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

March 2022

In this edition:

  • Professional Development: March 9, 2022 PD Day
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Connecting Current Events: Teaching about Russia and Ukraine
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Women's History Month
  • Ohio's State Tests: New OST Quick Review Guides
  • Ohio's State Tests: Seven Practices for Teaching for Mastery of Ohio's State Tests
  • Student Programs: Junior Achievement Career Adventures for Grade 6
  • External Professional Development: National Council for History Education Conference
  • External Professional Development: Teaching Black History Conference


March 9 Secondary Curriculum On-Demand PD

The Secondary Curriculum Division will host sessions on the districtwide March 9 Professional Development Day. These sessions will include both live and on-demand sessions.

Sessions will begin at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. School-based meetings will be held at 1:30 p.m.

Social Studies sessions will build upon our existing goals and work around three themes: TCI implementation, disciplinary literacy, social justice/civic engagement. There will also be general sessions available to choose from.

Live social studies sessions include:

  • Bring Learning Alive! Making TCI Work for You
  • Making Social Studies Skill Builders Work for You
  • Making Writing for Understanding Work for You
  • Introduction to OSU Origins and Picturing Black History
  • Junior Achievement Career Adventures Virtual Simulation

  • A full list of social studies sessions and times is available here.

    Click here for the complete list of March 9 PD sessions.


    Connecting Current Events: Teaching about Russia and Ukraine

    Social Studies classes must be responsive to current issues and events. For this reason, it is imperative that our classes focus on big ideas, overarching essential questions, and concept-based learning. This allows students to make connections across time and place and to transfer learning to new situations.

    The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia provides a teachable moment for connecting current events to key social studies concepts. Check out the resources below to help with planning for instruction on this topic:

    On Friday, March 4, 2021, 2:00 p.m., The American Historical Association will host a free webinar, “Russia and Ukraine: History Behind the Headlines. This webinar brings together three leading scholars to place current events in historical context. This session is open to all, but might be particularly useful for teachers and their students at college and high school levels. Click here to register.


    Women's History Month

    March is Women's History Month, commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

    See the following resources for Women's History Month in the classroom.


    Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspectives and Picturing Black History

    Origins: Current Events in History Perspective is a project of The Ohio State University Department of History. Every month since 2007, Origins has provided historical insight on current events that matter to the United States and to the world. A main article appears on the 15th of each month and features an expert who analyzes a pressing issue—whether political, cultural, or social—in a broader, deeper context. Origins’ main articles focus on the long-term trends and patterns, search for the foundations of today’s events, and explore the often complicated nature of a particular current event. The Origins site also includes free, open-source lesson plans, created by teachers for teachers.

    Origins has also developed Picturing Black History, a collaboration with Getty Images, that uncovers untold stories and rarely seen images of the Black experience. ​Picturing Black History emerged in the wake of national and international Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers in 2020. Black Lives Matter is a contemporary outgrowth of a long history of Black racial protest in the United States. Picturing Black History is a collaborative effort to contribute to an ongoing public dialogue on the significance of Black history and Black life in the United States and throughout the globe.


    New Quick Review Guides for Ohio's State Tests in American History and American Government

    The OST Quick Review Guides summarize key concepts for Ohio's State Tests in a 1-page, front and back review guide. The quick review guides have been updated to align with the 2018 standards, first assessed on the Spring 2021 state tests.

    You can download the Quick Reviews here:

    American History

    American Government

    Use this form to request the updated card stock versions of the American History and American History Quick Reviews for your students. These reviews (pink and green) replaced the previous editions (blue and yellow) and align with the current standards.

    Please discard previous card stock and paper versions of the Quick Review Guides. Current versions indicate "Revised 2020" in the lower right corner.


    Seven Practices for Teaching for Mastery of Ohio's State Tests

    While preparing students for state tests is a yearlong process, it's important to keep in mind some of the key practices as we head into the period of intensive preparation and review.

    1. Implement a laser-like focus on the learning targets. Unpacking learning targets is not the same thing as covering topics. Learning targets have a specific outcome that students need to master at a defined level. Focus on the key concepts needed to master these targets (underpinning targets) and eliminate extraneous information that is not necessary. Use the District Curriculum maps to unpack state standards.

    2. Design learning activities that go beyond the cognitive rigor required for state tests. Cognitive rigor includes both the type of thinking required (Bloom’s Taxonomy) and depth of understanding.

    3. Utilize strategies that maximize student engagement. Engaging strategies may include review games, learning stations, technology interactives, simulations, and artistic/creative representations. Incorporate a variety of activities in a given class period.

    4. Incorporate primary and secondary source analysis. Use short excerpts from sources to create evidence-based text sets (similar to DBQs). Have students respond to text-dependent questions, identify or create thesis statements from the texts, and cite supporting evidence.

    5. Use formative assessments to determine areas of focus. Use tools that allow for quick collection of data that can be used to determine areas for whole group and individual instruction.

    6. Differentiate based on student needs. It is important for all students to demonstrate growth. Some students will need remediation on particular topics; others will need acceleration. Use data from formative assessments to individualize instruction. Differentiation may also include the use of graphic organizers, leveled texts, tiered assignments, and choice boards.

    7. Practice technology-enhanced questions. In addition to multiple-choice questions, state tests include technology-enhanced items. These items may require students to indicate multiple correct answers in a table, chart or map, or move boxes to the correct blanks on a graphic organizer.



    Junior Achievement Career Adventures for Grade 6

    The JA Career Adventures encourage students to determine WHO they want to be before they can figure out WHAT they want to be! Students are encouraged to “be open to exploring ALL OF THE THINGS that make you so fantastically, extraordinarily YOU!”

    There is no cost to participate in this program. The program was released in November and available, per each teacher's schedule, until mid-June.

    Our philosophy is that we can only teach kids who want to be taught so the Adventures are intentionally fun, engaging, colorful, surprising, positive and easy-to-read. Based on teacher feedback from last year, the JA Career Adventures also includes voice-over narration for students who may struggle reading.
    • Students use a Venn Diagram as they discover their Personality, Skills, Interests and Values. The intersection of those four circles is their Happy Place: a successful rewarding career
    • Students navigate ten lessons about Career Readiness and Financial Literacy, then participate in a Holland Codes Interests Survey. Based on the results of the survey, students are directed to investigate Career Clusters
    • Students see how their education affects their career which affects their lifestyle
    • Program includes vocabulary words, quizzes, scavenger hunts, videos, stickers, GIFs, Fun Facts and Things You Can Do Now suggestions!

    Link to the JA Career Adventures Demo (teachers must sign into the lead form to access)

    Link to the JA Career Adventures Teacher's Guide

    Link to the JA Career Adventures Standards Alignment

    JA Career Adventures Registration


    Pete Crozier

    Vice President, Innovative Program Development

    Junior Achievement of Central Ohio

    68 E. Second Avenue | Columbus, OH 43201

    614.704.2532 |



    Hidden Gems of World Book

    Finding a diamond in the rough isn’t always simple, but with World Book resources educators can be confident in knowing they’ll find real treasure—up-to-date, quality instructional materials. World Book Online provides engaging, vetted, and standards-aligned digital resources for students in grades PreK-12.

    World Book Resources are provided at no cost to Ohio schools by INFOhio and Libraries Connect Ohio. Register and join us for these 30-minute webinars to dig in and uncover hidden gems that can be used in the classroom from World Book.

    Hidden Gems of World Book Student - Webinar will be presented on Thursday, March 17, 3:30 PM

    Hidden Gems of World Book Advanced - Webinar will be presented on Thursday, March 24, 3:30 PM

    Hidden Gems of World Book Timelines: - Webinar will be presented on Thursday, March 31, 3:30 PM


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    National Council for History Education Conference

    The National Council for History Education Online Conference will be held March 17-20, 2022. The conference features keynote speakers, breakout sessions on history content and pedagogy, and virtual field trips to museums.

    Keynote speakers include Alexis Coe, Peniel Joseph, Peter Kastor, LaGarrett King, and Merry Wiesner-Hanks.

    Conference sessions are recorded and can be viewed after the conclusion of the conference.

    To register for the conference, go to:


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    Teaching Black History Conference, July 22-24, 2022

    The Teaching Black History conference is the signature program of the Center for K–12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education at the University of Buffalo. Each year, the conference convenes hundreds of teachers to learn the best curricular and instructional practices surrounding Black history education. We will have featured speakers and entertainment, but the stars of the conference are our teachers. Each conference session is led by a classroom teacher who shares their Black history strategies. The sessions are interactive, so participants will have hands-on experiences to bring to their classrooms.

    Conference attendees love Black history. We welcome community educators, parents, school-aged students, librarians, museum curators and anyone who loves to learn about Black history. The conference can be held face to face, virtually, or in a hybrid format. This year's theme is Mother Africa.

    Click here for more information.