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

November 2019

In this edition:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: The Quest for Relevance
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching Columbus Relaunch
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Veterans Day Requirement
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Letters from the Pacific, 1944-1945
  • Ohio's State Tests: Formative Assessment
  • Student Programs: High School Debate Winter Tournament - December 6
  • Professional Development: Middle School Content Experts PD
  • Professional Development: Council for Economic Education Webinars


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The Quest for Relevance

Module 6 of The Teacher Clarity Playbook discusses the importance of determining the relevance of learning. Relevancy addresses the motivation to learn. Students need to understand why they are learning particular content and skills.

How do we make social studies relevant to students? Consider the three-part framework above as a planning tool. Throughout the year, we will unpack these three components through professional development, collaborative conversations, and newsletters.


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Teaching Columbus Relaunch

Connecting local history to broader issues and patterns in social studies is one way to make learning relevant. As students come to understand how history happened here, they can take pride in their communities, and gain a passion for contributing to the common good in their city and beyond.

First launched as part of the Columbus Bicentennial in 2012, is the online resource center of the Teaching Columbus Public History Initiative. This project, created by and for Columbus educators, aims to provide quality resources for teachers and students to make Columbus relevant in the social studies classroom.

This month, is relaunching with new and revised instructional resources. Here are some of the keystone projects and how you can use them in the classroom:

  • Columbus in American History - This project highlights the local Columbus connections to broader national themes and patterns in American history.

  • African-American History - These collections detail the African-American experience in Columbus from the early 1800s through late 1900s.

  • Columbus Neighborhoods - This project provides segments of WOSU Columbus Neighborhoods documentaries with accompanying discussion questions.

  • Historic Places Collection - Learn more about landmarks, historic homes, buildings, maps, and markers throughout the city of Columbus and surrounding communities.

  • City Quests - This project uses historic sites to take you on an investigative journey, connecting local history with the American experience.

  • Primary Source Collections - Primary source collections include digital versions of historic documents from Columbus history.

  • History of Public Schools in Columbus - Read about the first century of public education in Columbus and the later implementation of school desegregation.

  • Landmarks Discussion Guide - This guide provides discussion points on the history and architecture of landmarks throughout the city.

Teachers can refer to these projects to find examples and case studies of historical eras and concepts from the standards. For example, if you are discussing the Progressive Era, you can study the role of the Godman Guild as a settlement house, Washington Gladden's social gospel, and the rise of labor unions in Columbus. You can also seamlessly toggle within a historical era between two of the major projects, Columbus in American History and Columbus Neighborhoods in Classroom.

New projects are on the horizon. Soon you will be able take virtual tours of the city with Google Expeditions. An online local history textbook for elementary and middle school students will launch in 2020. Stay tuned, as more of the legacy content is migrated over to the new platform, and additional resources are posted.


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Veterans Day Requirement

Ohio Revised Code 3313.602(D) requires that each school devote at least one hour or one standard class period on or around Veterans Day, November 11, to an observance that conveys the meaning and significance of the day.

Teaching resources include:


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Letters from the Pacific, 1944-1945 is a collection of World War II letters from Pfc. Fred I. Rish. The website was created by Matt Doran, CCS Social Studies Coordinator, the grandson of Pfc. Rish. This collection details Rish's experiences with the Army's 169th Infantry, 43rd Division.

This year, new learning activities have been added to the website to help teachers integrate the letters in the classroom. These activities, aligned with the C3 Framework, allow students to examine war letters as historical sources. Each activity references a few letters (with transcripts) and outside source material. Learning Activity 1 poses the compelling question: How useful are war letters as historical sources? Learning Activity 2 asks students to consider: Does wartime propaganda work?


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Formative Assessment Tools and Strategies

Formative assessment refers to methods used to conduct in-process evaluations of student understanding during a unit or lesson.

Formative assessments inform instructional practice. Use formative assessments to identify concepts and skills students have not yet mastered and to determine areas of focus.

An assessment instrument is not inherently formative. An assessment only becomes formative if/when it is used to make decisions about future teaching.

Tools such Google Forms, Edulastic, Plickers, or exit tickets allow for quick collection of data that can be used to determine areas for whole group and individual instruction.

State test blueprints and test specs can be used to develop formative questions and performance tasks.

The Social Studies Teaching & Learning Strategies web page includes Entrance and Exit Ticket activities that can be used for formative assessment.

  • 3-2-1 - This activity helps structure students’ responses to an activity, a reading or a film. It provides an easy way for teachers to check for understanding and to gauge students’ interest in a topic. (Facing History)

  • Concept of Definition Map - Students consider words in light of three properties or attributes: category - what is it? properties - what is it like? and illustrations - what are some examples? (Reading Quest)

  • Exit Slips - The Exit Slip strategy is used to help students process new concepts, reflect on information learned, and express their thoughts about new information. This strategy requires students to respond to a prompt given by the teacher. (Read, Write, Think)

  • Exit Ticket - This exit ticket template asks students to summarize concepts from class by completing a question of "how" or "why" supplied by the teacher.

  • K-W-L Chart - K-W-L is a 3-column chart (Know, Want to Know, Learned) designed to support effective pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading. (Reading Quest)

  • Wraparound (Whiparound) - This strategy provides an efficient way for all students in a classroom to share their ideas about a question, topic or text. (Facing History)


High School Debate Winter Tournament

CCS offers Policy Debate at the middle and high school levels. The middle school program is coordinated by the Gifted & Talented Department. The high school program began in 2017, under the organization of the Secondary Curriculum ELA and Social Studies Departments. Both programs are supported by Capital University's debate program and coach.

Here are the details for this year's High School Debate.

Debate Resolution - Resolved: In the United States, colleges and universities should not consider standardized tests in undergraduate admissions decisions.

Debate Type: Policy - This is a two-on-two debate that focuses on a policy question that hones a student’s research, analytical, and delivery skills. Policy debate involves the proposal of a plan by the affirmative team to enact a policy, while the negative team offers reasons to reject that proposal and stay with the status quo. Throughout the debate, students give constructive and rebuttal speeches and have the opportunity to cross-examine one another. Each Constructive speech is 8 minutes. Each Cross Examination is 3 minutes. Each Rebuttal is 5 minutes. Each team has 5 minutes of prep time that can be used during the debate. A judge or panel of judges determines the winner based on the arguments presented.

Debate Teams: Debate teams are made of two students. Those students prepare to debate both the affirmative and negative sides of the debate resolution. On the day of the debate, each two-person team will be told which side (affirmative or negative) they will be debating during each of the three rounds. Each school can bring up to five teams (10 students).

Date: Friday, December 6th from 8:30am-1pm. Team Check-ins from 8-8:30am; Tournament from 8:30am-12:30pm (three rounds: 8:30-9:44, 9:50-11:04am, and 11:10am-12:24pm); Award Ceremony from 12:45-1pm.

Location: Capital University, Ruff Learning Center, 631 Pleasant Ridge, Bexley, OH 43209

Registration and Resources: Click HERE to access the debate folder with registration form and numerous resources for preparing your students to be great debaters. Be sure to register your school NOW even if you don’t yet know the names of students on your teams. That can be added later. The deadline for having all your names added is November 25th.

Debate Resource Folder:


Middle School Content Experts PD

The Middle School Content Experts professional development program provides an opportunity for teachers to strengthen their Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

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:

  • November 19, 2019
  • January 14, 2020 (combined with HS Department Chairs)
  • March 17, 2020
  • May 19, 2020

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. 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. Finally, the session wrapped up with a game of Historical Interpretations Battleship, focused on the questions: How radical and how successful was the American Revolution?


Council for Economic Education Webinars

The Council for Economic Education offers professional development webinars for teachers nationwide. The webinars cover multiple topics on how to integrate personal finance and economics in the classroom and create a fun learning experience for your students.

There are several upcoming webinars in Economics and Personal Finance that may be of interest. See the full schedule here: