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

September 2020 - Special Edition: Fall Virtual Learning in Social Studies

In this edition:

  • Professional Development: Social Studies Virtual Learning PD, August 25
  • Virtual Learning: Getting Started
  • Virtual Learning: Newsela Text Sets Integration
  • Virtual Learning: Google Classroom
  • Virtual Learning: Google Drawings Graphic Organizers
  • Virtual Learning: Google Slides Choice Templates
  • Virtual Learning: Social Studies Virtual Learning Padlet of Padlets


Professional Development - Rise Up CCS Summer Institute

Social Studies Virtual Learning Professional Development, August 25, 2020

A.M. Session: 8:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Welcome and Introduction
  • Best Practices for Virtual Learning
  • Newsela Text Sets Integration

P.M. Session: 12:30 - 3:00 p.m.

  • Interactive Social Studies Tools (Middle School - On-Demand; links provided)
  • DBQ Online (High School)

Sessions will be held in the WebEx room linked here.

The password is: socialstudies

Note: The Curriculum Division sessions for August 25 are not listed on the Rise Up Summer Institute registration page. The sessions listed on August 25 are primarily for non-teaching staff. No registration is required for the Curriculum Division sessions.


Virtual Learning Strategies and Resources

Planning for Virtual Learning: Getting Started

Here are some quick steps to begin planning this week:

  1. Using the new Curriculum documents on the Social Studies website, read through the Year-at-a-Glance, Scope and Sequence, and the Curriculum and Instruction Guide (for Grading Period 1). From the Instructional Strategies and Instructional Resources sections, identify strategies and tools that can be adapted for virtual learning (synchronous or asynchronous). Take note of the Google Drawings (see below) that provided editable graphic organizers for many of the organizers recommended in the curriculum.

  2. Review the Social Studies Course Sites for additional material that may used for virtual learning. The specific resources vary from course to course. Some courses have digital versions of the textbooks or ancillary materials, adapted reading materials, and model lessons.

  3. Use the Newsela collections (access via Clever) to identify relevant primary and secondary source articles. See the custom text sets for each course below.

Additional Notes:

Unlike the spring 2020 virtual learning plan, there is no "required platform" for social studies this fall. We have identified a range of resources that we believe are useful for planning instruction.

Additionally, the guiding documents for pacing are located inside the curriculum documents linked above. These include the Year-at-Glance and Scope and Sequence. These documents provide a broad scope for each unit to allow for individual professional judgment and student formative assessment data to drive the specific weekly/daily learning targets. We do not provide Quarterly Standards Grids with week-by-week standards for secondary social studies.


Newsela Text Sets Integration

CCS is providing Newsela (pronounced news-ella) subscriptions for 6-12 social studies classes for 2020-2021, with access through CCS Clever.

Newsela includes an extensive database of thousands of primary and secondary sources, all of which are adapted for five Lexile levels. Each article also includes text-dependent questions aligned with literacy standards, and an editable writing prompt where you can additional open- ended content questions.

Custom curated Newsela text sets are available for every CCS 6-12 social studies course. These text sets include about 35-45 vetted articles per grading period. Teachers may to choose any number of articles from these sets (or other articles) and assign them to their classes (already loaded in Clever) with the click of a button.

Newsela is not a "required platform," but CCS Social Studies highly recommends its use. In fact, we are fairly certain that will you find this tool so useful that no requirement would even be necessary.

Click here for CCS Social Studies Newsela text sets

This site includes text sets organized by unit for each CCS Social Studies course, along with video tutorials and support.


Community of Inquiry: Best Practices

The Community of Inquiry Framework is the "process of creating a deep and meaningful (collaborative-constructivist) learning experience through the development of three interdependent elements: social, cognitive and teaching presence."

In the infographic below, we have highlighted some best practices and tools teachers can use to establish social, cognitive, and teaching presence during this period of virtual learning.


Google Classroom

To facilitate virtual learning, teachers will need an online space for posting announcements, assignments, class discussions, and launching live sessions. Google Classroom is the recommended tool for this purpose. Teachers can add students directly to a Google Classroom with their For help getting started with Google Classroom, teachers can view the resources at the CCS eLearning On-Demand site.

Teachers can use Google Meet to hold live virtual meetings. A Google Meet can be generated from Google Classroom. Only the teacher will be able to start a live Google Meet session. Please note: Do not install the Google Meet Waiting Room Chrome Extension on your teacher device. This will put the teacher in the waiting room and prevent them from entering the live session.

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.

Google Slides Choice Activities Templates

The Google Slides templates below can be used to provide students with choice-based activities. Teachers can include directions in the templates, and students can complete or link their work directly in the slides.

Templates include:

  • Choice Board;
  • Menu of Options;
  • Layered Curriculum; and
  • Digital Interactive Student Notebook

In Google Classroom, teachers can link a slide deck in an assignment as "Each student gets a copy." From the links below, teachers can click on the "Use Template" button and make a copy of each slide deck.

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.