Social Studies Scoop

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

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

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January 2019

In this edition:

  • Office of Teaching & Learning: Relocation to 3700 S. High Street
  • Professional Learning: Middle School Content Experts PD
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Common Instructional Framework: Social-Emotional Learning
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Core Knowledge Curriculum for Middle Grades
  • Ohio's State Tests: 7 Best Practices: Teaching for Mastery of Ohio's State Tests
  • External Teacher PD Opportunities: Mount Vernon Summer Residential Programs
  • External Teacher PD Opportunities: Free Economics Webinars


Office of Teaching & Learning New Location

Monday, Jan. 7th, 7am

3700 South High Street

Columbus, OH

Over winter break, the Office of Teaching & Learning relocated to the newly-acquired district facility at 3700 S. High Street. This facility will allow the district to consolidate office spaces and provides ample parking and professional development space to serve the needs of CCS teachers. Please direct any school mail correspondence to this new location, and feel free to stop by to visit as the occasion arises.


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Middle School Content Experts PD 2019

Year 3 of the Middle Schools Experts begins January 15, 2019. The purpose of the Content Experts program is to provide sustained professional development in the area of Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

The Social Studies Content Experts program focuses on the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework of the National Council for the Social Studies. This year's program will provide an in-depth look at Dimensions 2 and 3 of the C3 Framework: Disciplinary Thinking and Evaluating Source & Using Evidence. Teachers will work collaboratively to develop classroom activities, implement the activities in their classrooms, and reflect on student learning.

Content Expert meetings will be held: January 15, February 12, March 12, April 9, May 7. All meetings are 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. The location will be announced to participants via email.


Curriculum & Instruction

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Common Instructional Framework: Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is Component 4 of the CCS Common Instructional Framework: Teachers embed the five Competencies of Social Emotional Learning: Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Self-Management, Decision-Making Skills, Relationship Building Skills.


  • Teachers use reflective questions and language that will allow students to self-regulate their behavior and performance.
  • Teachers provide time, space, and/or activities, and opportunities for students to deescalate and/or self-monitor behavior and emotions.
  • Teachers incorporate the use of a decision-making process for students to apply to an academic or social situation or activity to be addressed.
  • Teachers provide opportunities for students to collaborate with others.
  • Teachers address, teach, and support the development of students’ collaboration skills.

Teachers can use the Social Studies Common Instructional Framework website to access SEL resources:


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Core Knowledge Curriculum for Middle Grades

The Core Knowledge Curriculum provides free quality units of instructions on a variety of topics in history/social studies. Many of these units align well with content in Ohio's Learning Standards. Each Core Knowledge includes a student reader, activities, and a teacher guide; all documents are in PDF format.

A complete list of the available History/Geography units are available here. Although Core Knowledge assigns a specific grade-level to each unit, the units are broadly applicable students in intermediate and middle grades and can be adapted for the appropriate grade in Ohio's standards.

Create a free account to download resources.


Ohio's State Tests

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7 Best Practices: Teaching for Mastery of Ohio's State Tests

Teacher Clarity/Learning Targets

  1. Implement a laser-like focus on the learning targets. Unpacking learning targets is not the same thing as covering topics. Learning targets have a specific outcome that students need to master at a defined level. Focus on the key concepts needed to master these targets (underpinning targets) and eliminate extraneous information that is not necessary. Use the district’s Clear Learning Targets and “I Can Checklists” to guide instruction:

    Rigor and Depth of Knowledge

  2. Design learning activities that go beyond the cognitive rigor required for state tests. Cognitive rigor includes both the type of thinking required (Bloom’s Taxonomy) and depth of understanding (see Webb’s DOK:

    Student Engagement

  3. Utilize strategies that maximize student engagement. Engaging strategies may include review games, learning stations, technology interactives, simulations, and artistic/creative representations. Incorporate a variety of activities in a given class period. Limit the amount of lecturing, textbook reading, and notetaking to short intervals.

    Source Analysis

  4. Incorporate primary and secondary source analysis. Use short excerpts from sources to create evidence-based text sets (similar to DBQs). Have students respond to text-dependent questions, identify or create thesis statements from the texts, and cite supporting evidence. The Teaching American History Documents Library ( and Digital History ( have extensive collections of sources, organized by era/topic.

    Formative Assessment

  5. Use formative assessments to determine areas of focus. Formative assessments could include quizzes in Google Forms or Edulastic, review games with clickers or plickers, and exit tickets. These tools allow for quick collection of data that can be used to determine areas for whole group and individual instruction. Use the Teachers Guides to the State Tests to develop formative questions and tasks (available here:


  6. Differentiate based on student needs. It is important for all students to demonstrate growth. Some students will need remediation on particular topics; others will need acceleration. Use data from formative assessments to individualize instruction. Differentiation may also include use of graphic organizers, leveled texts, tiered assignments, and choice boards.

    Technology-Enhanced Assessment

  7. Practice technology-enhanced questions. In addition to multiple-choice and written response questions, state tests include technology-enhanced items. These items may require students to indicate multiple correct answers in a table, chart or map, or move boxes to the correct blanks on a graphic organizer. Assessment items in use similar technology to the state tests.


External Teacher PD Opportunities

Mount Vernon Summer Residential Programs

The George Washington Teacher Institute Summer Residential Programs are 5-day immersive professional development experiences designed to support K-12 educators who teach about the life, leadership, and legacy of George Washington and the 18th-century world in which he lived.

The application period for Summer 2019 programs closes January 14, 2019. Click here to apply.


Free Economics Webinars from the Council for Economic Education

The Council for Economic Education offers free 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 still many webinars remaining for this winter and spring. A full schedule is available here.


Matthew I. Doran

Secondary Social Studies Specialist

Office of Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Division

3700 S. High Street

Suite 125