Best Practices in Social Studies

Natalie Wheeler

A Look at Social Studies Standards

  • The National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) developed standards in 1994, These standards were updated in 2007. The NCSS standards focus on four learning skills.
  • The four learning skills of the NCSS that are suppose to make social studies more meaningful, integrative, value based, challenging, and active are...
  1. acquiring in formation and manipulating data
  2. developing and presenting policies, arguments, and stories
  3. construction of new knowledge
  4. participating in groups

Partnership for the 21st Century

  • Collaborated with NCSS to write social study standard for 14 different states
  • Founded in 2002 by a major communications and computer business
  • Standards are not clear
  • Focuses on the "Four Cs" - Critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation.
  • Media and technology skills are also stressed within the standards
  • Focus is on what leading businesspeople believe are the skills Americans need to be successful.

Over the years many States have developed their own social studies standards, curriculum guidelines, and tests. These states included the NCSS standards as well. Listed below are the components of social study standards in 3 different states

Qualities of Best Practice in Teaching Social Studies

  • Investigate topics in depth!
  • Give Choices for topic inquiry!
  • Explore open ended questions
  • Provide real world involvement and reading
  • Provide time for independent inquiry and collaboration
  • Build on prior knowledge, lives, and community understandings
  • Explore other's and own cultures
  • Don't track for social studies