Region 9 K-5 Social Studies

August-September 2021

Dear Teachers,

My name is Chelsea Howells, and I serve as the ESC Region 9 Social Studies content specialist. Every year offers us opportunities to grow and change as educators, and this year will be no different. I am here to help you in any way that you may need, including finding resources, supporting initiatives that you take on, and providing feedback and coaching. I am so excited about this school year and the opportunities we have to impact society through our social studies lessons!

The purpose of this monthly newsletter is to provide resources that are specific to types of social studies content, as well as general instructional tools and resources, and updates and professional development opportunities that are beneficial to all. My goal is to support elementary teachers at every level, whether you are self-contained, teach social studies and another content, or spend all day teaching social studies!

If you ever need assistance or have a question, please do not hesitate to contact me via email ( or social media (@ChelseaHowells9).

Wishing you a great start to the new school year!


P.S. Please take 1 minute to complete this google form if

  1. You need me to remove your name from this email list (ex. no longer self-contained or teaching social studies)

  2. You still teach social studies but have a new teaching assignment (ex. moved from 5th grade to 3rd grade)

  3. You are able to help me update my records with the names/email addresses of teachers who need to be subscribed (ex. new teachers at your school who teach SS)

Thank you for your assistance!


Back to School Resources


Instructional Support for Social Studies Classrooms

9 Brain Breaks for Elementary Students

Worth your time

Social Studies Resource Run (click below for details)


Essay Contests!

Daughters of the Republic of Texas 4th grade Essay Contest

The Historian General and the Historic Education Committee of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas conduct an annual Texas History Essay Contest for 4th Grade Students.

Texas History Essay Topics for 2022

Fourth Grade –Jose Antonio Navarro

4th grade student essays for DRT will be on leaders important to the founding of Texas as a Republic. Research was conducted through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to identify which figures would be taught in the curriculum of the classrooms of each of the Texas public schools’ 4th grade.

Prize: The Outstanding Fourth Grade Student will be invited to attend the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Saturday Luncheon at DRT Convention and may be asked to read his/her essay at the luncheon. The winner will receive $500 and a plaque. There will be seats for three (the student and two guests) at the luncheon.

Deadline: Each sponsoring chapter sets their own deadline for receiving the submitted essays. This is usually the month before they are due to their District Representatives. This gives them time to judge the winning essays for their chapter. So, be sure to contact the chapter for their actual deadline. Then the chapters submit their winning essays to the District Representative to be judged. The District Representative must receive the winning chapter’s essays no later than March 1st.

Click here for more information!

Wichita Falls Chapter contact: Suzanne Lindt

Other available opportunities offered by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas:

  • A "history trunk" presentation for students to learn about some items and people important in the Republic of Texas from 1836-1846
  • Signed Declaration of independence to hang and books for libraries


Professional Learning Opportunities

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Building Character with Historical Upstanders: Social Emotional Learning and Holocaust Remembrance Week

Come get to know the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in our first-ever K-5 educators’ professional development. From 9-12 on October 8th, receive the tools, resources, and confidence you need to teach your students the importance of empathy, acceptance, and kindness through historical Upstanders. Participants (in person or virtually) will have the unique opportunity to hear from Brad Meltzer, author of the Ordinary People Change the World book series, and Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum PBS series, which helps kids build character, kindness, and compassion, one real historical hero at a time. Register here for FREE:


Beginning in September, Humanities Texas will hold FREE professional development webinar series for social studies teachers in Texas schools.

Teachers can apply to attend on the Humanities Texas website. Participants will receive CPE credit and a wealth of curricular materials. CPE hours will be based on Zoom attendance and adjusted if a participant misses any portion of the program. Teachers who apply will receive information about and access to each weekly session in the series.

Teaching about American Indians in Texas

Mondays • September 13 through October 4, 2021 • 5:00–6:30 pm CT

This webinar series will offer teachers new windows into the history of American Indians in Texas and a collection of curriculum materials geared toward bringing innovative perspectives into the classroom. Team taught by a historian and two master teachers, the institute will focus on the long arc of American Indian presence in Texas from the pre-contact era through the “Indian Wars” of the 1870s.

Teaching America’s Founding Documents

Wednesdays • September 15–October 13, 2021 • 5:00–6:15 pm CT

Each weekly webinar will cover one of the America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Washington’s Farewell Address. Each session will focus on both the context of the featured document (how it came to be and its impact/significance) and its actual contents (the most important things for teachers to know and share with their students).

Please contact Humanities Texas with any questions:


Legislative Updates

There were many bills that traveled through the Texas House and Senate during the spring legislative session that will either directly or indirectly have an impact on education. Some bills of note include:

  • HB 4509 - Requires that K-12 school districts and open-enrollment charter schools teach "informed American patriotism" through the founding documents of the U.S. including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Federalist Papers.
  • SB 1063 - Allows for a Personal Financial Literacy course to serve as a Social Studies credit for graduation in place of the typical Economics course
  • HB4545- Accelerated Instruction required for all students who didn't pass one or more STAAR tests (video here if you want more information)
  • HB 3979 - Addresses many issues including controversial issues in the classroom, political activism, etc. (Please see below for more information)

I hope to share more information with you on each of these as they are clarified by TEA and the SBOE in the coming months.

Clarification on HB3979 from TXCSS

***These guidelines were developed by the Texas Council for the Social Studies. Teachers are urged to first consult with the leadership of your district regarding the local policies and interpretations of this bill.


Lead4Ward makes a difference in the lives of students by helping educators focus their work, creating structures that give teachers and students a sense of hope and confidence, and supporting leaders with systems they can trust.

Lead4Ward free resources

  • snapshot
  • scaffold
  • academic vocab
  • Teacher Learning Reports
  • Student Learning Reports
  • Social Studies side-by-sides

Lead4Ward provides FREE frequency distribution charts to help teachers when planning and prioritizing instruction for the year. Elementary teachers can use this information to help guide their scope and sequence when teaching social studies. Here are this year's charts along with a document that focuses on how to use the information.

Frequency Distribution by TEKS Cluster

Frequency Distribution by SE

Now What? Document (credit Jessica Torres, Region 12)


TEA Updates

The State Board of Education (SBOE) announced updates to the TEKS review and revision schedule. Approved at the Board’s April meeting, the updated schedule moves up the review and revision of the social studies TEKS to the 2021-22 school year and pushes back the review and revision of the mathematics TEKS to the 2022-23 school year.

The instructional materials adoption cycle was also revised in response to the changes.

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**NEW 9/10** Social Studies TEKS Review Work Group Application

The State Board of Education (SBOE) will soon begin the review and revision of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for K-12 social studies. The SBOE’s TEKS review and revision process calls for multiple, separate work groups to make recommendations to the SBOE for revisions to the current standards. SBOE members nominate individuals, including educators, parents, business and industry representatives, and employers, to serve on TEKS review work groups.

The SBOE is now accepting applications to serve on social studies TEKS review work groups. Applications received will be submitted to SBOE members for review throughout the process.

Individuals selected will be asked to serve on one or more work groups. TEKS review work groups typically convene for two-day meetings and may include Saturdays. Additional days or meetings may be scheduled if needed. The Texas Education Agency is currently conducting TEKS review meetings virtually but is expected to return to face-to-face meetings later this year. The invitation to serve on a work group will include the format/location of the meeting.

To access the application and for more information regarding the K-12 social studies TEKS review, please visit the Social Studies TEKS Review webpage at or click here:

Questions regarding the application or TEKS review process may be sent via email to

Transition to STAAR 2.0- Examples of new item types

Applies to all STAAR tested subjects


Upcoming Social Studies Conferences

Click the images below to reach the registration page.

NCSS is going virtual this year! Click here for more information.

Chelsea Howells

Social Studies Specialist

Region 9 ESC

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