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

Matthew I. Doran

Secondary Social Studies Specialist

Office of Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Division

Southland Center

September 2021

In this edition:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: TCI Implementation Home Base
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Canvas Course Pilot for Social Studies Academic Electives
  • Curriculum and Instruction: 20th Anniversary of 9/11
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Constitution Day
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Snapshot of a Successful Social Studies Classroom
  • Professional Development: HS Social Studies Department Chair Meetings
  • Professional Development: The Social Studies Connection on Canvas
  • Student Programs: High School Mock Trial
  • Student Programs: New Statewide Kids Voting Ohio Organization
  • Student Programs: Youth at the Booth
  • Student Programs: Civic Action Project Support


TCI Implementation Home Base

As you know, CCS has adopted TCI's History Alive!, Geography Alive!, Government Alive! and Econ Alive! programs for core social studies courses. We have created a custom CCS TCI Home Base page to help teachers implement the TCI resources and pedagogy. The Home Base provides tools for Getting Started with TCI, TCI by Grade Level for Middle School, TCI by Course for High School, and TCI Six Active Learning Strategies.

Access the CCS TCI Home Base page here.


Canvas Course Pilot for Social Studies Academic Electives

As CCS launches its long-term plan for Canvas Blueprint courses, social studies courses will be among the early adopters of this year's pilot program. Teachers participating in the pilot program will have access to the Canvas courses to implement with enrolled students.

A Blueprint course is a master template for all sections of a district course. The content and settings in the Blueprint course are pushed out to individual course sections associated with the blueprint. Blueprint courses provide a standardized course foundation with a common set of learning activities and assessments across the system. Note that Blueprint courses are not intended as student self-paced full courses. The readings and learning activities are intended for use as part of regular classroom instruction, not in place of it.

For this year's pilot, Social Studies Academic Elective Courses will be available to participating teachers and their students. These courses include African American Studies, Latin American Studies, Psychology, Sociology, and Women's Studies. These courses were selected because they do not have a recent core textbook/digital platform adoption. Social Studies Blueprint courses include textbook-like readings, video segments, checks for understanding, source analysis activities, and project assignments.

Teachers who want to be involved in the pilot program should commit to:

  • Participating in professional development/training for Canvas and Social Studies Blueprint courses. This includes a 1 hour live webinar orientation and additional asynchronous learning modules (approximately 3 hours).
  • Utilizing some of the the Blueprint course modules as part of classroom instruction with students. Teachers may also adapt and add to the material available in the modules.
  • Providing feedback on the content and design of Blueprint courses in order to shape revisions for future years.

If you would like to be part of the pilot program, please complete the form here.


20th Anniversary of 9/11

As we mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the end of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan, we are reminded that no middle or high school students today were alive when these events began. For students today, these are history lessons.

Here are some instructional resources related to these topics.


Constitution Day, September 17, 2021

September 17 is Constitution Day. The purpose of Constitution Day is to commemorate the signing of the supreme law of the land in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Federal law requires that all schools receiving federal funds hold an educational program for their students on September 17 of each year.

Teacher Resources:

Interactive Student Resources:


Snapshot of a Successful Secondary Social Studies Classroom

The Snapshot of a Successful Secondary Social Studies Classroom a guiding tool to help teachers design their classrooms and learning experiences. This is a not checklist or evaluation instrument. It is illustrative, not exhaustive or conclusive. The most recent update of the Snapshot is linked below.

Click on the image below to download a PDF of the Snapshot.



HS Department Chair Meetings 2021-2022

High School Social Studies Department Chairs meet monthly for professional development and to collaboratively help shape CCS Social Studies. This year's meetings will be held on the second Wednesdays of month, except March:

  • September 8, 2021
  • October 13, 2021
  • November 10, 2021
  • December 8, 2021
  • January 12, 2022
  • February 9, 2022
  • March 16, 2022
  • April 13, 2022
  • May 11, 2022

Meetings will be 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. The current plan is to hold meetings on Zoom. Department Chairs will receive a Zoom link.

Department Chair appointments are made by the building principal. New Department Chairs for 2021-2022 should email Matt Doran to make sure they are on the distribution list for this year.


The Social Studies Connection on Canvas

The Social Studies Connection is more than a newsletter for secondary social studies teachers in Columbus City Schools. The Social Studies Connection is a collaborative community of professional learners.

Using the Canvas LMS, we have created a collaborative virtual space, where teachers can share ideas, resources, and questions with your social studies colleagues. Working together, the space will be as useful as we make it!

Click here to join/enroll in the Social Studies Connection community on Canvas. (Log-in with Active Directory through Clever).



High School Mock Trial Program

Ohio Mock Trial of­fers an in­no­v­a­tive ap­proach to learn­ing the law and how our legal sys­tem func­tions. Guided by teach­ers and vol­un­teer legal ad­vi­sors, stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in an orig­i­nal, un­scripted sim­u­lated trial writ­ten by at­tor­neys. High school stu­dents argue both sides of the case in real court­rooms across the state. The state fi­nals are held in the Ohio State­house and the win­ner ad­vances to the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Learn more about Mock Trial, including the case information, dates, and deadlines from the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education.

To compete in the Ohio Mock Trial program, each school needs a team advisor. The advisor position is a supplemental contract granted by the building principal. The pay for the position is established by Article 905.01 (Group B) of the Master Agreement. If you are interested in advising a Mock Trial team at your school, please speak with your building principal regarding this position. Principals should complete the supplemental contract appointment form and submit it to Human Resources.

Additionally, please contact Matt Doran if you are interested in starting or continuing with Mock Trial. The Curriculum Division will cover the cost of case materials and team competition.

As health and safety protocols are monitored, OCLRE will provide updated information on the format of Mock Trial. Also note that we have flexibility with how we approach Mock Trial within the District. We are open to other possibilities, such an internal virtual competitions, if teams are not able to participate in state program.


New Statewide Kids Voting Ohio Organization

Kids Voting Ohio offers free non-partisan voter preparedness and civic education programs for Ohio Schools. Note that KVO is a new statewide organization, not connected with the previous Kids Voting Central Ohio that is no longer in operation.

Kids Voting Ohio programs include:

  • Mock Elections
  • Student Scholarships
  • Voter Registration Drives
  • Student Events and Activities
  • Standards-Aligned Curriculum
  • Educator and Voter Resources
  • Meet Your Ohio Leaders Video Library

Teachers can access the free curated curriculum from the Kids Voting Ohio website here.

Stay tuned for additional information on training opportunities to learn about: an overview of KVO programs, mock election set-up, scholarship opportunities, and Q & A. You can also reach out to Project Director Matina Bliss ( to learn more about KVO programming and support.


Youth at the Booth

As the Kids Voting Central Ohio organization is no longer in operation, the Franklin County Board of Elections has assumed responsibility for Youth at Booth, an opportunity for high school seniors to work at the polls.

Teachers should contact the Youth at the Booth Coordinator at 614.525.5731 or email Deadlines for General Elections are varied and based on the beginning date of each school.

Please see the Franklin Board of Elections YAB page for more complete information and forms:


Civic Action Support (CAP) from the Constitution Rights Foundation

Civic Action Project (CAP) is a project-based learning model for civics and government courses. It offers a practicum for high school students in effective and engaged citizenship and uses blended learning to engage students in civic activities both in and out of the traditional U.S. government classroom.

CAP is managed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF). CCS has a long history with CAP, having served as one of three pilot districts in the country with funding from Annenberg Foundation from 2004-2007.

Although CRF is based in California, CAP Senior Program Director Sarah Badawi is currently based in Akron, Ohio and available for support for CCS teachers. Please feel free to reach out to Sarah for support if you are implementing CAP in your classes this year,

Stay tuned for further CAP connection opportunities coming this year.