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Posts tagged ‘C4’

Thinking Historically: Strategies for Literacy Integration

It seemed like half the state of Kansas was in Wichita yesterday for the annual KSDE conference. Good times. I made new friends, met old ones, and learned a ton of new stuff.

Like any conference, part of my day was spent participating in presentations and hanging out at the ESSDACK booth. But I also got the chance to lead a conversation about the integration of social studies and literacy skills. It was a fast and furious 50 minutes with the goal of introducing folks to a variety of ideas and tools.

The full room chatted about push / pull factors that explain why people moved west in the 1850s and why people moved out of Detroit in 2009. We shared ideas about how to use Google Cardboard with kids. And we explored ways to use a couple of L shaped pieces of paper to help students see details in primary sources.

So . . . yeah. Good times. Put a bunch of social studies nerds in one place and everything is right with the world. Check out the preso below and be sure to head over to the Social Studies Central page for handouts, materials, and additional resources. Read more

7 strategies that support historical thinking with grade school kids

As we continue to talk about ways to integrate literacy skills and social studies content, I often get the chance to chat with elementary teachers about the process. It’s always an interesting conversation and always seems to include some sort of comment that questions the ability of grade school students to think historically.

It’s not that K-5 teachers think historical thinking can’t happen. They’re just not sure what it can look like. So if you have questions or know someone who might have questions about what historical thinking looks like at the grade school level, we’ve got you covered.

(And you secondary folks? Don’t be afraid to browse through the list. There’s a lot of crossover.)

Read more

Tip of the Week: Second set of C4 Framework Cards is out

I started using the idea of the four C’s several years ago when we began work on revising the Kansas state social studies standards. I liked the idea that lessons and units could be structured around four basic teaching and learning concepts:

  • Collect
  • Collaborate
  • Create
  • Communicate

Ask kids to gather and organize information. Encourage them to work with others to make sense of information. Support students as they create new products and solutions. Validate student work by finding ways for them to share out what they know.

It wasn’t necessarily a new concept. But for most social studies teachers wrestling with the expectation that historical thinking skills (rather than basic historical knowledge) were the key to a successful classroom, the C4 Framework made sense. It helped them begin to organize the teaching and learning around the notion of doing of history rather than focusing on rote memorization. So I continued to work with teachers to integrate the C4 Framework idea into their classrooms, modified presentations, developed materials, and created a simple website.

Of course, last fall the National Council for the Social Studies released their national standards – the College, Career, and Civic Life Standards – and promptly dubbed them the C3 Framework.

Sigh. Read more

Tip of the Week: C4 Framework iPad Apps

I had a great time yesterday with a group of secondary social studies teachers – we got to spend the entire day talking about integrating technology into their classrooms. How cool is that?

Yup. You’re right. Very cool.

It was the kind of day where we got to chat about a whole bunch of different stuff. We jumped from best practice to assessments to Google Earth to online primary sources to the pros/cons of BYOD initiatives. We also talked a bit about iPads and iPad apps.

So  . . . today’s tip? A list of iPad apps aligned to my C4 Framework. The Framework is designed to help teachers develop quality lesson and unit designs that focus on historical thinking skills. Read more

“Breathe. Don’t worry about the test.”

I’ve been saying this for years.

Don Gifford, Kansas Department of Education social studies consultant, has been saying it.

And now?

Diane Debacker, Education Commissioner for the state of Kansas, is saying it.

What are teachers supposed to do? Just teach. Breathe. Don’t worry about the test.

What we’re trying to do is change the conversation . . . But we have lived for the past 12 or 13 years with it being all about assessment results, so it’s going to take us a little bit of time.

In an article published in this morning’s Wichita Eagle, DeBacker shared her feelings and suggestions about the new type of test being rolled out this spring. Designed to reflect new Common Core state standards, the new assessments will feature more complex questions and “technology-enhanced” items that require students to enter numerical answers, drag and drop items into correct categories, or highlight portions of text that support a central idea.

The tests will be shorter this year but questions are richer and more complex, designed to better measure students’ critical thinking skills. Read more

Tip of the Week: 10 Best Social Studies Stuffs of 2013


Yeah. I know. Not an actual word. Though I happen to think it should be. Cause I use the word stuff a lot. (I grew up in western Kansas and stuff is better than the alternative.)

Last year I created a quick list titled the 10 Best Social Studies Stuffs of 2012. I started out wanting to list my ten favorite books of the year but quickly realized that there were a lot of other things – websites, apps, movies – that I really liked as well.

So . . . stuffs. The plural of stuff.

I suppose you can call them whatever you want. But here, in no particular order, are the top ten things that I found useful, interesting, or just fun this past year.

Feel free to add your own stuff in the comments. Read more