Social Studies Level Up

Preparing for Ohio's State Tests Weekly Bulletin

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Miss Week 1 of Social Studies Level Up? Click here to access.

Miss Week 2 of Social Studies Level Up? Click here to access.

Preparing for Ohio's State Tests: Week 3


This is the third of seven weekly newsletters dedicated to helping teachers prepare students for Ohio's State Tests in American History and American Government. Each newsletter will feature one of seven identified best practices in teaching for mastery, and highlight some of the available resources.


Note: The practices outlined in this newsletter series are designed to increase standards mastery. They are useful in all courses, not just state-tested courses. While some direct test practice is necessary, the primary emphasis should be unpacking standards in meaningful and rigorous ways. Check out the article, "Beware the Test Prep Trap" by Jay McTighe for more information.


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Social Studies Level Up Goals

  • Increase passage rates on Ohio's State Test in American History from 50% to 65%.
  • increase passage rates on Ohio's State Test in American Government from 59% to 70%.


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Best Practice 3: Student Engagement

Key Points of Student Engagement

  • Engagement involves active learning and processing of content.
  • Activities that are both hands-on and minds-on increase student engagement.
  • Engaging activities can include gallery walks, role-play, simulation, games, technology interactives, digital creation tools, musical/artistic representations, and student to student interaction.
  • Incorporate a variety of activities and/or provide choice in a given class period.


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Social Studies Teaching & Learning Strategies Page

The Social Studies Teaching & Learning Strategies web page provides an annotated bibliography of 50 engaging teaching strategies organized into five categories:



Each entry includes a short description with a link to a full description and/or resource materials.


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10 Professional Development Workshop Resources on Student Engagement


Check out these presentations from CCS Social Studies on engaging strategies from recent PD workshops:


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Game-Based Learning and Gamification

Game-Based learning involves the inclusion of games in classroom activities. Gamification refers to use of game mechanics (levels, points, challenges, badges) in a non-game context. Both strategies can increase student engagement.


Vocabulary Games


Video Strategy Games


Review Games

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Student Engagement Strategies from the High School Department Chairs

At the January Department Chair meeting, a group of Department Chairs identified the following strategies to increase student engagement:

  • Build authentic relationships with students - build trust;
  • "Take Care of Me" - Students create a list of things teachers can do to take care of them as learners;
  • Incorporate primary source activities as bell ringers and exit tickets;
  • Use station rotation in a Blended Learning model;
  • Use Smart Boards for interactive exercises; and
  • Incorporate games and competition.

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Matthew I. Doran

Secondary Social Studies Specialist

Office of Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Division

Southland Center

3700 S. High Street

Suite 125