Social Studies Insider

December 2019

Social Studies Go-To Teachers

During this season of giving, give back by opening up your classroom. I would like to expand my list of Go-To teachers that are willing to help provide sample lessons, model teach student-centered lessons, and provide feedback about the specific needs within the social studies classroom. Please click on the link below if you are interested.

District Collaboration and Social Studies Updates

Continue to check Google Classroom for news and updates. In addition, feel free to share resources, ideas, photos, and lesson victories when possible. I appreciate all teachers who have joined, contributed, and communicated via the Social Studies Google Classrooms. Please continue to use the google classroom to seek answers to various content-based questions/concerns, gather and share content based resources, and receive updated news on various social studies initiatives.
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Interested in Co-Teaching? Need Help Planning?

In an effort to better support you, I'd love the opportunity to join you in your classroom and/or during your planning. Please feel free to request a classroom visit. I am here to help in any way possible. If interested, please complete the form below by clicking on the button or emailing me directly at phillip.sykes@cowetaschools.net.

Seeking the Latest and Greatest in Online Tools

Please continue to share online resources you are using within your class lessons. If you click on the button below, you will be directed to the growing list of digital resources I have put together to help make lesson planning a little easier. Anytime you use one of the resources, please feel free to send me feedback! To assist with navigating the resources, recent additions will be listed at the end of the list. As a suggestion, always start at the bottom of this list and scroll to the top.

Want to be an INSTAGRAM Star?

Are you interested in showcasing the awesome things you do inside your social studies classroom? Are you a lover of Instagram? Consider applying to "take over" the Georgia Department of Education Social Studies Instagram account for a week. This opportunity will allow teachers to highlight the amazing things they do within their classrooms. Applications for the 2019-2020 gadoesocialstudies Instagram teacher takeover are currently being accepted. Visit the web page to see amazing #GAsocialstudies educators and students across the state. Click here to apply to takeover our account during 2019-2020.​
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GCSS Social Studies Conference Redelivery Presentation

I'd like to thank Rachael Boyd, Nessa McClure, and Jeff Welch for attending the GCSS Social Studies Conference in Athens. The following presentation as created to help redeliver the resources showcased at this year's conference. Please feel free to view and/or utilize any resource within the presentation. If you have specific questions about an activity or resource, do not hesitate to reach out to Rachael, Nessa, Jeff, or me.

Atlanta History Center Presents: Traveling Trunks

Travel trunks are available for monthly rental ($100/month), and are designed to assist teachers in highlighting various chapters in our nation’s history. Each trunk includes a teacher’s guide and a selection of hands-on materials. Title I schools receive a 50% discount on traveling trunks during the 2019–2020 school year. Please request traveling trunks at least 3 weeks in advance of the pick-up date.


Arnco-Sargent Elementary's 5th-grade social studies teacher, Mrs. Shelly Bogan, recently checked out one of these awesome resources. Here is her review in hopes of encouraging other teachers to take advantage of these historically accurate, relevant, and hands-on learning resources.


  • "The Atlanta History Center Museum offers a monthly rental of Traveling Trunks of various historical eras. The trunks contain clothing, artifacts, books, videos, and primary sources that relate to certain eras in history. I rented the World War I trunk in October for my class to use for small group centers. The trunk contained a soldier’s helmet, satchel, and a gas mask, clothing worn by Flappers, a Red Cross nurse’s uniform, wonderful historical picture books, and videos. The museum also includes a teacher’s guide for how to use the items in small groups and reproducible handouts. The kids LOVED being able to actually touch the items and see artifacts from the era. I kept the trunk (a very large rolling suitcase) in the room which caused them to wonder what they were going to see next. The trunks cost $100 for the month, but only $50 for Title I schools. A great way to share the cost of the trunks is to share with another school. If you are interested, contact the Outreach Coordinator, Emily Cobb at (404) 814-4017. I am also renting trunks for World War II, The Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. I have heard that Kennesaw State College has a similar program for social studies and The Atlanta Zoo offers trunks about science topics. The kids have really enjoyed the first-hand experience, and I highly recommend renting one for your school!"
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Revving Review Follow Up: 5th, 8th, & US History

Last year, 5th and 8th-grade teachers participated in a workshop focusing on "revving up" review. This year, US History teachers participated and have begun implementing the highly engaging and student-centered review strategies into their weekly lessons. I'd like to remind everyone that it is never too early to begin Milestones Preparation. Please utilize the resources provided at these workshop sessions often and regularly. Feel free to tag me in a tweet or email me any photos of your students working with S3Strategies' activities. If you are looking for access to the files that hold grade-specific activities, please email me and I will send you the file.


US History Teachers: Please continue to log your use weekly using the form sent via email. I appreciate your help and look forward to seeing how these strategies impact student performance.

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Don't Miss this Webinar!

Activities to Strengthen Students' Interdisciplinary Social Studies Thinking, Literacy, and Argumentation Skills:


In this webinar, we will explore four classroom-ready activities that can be utilized by middle school social studies teachers to strengthen their students' economic, geographical, civic, and historical thinking, literacy, and argumentation skills. The steps and resources for these four activities are provided. The graphic organizers, analysis prompts, and writing prompts used may be adapted by audience members to be implemented with other social studies topics. By using activities like the four discussed in this webinar, middle school social studies teachers help to build their students' interdisciplinary social studies thinking, literacy, and argumentation skills simultaneously because social studies disciplines do not work in isolation from each other. The types of activities discussed in this webinar allow middle school students to explore the layers and nuances of an issue, event, or historical figure while being able to also see the ripple effects that people's actions can have on all aspects of society.

Looking to Add Literary Elements within your History Class?

Give Google Lit Trip a try! What's Google Lit Trip, you ask?

Lit Trips are downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. Along the way, placemarks with pop-up windows contain "just in time" resources including relevant media, thought-provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about "real world" references in that portion of the story. Our focus is on creating engaging and relevant literary experiences for students.


Click on the button below to explore.

Spotlighting Excellence:

Scott Smith, 4th Grade, Glanton Elementary:

Scott Smith is a 4th grade Science/Social Studies Teacher at Glanton Elementary. In addition to his teaching duties, Mr. Smith coaches tennis for Glanton and East Coweta High School and tutors for Glanton's after school tutoring program.


Not only does Mr. Smith teach science and social studies, but he also integrates reading and writing into his lessons daily. Mr. Smith uses Read Works, RAZ Kids, and Common Lit to ensure his students are being challenged at their Lexile level as they are learning the content. Mr. Smith integrates the ELA writing graphic organizers and rubrics into his class and collaborates frequently with the 4th grade ELA teacher to ensure he is reinforcing the appropriate skills with students. Glanton is grateful to have Mr. Smith as one of its teachers as we work to grow greatness with our students!

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Rebecca Sandlin, 7th Grade, Madras Middle:

Mrs. Rebecca Sandlin is currently in her 16th year as an educator and her 13th year as a teacher at Madras Middle School. Throughout her teaching career, she has taught ELA, Math, & World Geography. She proudly serves as the 7th grade Social Studies lead teacher and has worked diligently to provide leadership to her 7th grade Social Studies teammates. In addition to providing support and leadership to her teammates, Mrs. Sandlin serves as the proud sponsor of the Girls of Faith organization. As the Girls of Faith Sponsor Mrs. Sandlin has helped numerous middle school girls to become leaders through community outreach and helping them discover their significance in life. Mrs. Sandlin is also an integral part of the school’s PBIS team. Outside of work, Mrs. Sandlin enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering in the community.

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Katie Hammon, AP U.S. History, Newnan High School:

Katie Hammond graduated from Newnan High School in 2005 and went on to Mercer where she received her BA in History an M.Ed in Secondary Education as was named the Outstanding History Major.


Katie has been teaching US History for the past 10 years, her first four at Tucker High School in Dekalb County and the last six at Newnan High School. She has been teaching AP US History for all of those six years and has been recognized for being an outstanding AP US History teacher by her peers (named Teacher of the Year), the College Board (grades AP tests) and by her students. (Pass rate in the 90s for the past five years, last year 100% pass rate.) She also teachers General and Advanced levels of US History and has become the leader of the US History Teachers at Newnan High School.

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Attention Elementary Teachers:

Monthly Curriculum Meeting:

There will not be a meeting this month. Our next meeting will be held on January 21, 2020, at Werz. More info will be emailed shortly.


Kid Lit TV- Bringing Literature into the Social Studies Classroom

Kid Lit Tv provides teachers with a number of ways to bring nonfiction literature into the Social Studies and/or ELA classroom. The content can be aligned to your standards and will be certain to engage your students. Click Here to access.


Integrating Social Studies into your ELA/Reading Lessons Made Easy

Located within the GA DOE Teacher Notes, teachers can find a list of standards connected books that can easily be integrated into your ELA/Reading lessons.

For Kindergarten access, Click Here.

For 1st Grade access, Click Here.

For 2nd Grade access, Click Here.

For 3rd Grade access, Click Here.

For 4th Grade access, Click Here.

For 5th Grade access, Click Here.


Mission US (Most appropriate for 4-5th Grades)

Make your social studies lessons revolutionary with simulator-based historical games by Mission US. Click the link to view the game trailer. To view all versions of the game, click here.


Mid Year Benchmarks Grades 3-5:

Please view the chart below for the Mid Year Social Studies Benchmark window. These assessments will be given within the GCA platform. If you are interested in going through your data with me, please feel free to contact me and/or set up a planing session.

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Attention Middle School Teachers:

Monthly Social Studies Meeting:

There will not be a meeting this month. Our next meeting will be held on January 29, 2020, at Werz. More info will be emailed shortly.


Attention 8th Grade Teachers:

Looking for an interesting resource to supplement your Civil Rights unit? Check out WABE (Public Broadcasting/NPR's) new podcast series Buried Truth. Season 1 surrounds events involving the infamous Eugine Talmadge. As always, preview content to ensure it's completely suitable for your student audience.

Click the link to access audio links.

8th Grade Lesson Plans


8th Grade Georgia Studies Economics Review App Now Available

GCEE has released its 8th Grade Economics review app. Please begin using it within your review sessions and encourage your students to download the free app. This will serve as an additional tool to help prepare our students for the Milestones. The app can be obtained within the Apple and Google Play Stores.


GCSS Reading List:

Click on the following link to access a reading list connected to various social studies themes and topics. Click Here


8th Grade Georgia Studies and Civics Teachers:

Have you played Fiscal Ship yet? Are you looking to provide your students with a hands-on experience in developing a balanced fiscal budget? The Fiscal Ship challenges you to put the federal budget on a sustainable course. Measured as a share of gross domestic product, the federal debt is higher than at any time since the end of World War II and projected to climb to unprecedented levels. America is looking at a permanent, growing mismatch between revenues and spending, and policymakers are faced with difficult decisions about how to reconcile important government priorities—including retirement and health benefits promised to the growing number of old folks—with the tax revenues that the current tax code will yield. Today’s tax code won’t yield enough revenue to pay for basic services of government plus the retirement and health benefits promised to the growing number of old folks. So your mission is to pick from a menu of tax and spending options to reduce the debt from projected levels over the next 25 years. Small changes to spending and taxes won’t suffice. The choices are difficult, but the goal is achievable. But budget decisions aren’t only about fiscal sustainability. They also shape the kind of country we live in. To win the game, you need to find a combination of policies that match your values and priorities AND set the budget on a sustainable course. Click here to access.


Mid Year Benchmarks Grades 6-8:

Please view the chart below for the Mid Year Social Studies Benchmark window. These assessments will be given within the GCA platform. If you are interested in going through your data with me, please feel free to contact me and/or set up a planning session.

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Attention High School Teachers:

11th Grade Teachers:

Looking for an interesting resource to supplement your Civil Rights unit? Check out WABE (Public Broadcasting/NPR's) new podcast series Buried Truth. Season 1 surrounds events involving the infamous Eugine Talmadge. As always, preview content to ensure it's completely suitable for your student audience.

Click the link to access audio links.

11th Grade Lesson Plans


Econ Teachers:

General Economics and AP Economics review apps are now available in the Apple and Google Play Stores. These apps were created by GCEE and will provide students with a great review resource for general Economics and AP Economics course assessments. The current bank of questions holds nearly 400 questions and is constantly working to add additional questions. Encourage your students to download and use these apps today!


Government and Economics Teachers:

Have you played Fiscal Ship yet? Are you looking to provide your students with a hands-on experience in developing a balanced fiscal budget? The Fiscal Ship challenges you to put the federal budget on a sustainable course. Measured as a share of gross domestic product, the federal debt is higher than at any time since the end of World War II and projected to climb to unprecedented levels. America is looking at a permanent, growing mismatch between revenues and spending, and policymakers are faced with difficult decisions about how to reconcile important government priorities—including retirement and health benefits promised to the growing number of old folks—with the tax revenues that the current tax code will yield. Today’s tax code won’t yield enough revenue to pay for basic services of government plus the retirement and health benefits promised to the growing number of old folks. So your mission is to pick from a menu of tax and spending options to reduce the debt from projected levels over the next 25 years. Small changes to spending and taxes won’t suffice. The choices are difficult, but the goal is achievable. But budget decisions aren’t only about fiscal sustainability. They also shape the kind of country we live in. To win the game, you need to find a combination of policies that match your values and priorities AND set the budget on a sustainable course. Click here to access.


Social Studies Civic Engagement Diploma Seal

Continue to advertise this opportunity to your students. As you finalize your review of capstone projects. Please keep me posted with the expected number of graduates receiving the diploma seal.

Network Connectors

Looking to connect with others in the Social Studies field? Utilize the links below to connect with various organizations that may provide expertise and resources to better your professional networks.


Connect with Georgia's virtual learning community for Social Studies

Georgia Council for the Social Studies

Georgia Council on Economic Education

Georgia Historical Society

Georgia WWI Commission

National Council for History Education

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society

Professional Learning for All

GCEE Workshop- Assessing Student Knowledge in Economics (Grades 4-12)

Tuesday, Jan. 14th 2020 at 9pm

167 Werz Industrial Boulevard

Newnan, GA

A key element of teaching economics is understanding what students know and can do with the content. This workshop features segments about writing effective test items, designing rubrics and delivering meaningful feedback as well as other important assessment practices. The workshop will primarily focus on the Economics standards at each grade level. Teachers analyze, evaluate, and create assessments in the workshop that can be used immediately in their classroom


Want to Register? Click Here

Elementary Curriculum Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 21st 2020 at 3-4pm

Werz Industrial Boulevard

Newnan, GA

We will be meeting in SD1.

Monthly Middle School Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 29th 2020 at 4-5pm

Werz Industrial Boulevard

Newnan, GA

We will be meeting in SD1. Heather McMillan will be leading our meeting and discussing several initiatives she has implemented within her classroom this year that has helped track and monitor student progress.

GCEE- Workshop 4th and 5th Grade Literature in Economics

Thursday, March 26th 2020 at 9pm

167 Werz Industrial Boulevard

Newnan, GA

This workshop uses four unique children’s books to help fourth and fifth grade teachers incorporate effective literacy strategies into creative and engaging STEM, language arts, and social studies lessons. All four books are provided to teachers along with the lessons that are demonstrated at the workshop. There is no registration fee for this workshop, instructional materials are provided, substitute reimbursement is available, and lunch is provided.


Want to Register? Click Here.

Network Connectors

Looking to connect with others in the Social Studies field? Utilize the links below to connect with various organizations that may provide expertise and resources to better your professional networks.



Connect with Georgia's virtual learning community for Social Studies

Georgia Council for the Social Studies

Georgia Council on Economic Education

Georgia Historical Society

Georgia WWI Commission

National Council for History Education

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society

Comments, Concerns, Questions?

Please contact Phil Sykes, Social Studies Content Specialist, with any questions comments, or concerns.