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Posts tagged ‘standards’

Cool College, Career, and Civic Life website for teachers

Last fall, the National Council for the Social Studies published the Social Studies for the Next Generation: Purposes, Practices, and Implications of the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. It’s a mouthful.

The goal was always to create a sort of model for states as they wrote their own state standards –  a guiding document that provides a clear structure for the type of social studies instruction that we all know is good for kids.

. . . the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.

Capt Barbossa
Pirates of the Caribbean

And I’ve talked about this a ton – we were writing our state standards at about the same time that the NCSS was finishing up its work. The good news? We’re a lot alike. The focus is on the process of social studies rather than the specific content of social studies.

We want kids to be historical thinkers, solvers of problems, users of evidence  . . . people who can address an un-Googleable question and make sense of it.

I really like them.

But many social studies teachers are still not aware that they exist. And the teachers who are aware of them are quite sure what to do with them. More good news. Read more

Tip of the Week: I Just Fell in Love with Storehouse

The way that we communicate with one another, the way that we teach, and the way that our kids learn is becoming increasingly visual. Our brains are hardwired to focus on things beyond just text. And we now have tools, including mobile tools, that can help us take advantage of that brain hard-wiring.

And over the last few weeks, teachers and I have been messing with a variety of mobile tools that focus on visual storytelling. Including my new favorite iPad app.

Read more

The 10,000 hour myth and the value of intentional instruction

I like Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff. I especially liked his book, Outliers: The Story of Success. In Outliers, Gladwell addresses the question of what makes high-achievers successful. And he cites some of the research by Anders Ericsson demonstrating that to become an expert at something, a person needs to devote 10,000 hours practicing and working on that one thing.

Gladwell made the idea seem plausible. Even doable. And it sounds like a great idea. Work hard at something long enough and you get good at it. Even great at it.

But a recent book by Daniel Goleman debunks the 10,000 hour “mythology” and suggests a more complex truth behind Gladwell’s simplistic take on the theory. In Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Goldman says the 10,000 hour idea is only half true. Read more

Evidence-based terms in social studies

As we move into a social studies world that is asking kids to collect evidence, organize evidence, create products, and communicate results, writing skills are becoming more and more important.

But for the last ten years or so, at least in the state of Kansas, we’ve asked kids to focus instead on memorizing content. So now when we’re asking our middle school and high school students to not just write more but to use evidence while proving assertions, we get a lot of blank stares.

My suggestion? Read more

History Nerd Fest 2013 – 21st century Social Studies assessment

With an awesome name like Bruce VanSledright, you know the guy just has to have his arms wrapped around what quality assessment looks like. I have seen some of his earlier stuff but haven’t heard his thoughts on assessment.

So we’ll see. I have faith.

The idea is that we can use the NCSS College, Career, and Civic Life standards to help use figure out good assessment stuff. Bruce starts out by highlights problems with past and current bubble, MC type tests that focus on foundational knowledge.

These “traditional” kinds of tests are great at measuring the capacity of students to memorize details, to recall isolated knowledge bits, assessments are often designed to actually measure the reliability of the tests themselves, and – just a little tongue in cheek – to measure our ability to teach to the test.

Bruce says that much of what we can do with the actual data from these sorts of tests is pretty limited. They provide no timely formative information. And rarely is the data actually tied to individual students any way.

So how can the NCSS standards help us re-think assessment? Read more

Tip of the Week: C4 Framework and Free Stuff

After years of sitting on the margins of instructional practice, social studies is getting a makeover. The Common Core is calling for the teaching of literacy through the integration of fiction and non-fiction into our instruction. In August 2013, the National Council for the Social Studies published the complementary College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

Both the Common Core and College, Career, and Civic Life standards support a different approach to teaching and learning social studies than what we saw as part of No Child Left Behind. Instead of focusing on memorizing specific content measured by multiple choice tests, students are now being asked to do social studies – to think historically, to solve problems, to read, write, and communicate. As teachers, we are being asked to find a balance between foundational knowledge and the authentic use of that knowledge.

But it can be difficult. What does that balance look like in actual practice?

To help you, we came up with something that we’re calling

the C4 Framework. Read more


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