The Social Studies Connection

A Newsletter for Secondary Social Studies Teachers in CCS

Preparing students for success in college, career, and civic life

If you missed last month's edition of the Social Studies Connection, click here.

Matthew I. Doran

Secondary Social Studies Specialist

Office of Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Division

Southland Center

March 2021


In this edition:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Preparing for Ohio's State Tests
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Women's History Month Resources
  • Curriculum and Instruction: High School Social Studies Academic Electives for 2021-2022
  • Curriculum and Instruction: DBQ Online for Hybrid Learning
  • Hybrid Learning Resources: Newsela Home Base
  • Hybrid Learning Resources: Google Drawings Graphic Organizers
  • Hybrid Learning Resources: Social Studies Virtual Learning Padlet of Padlets
  • Professional Development: February PD Day Recordings
  • Professional Development: Virtual PD Calendar with March Updates


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Preparing for Ohio's State Tests

As of March 1, 2021 Ohio's State Tests in Social Studies are still scheduled for the spring administration. Since social studies tests are not required by federal law, the decision regarding social studies tests rests with the Ohio General Assembly and Governor. We will keep you posted if this decision changes.


Notable Standards Changes and Revised Resources

The spring 2021 tests are the first tests aligned with Ohio's Social Studies Standards, as revised in 2018. The CCS curriculum documents reflect these standards changes. Some notable changes in the standards and test specs are listed below.


American History


  • Broadly, test items will assess general knowledge associated with the listed topics, not specific details, dates or individuals. Focus will be on three key questions: 1. What was it? 2. What caused/led to/created it? 3. What short/long term impact did it have?

  • The founding documents standards emphasize the impact, instead of the origins, of the founding documents. Test items will not assess factors related to the Articles of Confederation as influences on the Constitution. Also, test items will not require students to identify specific historical precedents of provisions of the Bill of Rights. Items will, however, assess how the Bill of Rights reflects Anti-Federalists' concerns regarding the lack of protections of individual liberties in the Constitution.

  • A new standard on westward migration (Content Statement 11) includes more detail and specificity on how continued settlement by Americans in the West intensified conflict with American Indians and reinforced the policy of the reservation system. This includes four specific consequences of these conflicts, and five specific examples of governmental policies.



American Government


  • Test items will not require the recall of provisions of an amendment by number, except the First Amendment.

  • With respect to the basic principles which help define the government of the United States, test items will typically provide excerpts or scenarios to give necessary context. They will not assess prior knowledge of any contextual documents that may be presented, and will be written with the awareness of the possible overlap between concepts and avoid asking specifics about historical circumstances.

  • The processes of persuasion, compromise, consensus building, and negotiation are no longer treated as mutually exclusive concepts in Content Statement 4.

  • On the Ohio Constitution(s), the emphasis is on the changes made in the 1851 Constitution, but not specific reasons for changes to related to particular provisions of the original constitution (Content Statement 16).

  • Download the complete revised test specs document for American Government here.

  • Download the revised state Practice Test for American Government here.

  • Download the revised Quick Review Guide for American Government here.


Women's History Month Resources

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.

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High School Social Studies Academic Electives for 2021-2022

We are excited to offer four new social studies courses to meet the Academic Elective requirement beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. All of these courses will be 1 semester classes for .5 credit.


  • Civic Reasoning aims to sharpen students’ civic participation and skills through four areas of focus: critical thinking, digital citizenship, civil discourse, and civic action. Students will learn the basics of logical and ethical reasoning, how to evaluate the credibility of printed and digital information, and how to participate constructively in political/civic life. Aligned with the Inquiry Arc of the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework, students will: 1) develop questions and plan inquiries; 2) apply disciplinary tools and concepts; 3) evaluate sources and use evidence; and 4) communicate conclusions and take informed action.


  • Cultural Studies provides students with a study of historical and contemporary global cultures, and examines the multicultural diversity of the United States. This course uses an interdisciplinary approach, weaving together human geography, anthropology, sociology, and world history. Students will examine a variety of sources including artifacts, ethnographies, data sets, and secondary readings. Students will learn to value and respect diverse cultures and points of view, and appreciate how gender, race, ethnicity, and identity contribute to human experiences.


  • Latin American Studies provides an overview of the history of Latin America and examines the historical and contemporary experiences of Latinx immigrants and their descendants in the United States. Topics of study include indigenous histories and cultures; colonialism; migration; labor markets; identity, race and ethnicity; education and the politics of language; political activism; and media representations and popular culture. Students will learn to value and respect diverse cultures and points of view, and appreciate how gender, race, ethnicity, and identity contribute to human experiences.


  • Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary examination of the contributions, ideas, experiences, and roles of women in history and contemporary society. Organized thematically, this course examines the position of women and the role of gender in institutions, including economy, education, family, government, and science. Students will learn how women have played active roles in shaping society, and consider how history looks different from the perspectives of women of all races and classes. Students will learn to value and respect diverse cultures and points of view, and appreciate how gender, race, ethnicity, and identity contribute to human experiences.


These new courses will supplement our existing courses in African American Studies (X and Y), Global Issues (X and Y), Economics, Psychology, and Sociology.


Course numbers will be provided as soon the Infinite Campus team has added the courses to the deck. From there, schools will use the CCS DAS course request to add a specific course to their school deck.


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DBQ Online for Hybrid Learning

The DBQ Online platform is available for all middle and high school teachers this school year. This platform and the accompanying DBQ pedagogy are well-designed for hybrid classrooms. Here is one approach to using DBQ Online and the DBQ Project 6-Step Method with the cohort model of hybrid learning in a two-week segment.


Stagger the start dates of the DBQ so that both Cohorts A and B begin the DBQ unit on their in-person learning days (Mondays and Tuesday for Cohort A and Thursdays and Fridays for Cohort B)


In-Person - Day 1

  • Discuss with students how to access DBQ Online through Clever and enroll in your class.
  • As a class, discuss the Hook Exercise (Step 1) to begin the unit. This activity engages students and orients them to the question.
  • Read the Background Essay (Step 2) as a class. This essay further orients students to the question and provides essential context that helps make sense of the documents. Have students highlight key ideas and complete the Background Essay Questions.


In-Person - Day 2

  • Review the Background Essay Questions and discuss the key ideas from the Background Essay.
  • Use the Pre-bucketing strategy (Step 3) to help students plan so they can target their investigation of the documents. Clarifying the question motivates students to start reading their sources to find answers.
  • Assign the Document Analysis questions (Step 4) and Bucketing - Getting to Ready to Write sections (Step 5) for the asynchronous learning days.


Asynchronous - Days 3-5

  • Students complete the Document Analysis questions (Step 4). Teacher provides feedback and support as needed to guide and redirect for the Bucketing - Getting to Ready to Write activity (Step 5).


In-Person - Days 6-7

  • Review the Bucketing - Getting Ready to Write as a class (Step 5).
  • Conduct a class Thrash-Out (Step 6A). Students prepare to write by debating or “thrashing-out” their answer to the question. Students practice using evidence from the documents to support and verbally validate their claims. They use what they learn to outline their essays.


Asynchronous - Days 8-10

  • Students write multi-paragraph, evidence-based essays using their documents, buckets, and outlines to support and explain their reasoning (Step 6B). Teacher provides feedback and support as needed for the final essay.


Teachers and students access DBQ Online through CCS Clever. For additional help in getting started, see the CCS DBQ Online Homebase page.


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Hybrid Learning Resources

As we transition from virtual learning to hybrid learning, the online resources below can be used for asynchronous learning days.

Newsela Home Base

CCS has Newsela subscriptions for social studies for all middle and high schools this year. We have developed a CCS-specific Newsela Home Base with log-in information, tutorials, and curriculum alignment. Access the Newsela Home Base here.


Custom text sets for Quarter 4 will be added to the Home Base throughout the month.

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Google Drawings Graphic Organizers

Google Drawings is great tool for having students complete online graphic organizers. From the links below, teachers can click on the "Use Template" button and make a copy of each organizer. In Google Classroom, teachers can link a drawing in an assignment as "Each student gets a copy." Students will then be able to double-click in each of the editable boxes and submit their work.


This collection of over 30 graphic organizers was created by CCS Social Studies to align with many of the suggested organizers in the curriculum. Click on the link below to access.

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Social Studies Virtual Learning Padlet of Padlets

Check on the master padlet below for links to additional social studies virtual learning resources. These include curated collections of reading and resources collections, video tutorials, and interactive social studies apps.

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Professional Development

February 3 District PD Day Recordings

Resources from the February 3 PD Day are now available on the Rise Up! PD Day website.


Digging Deeper with Visible Learning for Social Studies: Focus on Transfer Video Recordings


Social Studies Best Practices and Resources Smackdown Spreadsheet


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Virtual PD Calendar with 2021 Updates

Many national social studies organizations, museums, and other PD providers are offering webinars throughout the coming months. To avoid spam forwards or endless newsletters, these opportunities are organized in a custom Google calendar. Most of these are free webinars; some select virtual conferences have a cost.


New opportunities have been added to the calendar for March 2021. Additional webinars are added each week.


You can access this calendar from the link here. A calendar link is also available on the Social Studies homepage under the Featured Resources column on the right side of the page. Be sure to check the calendar regularly as it updated at least once a week.