The Social Studies Connection

A Newsletter for Secondary Social Studies Teachers in CCS

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

February 2021


In this edition:

  • Professional Development: Rise Up! February 3 District PD Day
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Black History Month Resources
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Social Studies Academic Electives 2021-2022
  • Professional Development: NEH Landmarks, Seminars, and Institutes
  • Professional Development: Virtual PD Calendar with 2021 Updates
  • Professional Development: Professional Leave/Spring Virtual Conferences
  • Virtual Learning Resources: DBQ Online and Newsela Home Bases
  • Virtual Learning Resources: Google Drawings Graphic Organizers
  • Virtual Learning Resources: Social Studies Virtual Learning Padlet of Padlets


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Professional Development

Rise Up! February 3 District PD Day

February 3, 2021 will be the final PD Day for the school year. This will be a district-sponsored event with sessions available from a variety of CCS departments and partners. Sessions will be held virtually using a variety of virtual meeting platforms.


You can access the full list of session opportunities here. Use the links on the left navigation menu to view sessions offered by individual departments. Please note: This is a public website. You will not need to log in to Canvas, and you can ignore any pop-up messages about logging in. Unless otherwise indicated, no pre-registration is required.


Social Studies Sessions

(Note: There are also sessions in Instructional Technology available throughout the day. Teachers of Special Education and ESL may have required or optional offerings as well.)


8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Digging Deeper with Visible Learning for Social Studies: Focus on Transfer

The Visible Learning framework demonstrates that learning is not an event, but rather a process in which students move from surface-level learning to deep learning, and then onto the transfer of concepts, skills, and strategies. In this session, we will dig deeper into Phase 3, Transfer. We will identify transfer goals that align with our course curriculum, and utilize these goals teach content/skills, social-emotional learning, and the common good.


12:30 p.m. - 1:20 p.m. - Social Studies Best Practices and Resources Smackdown

Collaborate with your colleagues by sharing best practices and resources in a face-paced "smackdown." Participants will have 1-2 minutes to share out a best practice or resource that they have been using during virtual learning. The practices and resources will be submitted in advance via a Google Form, with the results sheet presented during the session. Submit your best practices or resources in advance using the form here.


12:30 - 1:20 p.m. or 1:30 - 2:20 p.m. - Making Modern Connections with Newsela

This session will focus on using Newsela's social studies collection to make connections between current events and social studies concepts, and highlight Social-Emotional Learning resources and content. Please complete the pre-survey 24 hours in advance here.


1:30 - 2:20 p.m. - Open Discussion on the Future of Social Studies Elective Courses

This will be an open discussion regarding social studies elective course offerings for the 2021-2022. Participants will be invited to share feedback regarding the possible addition of new elective courses, and discuss instructional resources for existing courses. Please complete the Social Studies Course Offerings Survey here if you have not already done so.


Additional on-demand sessions include recordings of the October PD Day sessions and presentations on Visible Learning and Media literacy.


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Black History Month Resources

February is Black History Month. The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.


Here is a collection of helpful resources and tools from Teaching Tolerance for teaching African-American history:


Teaching Hard History

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance Initiative has recently released a report and curriculum materials on teaching the central role that slavery played in the development of the United States. You can read more about the report here and access the curriculum materials (aligned with the C3 Framework) here. The Teaching Hard History standards are incorporated into the Social Studies 8 and African-American Studies curriculum in CCS.


Do's and Don'ts of Black History Month

Suggestions to ensure students get the most out of black history and Black History Month.


Black History Month: Teaching Beyond Slavery

Avoid minimizing black history; include the full human experience beyond enslavement.


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Teaching Local African-American History

To incorporate local African-American history, check out the Teaching Columbus Blog: The African-American Experience in Columbus. Topics address include the Underground Railroad in Columbus, King-Lincoln and the Harlem Renaissance, and the desegregation of Columbus Schools. These articles were originally written in 2014, and recently expanded and updated.

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Free Unit from the Choices Program: Slavery in the Americas: Resistance, Freedom, and Legacies

How does the history of racial slavery shape our world today?


Racial Slavery in the Americas: Resistance, Freedom, and Legacies provides the opportunity for students to consider how the past shapes the present on these fundamental issues. This curriculum provides a wide-ranging overview of racial slavery in the Americas over many centuries.


The Digital Editions format of this unit is FREE through September 30, 2021, thanks to funding through the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University. To access the unit for FREE, click Purchase, then add the Digital Editions Individual Teacher License to your cart and complete the checkout process.


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Newsela Resources for Black History Month

CCS has purchased social studies subscriptions for Newsela for this school-year. Newsela offers hundreds of relevant articles for Black History Month, organized into text set collections. Sign-in to Newsela via CCS Clever and access the collection below.


Celebrating Black History

The purpose of this Collection is to highlight how Black people have historically and contemporarily succeeded while experiencing racism and prejudice. Our goal is to continue to educate people on the triumphs of Black people in this country. We will promote the contributions, influence, and achievements in the Black community that are often ignored, silenced, or belittled.


Join Newsela for a live webinar: Embedding Social Justice in your Social Studies Classroom, February 4, 2021, 4:30 p.m. EST. Come join us as we explore how to create classroom conversations that challenge ourselves and our students. Click here to register for this webinar.


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High School Social Studies Academic Electives for 2021-2022

As we prepare the district master course deck for 2021-2022, we would like your feedback on the social studies courses that meet the academic elective requirement for four years of social studies.


At present, we offer the following courses:


  • African-American Studies (full-year)
  • Economics (semester)
  • Global Issues (full-year)
  • Law (semester)
  • Psychology (semester)
  • Sociology (semester)


The High School Department chairs have recommended additional courses for consideration, including:


  • Cultural Studies
  • Latinx Studies
  • Women's Studies
  • Critical Thinking/Information Literacy (Civic Reasoning)


To determine the viability of these proposals, we would like feedback from all high school social studies teachers. Please do so by completing the form here.


On the February 3 PD Day, we will have an open discussion session to discuss the future of all social studies elective courses and the instructional resources needed for those courses. This session will be 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.

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External Professional Development

NEH Landmarks, Seminars, and Institutes

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers tuition-free opportunities for K-12 educators and higher education faculty to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1,300-$3,450 help cover expenses for these one- to four-week programs.


Most of the Seminars, Institutes, and Landmarks programs will be offered online during summer 2021. All questions about specific program requirements should be directed to project directors using the information provided at each program website.


Visit the NEH Summer Programs website for a complete list of available workshops. The deadline for application is March 1, 2021.


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Virtual PD Calendar with 2021 Updates

Many national social studies organizations, museums, and other PD providers are offering webinars throughout the coming months. To avoid spam forwards or endless newsletters, these opportunities are organized in a custom Google calendar. Most of these are free webinars; some select virtual conferences have a cost.


New opportunities have been added to the 2021 calendar, including virtual sessions from the American Historical Association (January) and the International Society for the Social Studies Virtual Conference (February).


You can access this calendar from the link here. A calendar link is also available on the Social Studies homepage under the Featured Resources column on the right side of the page. Be sure to check the calendar regularly as it updated at least once a week.

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Professional Leave/Spring Virtual Conferences

There is $200,000 available to CEA bargaining unit members each year to pursue professional development opportunities outside the school district. These include taking a course or attending a conference or workshop. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all district-related travel has been prohibited, however, professional leave is available for online conferences. Forms to apply for professional leave are linked below, along with the full leave guidelines and the deadline schedule for applications based on the activity date.


Social Studies teachers may be interested in using funds to attend either the National Council for History Education Conference (April 8-11, 2021) or the Organization of American Historians Virtual Conference on American History (April 15-18, 2021).


Requests for April conferences are due to HR by February 19, 2021. However, you may want to apply earlier before funds are depleted.

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Virtual Learning Resources

As virtual learning continues, the resources below can assist with teaching and learning.

DBQ and Newsela Online Home Bases

CCS has subscriptions to both DBQ Online and Newsela social studies for all middle and high schools this year.


We have developed a CCS-specific "home base" for each platform with log-in information, tutorials, and curriculum alignment.



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Google Drawings Graphic Organizers

Google Drawings is great tool for having students complete online graphic organizers. From the links below, teachers can click on the "Use Template" button and make a copy of each organizer. In Google Classroom, teachers can link a drawing in an assignment as "Each student gets a copy." Students will then be able to double-click in each of the editable boxes and submit their work.


This collection of over 30 graphic organizers was created by CCS Social Studies to align with many of the suggested organizers in the curriculum. Click on the link below to access.

Social Studies Virtual Learning Padlet of Padlets

Check on the master padlet below for links to additional social studies virtual learning resources. These include curated collections of reading and resources collections, video tutorials, and interactive social studies apps.