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

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

October 2021

In this edition:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: TCI Implementation Home Base
  • Curriculum and Instruction: TCI Strategy of the Month
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Preparing for Ohio's State Tests
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Canvas Course Pilot for Social Studies Academic Electives
  • Professional Development: Teaching with TCI Tuesdays
  • Professional Development: The Social Studies Connection on Canvas
  • Professional Development: External PD Opportunities
  • Student Programs: Kids Voting Election 2021
  • Student Programs: Civic Action Project Support


TCI Implementation Home Base

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.


TCI Strategy of the Month: Social Studies Skill Builder

Each month we will focus on one of the six TCI active learning strategies. The October strategy is Social Studies Skill Builder, a frequently-used strategy in first quarter lessons.

Social Studies Skill Builder turns the traditional, rote tasks usually associated with skill-based worksheets into more dynamic, interactive activities. Students work in pairs on tasks such as mapping, graphing, identifying perspective, and interpreting political cartoons.

The five steps for using social studies skills builders are:

1. Use engaging tasks to teach social studies skills.
  • Use stimulating resources that lend themselves to multiple-ability tasks.
  • Challenge students to use multiple intelligences during the activity.
  • Spiral from the basic to the complex to give students deep historical insights.

2. Teach the skill through modeling and guided practice.
  • Explain the steps students are to follow.
  • Demonstrate the skill with the class.
  • Assign a task to prepare students for independent practice.
  • Provide actionable feedback for students.

3. Prepare students to work in pairs.

  • Carefully establish mixed-ability pairs.
  • Before class, prepare a slide that shows who will sit where.
  • Conduct a quick team-builder to warm up students for working together.

4. Set clear expectations, allow students to practice the skill repeatedly, and give immediate feedback.
  • Clearly state what you expect from students.
  • Check student work and award points as students progress through an activity.

5. Debrief the lesson to help students make connections to key social studies concepts.
  • Ask students to consider as a whole all the questions and sources they have explored.
  • Arrange the ideas and concepts in some type of significant order—along a continuum, chronologically, in categories, or according to geographic relationships.
To find the Social Studies Skills Builders in your TCI program, click on the Content tab on the left menu. Under the Modify View button, be sure the Teaching Strategy box is checked.
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Social Studies Skill Builder


Preparing for Ohio's State Tests

Ohio has established new graduation requirements for students in the class of 2023 and beyond. These requirements do not eliminate social studies state tests in American History and American Government.

In addition to meeting course requirements, and Algebra and English competency (or military enlistment or college credits), students in the class of 2023 and beyond must earn two diploma seals. At least one of the two must be Ohio-designed. The Citizenship Seal is one of the state seals. To earn the Citizenship Seal, a student can:

  1. Earn a score of proficient or higher on both the American history and American government state tests.
  2. Earn a score that is at least equivalent to proficient on appropriate Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams; or
  3. Earn a final course grade that is equivalent to a “B” or higher in appropriate classes taken through the College Credit Plus program.

The Spring 2021 OST was the first to be aligned with the 2018 revision of Ohio's Learning Standards for Social Studies. The core curriculum documents reflect these changes in the standards. The updated review documents below provide additional support materials for the revised standards/tests.

American History

  • American Released Test Items - Spring 2021 - Note: These items are also available in the Columbus City Schools Item Bank in Mastery Connect.

  • American History Test Specs - Test Blueprint, Description of Stimulus and Item Types, Item Format and Interaction Types, Depth of Knowledge, Specific Guidelines for Item Development, and Sample Items

  • American History Quick Review - 1-page (front/back) review guide with bullet points of key vocabulary and concepts to know

  • American History Student Review Guide (Google Docs) - Unit-by-unit summaries of learning targets with review questions and practice assessments can be completed online in Google Docs. Select "File">"Make a copy..." for each document; please do not request edit access to the original template.

American Government

  • American Government Test Specs - Test Blueprint, Description of Stimulus and Item Types, Item Format and Interaction Types, Depth of Knowledge, Specific Guidelines for Item Development, and Sample Items


Canvas Course Pilot for Social Studies Academic Electives

There is still time participate in the Canvas course pilots for Social Studies Academic Elective Courses. 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.

Note that this is not a curriculum development project, but rather an opportunity to pilot/field test materials that were already developed over the summer. This is not related to the Canvas curriculum writing project managed by the Learning Technology Department, as published in the Core Report.

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



Teaching with TCI Tuesdays

Teaching with TCI Tuesday webinars are brief 20-minute sessions at 2:40 p.m. There is no registration; just go to the Zoom link here at 2:40. The sessions are recorded and posted to the CCS TCI Homebase.
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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).


External Virtual PD Opportunities

Current Events in Your Classroom: Fostering Dialogue in Divisive Times (Facing History)

In this webinar, we will share tips, strategies, and tools you can use in your classroom to help engage students in productive and meaningful discussions about current world issues such as global migration, democracy, hate, intolerance, reconciliation, and many others.

October 5, 2021, 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM Eastern Time


Real World ECON with Dr. Betsey Stevenson (Council for Economic Education)

Join us on October 6th as we celebrate Economic Education Month with noted economist, Dr. Betsey Stevenson, who will share with us how economics permeates each day of our life, often in unexpected ways. This virtual presentation will help you discover economics in the real world and learn how every decision we make is an economic one.

October 6, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time


Ideas of Race and Racism in History (OSU Department of History)

The issues of race and racism remain as urgent as ever to our national conversation. Come be part of a conversation as four scholars discuss such questions as: Since Race does not exist as a biological reality, what then is race and where did the idea develop from? What is racism? How have race and racism been used by societies to justify discrimination, oppression, and social exclusion? How did racism manifest in different national and historical contexts? How have American and World history in the modern eras been defined by ideas of race and the power hierarchies embedded in racism?

Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Nicholas Breyfogle | Associate Professor, Department of History; Director, Goldberg Center
Alice Conklin | Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, Department of History
Robin Judd | Associate Professor, Department of History
Hasan Jeffries | Associate Professor, Department of History
Deondre Smiles | Ph.D. Geography '20; Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Victoria, Canada

This event is free and open to the public.


Talk to the Authors of Real Classrooms Real Teachers (National Council for History Education)

History and social studies standards are shifting to place a higher emphasis on critical thinking, interaction, expression, and inquiry models of teaching and learning. These shifts, while exciting, can be challenging and even intimidating to implement. In this book, we take a close look at how real teachers in real 3-8 classrooms have met this challenge. During this webinar, participants will have the opportunity to engage with authors who have implemented each Dimension of the Inquiry Arc in classrooms and participate in Q and A.

October 14, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time


Breaking Down Bias: Championing Equitable and Inclusive Classrooms (ADL)

This course takes you on an anti-bias learning journey which you will find is a lifelong process. For some, this will be the beginning, filled with new language, unfamiliar ideas and, at times, uncomfortable revelations. The course takes place over four weeks starting Thursday, October 14th, and ending Wednesday, November 10th, 2021. New modules begin weekly on a Thursday and end on the following Wednesday.

Time commitment: 18 hours total

4 hours/week of asynchronous (self-paced) learning.

Two (1-hour) live webinars scheduled for Monday, October 18th and Thursday, November 4th, 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern Time


Fault Lines: Polarization and Partisanship in America since the 1970s (National Council for History Education)

Professor Kruse is the co-author of Fault Lines: A History of the United States since 1974. A sweeping history of the past four decades of American history, the book chronicles the origins of the divided states of America, a nation increasingly riven by stark political partisanship and deep social divisions along lines of race, class, gender and sexuality. In this webinar, he will discuss the broad themes of the book and the challenges of teaching post-1974 US History.

October 21, 2021

7:30 PM Eastern Time



Kids Voting Double Click Democracy Election

Kids Voting Ohio will sponsor the 2021 Double Click Democracy mock election. All CCS schools will have the opportunity for students to participate in this election this month. Library Media Specialists will receive access codes and log-in directions for the election later this month.

To prepare students for the election, Kids Voting Ohio has prepared mock election packets. Download the documents here:

The November 2021 election consists of a special election to fill the seat representing Ohio's 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House along with local races for Columbus Board of Education and Columbus City Council.

Check out the lesson, Why Local Elections Matter (Learning for Justice) to have students explore the ways that decisions by local government affect their lives.


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.