Social Studies Scoop

A Monthly Bulletin for 6-12 Social Studies Teachers in CCS

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

March 2020

In this edition:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Teacher Clarity Planning Tool
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Women's History Month
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Social Studies Academic Electives 2020-2021
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Design Thinking Enrichment Experience MS Summer Program
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Blended Learning HS Modern World History Summer Course
  • Ohio's State Tests: Analyzing Primary and Secondary Sources
  • Professional Development: Middle School Content Experts PD 2020
  • Professional Development: Summer Travel PD Opportunities


Teacher Clarity Planning Tool

As part of our ongoing focus on Teacher Clarity, HS Department Chairs have started completing sample documents showing Unpacked Standards and Learning Paths for each course. This work began by establishing Big Ideas and Overarching Essential Questions that demonstrate the relevance of social studies.

Having established relevance, our work is now focused on creating Learning Progressions, Learning Intentions, Success Criteria, and Sample Assessments for each standard.

The template below is designed to help guide this process. Individual teachers and teams can use the template for unpacking standards and planning learning paths. Click on the image file of the blank document to use the template. Click on the directions document image for definitions of key terms.


Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

See the following resources for Women's History Month in the classroom.


Social Studies Academic Electives Courses 2020-2021

Social Studies Academic Elective course offerings for 2020-2021 have now been established. See the handout below for complete information.

Law, Sociology, Psychology, and Economics will be offered as .5 credit/semester courses. These can be paired in any arrangement, so that students earn a full credit. Please take note of licensure requirements for each of these courses.

African-American Studies and Global Issues will continue to be full-year courses, with .5 credit awarded each semester. Semesters are denoted as X and Y.

The Curriculum Maps and Clear Learning Targets for these courses are currently under revision. These courses will still follow the four dimensions of the C3 Framework, but will have additional content-specific learning targets added.


Design Thinking Enrichment Experience for Middle School, Summer 2020

Applications will soon be available for teachers interested in developing and teaching in the CCS middle school summer enrichment program. The Design Thinking Enrichment Experience (DTE²) will immerse middle school students in a 6-week, collaborative experience focused on interdisciplinary, problem-based learning opportunities. Building skills for college and career success, students will learn to think like researchers, designers, entrepreneurs, and communicators. Topics will include robotics, aviation, drones, 3D model, food science, eSports, and medicine.

Participating teachers will receive professional development from the PAST Foundation, and receive extended hours for developing the curriculum this spring. This program is open to teachers with any license.

Teachers can apply here:


Blended Learning High School Modern World History 9 Summer Course

In summer 2020, students in the Class of 2023 will have the opportunity to retake coursework through Blended Learning courses. For social studies, this means we will offer a Blended Learning version of Modern World History 9. The course curriculum is under development in Google Classroom.

Although this course will continue to follow state standards in World History, it will offer some innovative approaches to addressing course content.

First, we will use an Origins/Reverse Chronology approach. That doesn't mean studying history backwards. Rather, it means that each unit of study will begin by looking at a current issue or event, and tracing the issue back through history to discover the "origins" -- how and why it all began. History will help us understand the present!

Second, we will emphasize Big Ideas. Each unit will be connected to one or more Big Ideas that show why history is relevant to our lives. These Big Ideas are Change, Democracy, Diversity, Evidence, Justice, and Power. Along with the Big Ideas, we will discuss and debate essential questions that are meaningful today. History will help us become better citizens!

Finally, we will use a Blended Learning format for this course. That means some of our class activities will be online and others will be offline. These activities will build on each other to provide students with meaningful learning opportunities. This will also give students some choice over how they learn and allow teachers to work with small groups and one-on-one. We will also use technology tools to help us collaborate and connect. History will connect us to each other and the world through technology!

Teachers can apply here:


Big picture

Primary and Secondary Source Analysis

To achieve success on Ohio's State Tests, students need to effectively use source material.

Key Points:

  • Source analysis involves close reading, interpreting, and evaluating primary and secondary sources in history and government.
  • The use of primary and secondary sources of includes an examination of the credibility of each source.
  • Historians develop theses and use evidence from sources to support or refute positions.

Evidence-Based Sets

On Ohio's State Tests, an Evidence-Based Set is a group of several questions associated to one or more common stimuli. Evidence-based sets allow students to work with primary source materials to show deep understanding of social studies topics. The questions in these sets assess a range of skills and content in the content statements.

In addition to the sets available in the released test items, sample Evidence-Based Sets are available in Edulastic.

Beyond the Bubble: History Assessments of Thinking (HATS)

Created by the Stanford History Education Group, Beyond the Bubble unlocks the vast digital archive of the Library of Congress to create History Assessments of Thinking (HATs). Explore over 80 easy-to-use assessments that measure students' historical thinking rather than recall of facts.

Assessments emphasize the historical thinking skills of:

  • Sourcing;

  • Contextualization;

  • Corroboration;

  • Background Knowledge;

  • Use of Evidence; and

  • Periodization.

Click here to access the full collection of HATs.


Middle School Content Experts PD 2020

The Middle School Content Experts professional development program provides an opportunity for teachers to strengthen their Pedagogical Content Knowledge. This year, the sessions are focused on Dimension 2 of the C3 Framework: Disciplinary Concepts and Tools, with an emphasis on assessing disciplinary thinking skills.

This year's program began in September, with sessions taking place every other month. Meetings are held on Tuesdays, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Southland Center, 3700 S. High Street. Remaining dates for the year:

  • March 17, 2020
  • May 19, 2020

An April make-up date will be announced by the March meeting.

In session 1, we explored various types of skills assessments, including weighted multiple choice, performance task, and Beyond the Bubble HATs. We also laid the foundation of understanding Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and its relationship to assessment tasks.

In session 2, we focused on building assessments using DOK. Using the Hexagon Connection strategy, teachers examined types of government in tasks that required DOK levels 1-3.

In session 3, we held a joint meeting with HS Department Chairs to discuss the District's Census Awareness Campaign and review instructional resources from the Census Statistics in Schools website.

Session 4 will focus on the six-step DBQ process as performance-based assessment.


External Summer Professional Development

American Bar Association Summer Institute

The ABA/FJC Summer Institute for Teachers is currently accepting applications for our 2020 Institute in Washington, DC (June 21-26). The Summer Institute deepens participants’ knowledge of the federal judiciary and of the role the federal courts have played in key public controversies that have defined our constitutional and other legal rights.

Participation is limited to 20 teachers. Travel, lodging, and meal expenses will be provided. Applications are due March 2, 2020. Applications can be found at


C-Span Summer Teacher Fellowship

C-SPAN is pleased to announce that the application process for our Summer Teacher Fellowship is now open.

For four weeks in July 2020, Fellowship recipients will collaborate with C-SPAN's education team at our offices in Washington, DC to develop new teaching materials using C-SPAN resources. Each Fellow receives a stipend of $7,000 to cover housing, travel and living expenses. Fellows also participate in C-SPAN's Summer Educators' Conferences where they share their ideas and experiences using C-SPAN's programs with conference attendees.

Application Requirements

    All candidates must be:

  • A member of C-SPAN Classroom
  • A state certified middle or high school teacher of U.S. History, Civics, Government or related curriculum
  • Experienced with integrating C-SPAN's programming and resources into educational curriculum
  • Available for four consecutive weeks from July 6 through July 31, 2020

The application for the Summer Educators' Conference will be available in January 2020. For additional information about the Fellowship, please visit the Teacher Opportunities page on the C-SPAN Classroom website.