF is based in California, CAP Senior Program Director Sarah Badawi is currently based in Akron, Ohio and available for support for CCS teachers. Please feel free to reach out to Sarah for support if you are implementing CAP in your classes this year,