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Was the Constitution Pro-Slavery? The Changing View of Frederick Douglass

By Robert Cohen
Many have questioned whether the document on which our nation is based sanctioned slavery. But renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who originally condemned the Constitution, came to view it in a much different light.

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Social Education October 2014

Sources and Strategies
Challenging Students to Differentiate between Election Returns and Results with a Memo and a Telegram from 1864
The featured documents related to Abraham Lincoln's reelection provide an excellent entry point into a lesson on the historical impact of elections and resulting political action. Secondary/High School Civics/Government
Looking at the Law
Supreme Court Term Review: Cell Phones, Protests, and Prayer
A review of last term's Supreme Court cases can spur lively classroom discussion on issues such as technology and the Fourth Amendment, religion and workplace benefits, and prayer at public meetings. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

Mapping Early American History: Beyond What Happened Where
The three highlighted early American historical maps will provide students with important insight into the geographical understanding of people in the past and the implications of this limited knowledge. Secondary/High School
Research and Practice
Teaching Thoughtfully With and About Film
Though film is sometimes considered a device for low-level intellectual work, these teachers demonstrate that authentic, rigorous pedagogy is possible Secondary/High School

Climate Change in the Social Studies Classroom: A Why and How to Guide Using the C3 Framework
The inquiry process outlined in the C3 Framework provides an ideal structure for teaching about climate change and debating the roles of citizens and the government. Secondary/High School Geography

Simulating Global Climate Summits
This classroom simulation gives students the opportunity to examine global perspectives on climate change, and the search for common solutions. Secondary/High School

Looking at World War I Propaganda
Analyzing propaganda posters from World War I in the classroom enables students to advance their historical knowledge and gain critical media decoding skills. Secondary/High School
Surfing the Net
Teaching about (and with) Digital Global Citizenship
These highlighted websites provide resources and lesson plans that will help classroom teachers integrate digital global citizenship concepts throughout the curriculum. Secondary/High School Global Connections

The Birth of a Nation Is Only the Beginning: The Travails of South Sudan
Just three years since it broke away from Sudan, the new country of South Sudan is embroiled in a violent civil war. This article examines what went wrong and explores the challenges of building a new nation. Secondary/High School Global Connections

Ferguson Is About Us Too: A Call to Explore Our Communities
The events in Ferguson, Missouri, can serve as a jumping off point into an exploration of students' own communities. Secondary/High School

The Battle for the Senate: Key Races to Watch
With control of the Senate hinging on a few key races, this year's midterm election offers a unique opportunity to explore with students the importance of congressional control and our system of checks and balances. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

Social Education November/December 2014

Sources and Strategies
Exploring the Legacy of Magna Carta with Students through Historic Images
The two featured portraits of Revolutionary-era writer John Dickinson next to a book titled “Magna Charta,” can launch an enlightening lesson on the thirteenth-century charter´s influence on America´s founding documents. Secondary/High School World History
Lessons on the Law
Magna Carta at 800: Ten Key Questions Answered
As the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta approaches, Lessons on the Law provides an overview of the “Great Charter” and identifies teaching materials to engage students. Secondary/High School World History

Analyzing the Messages of the State of the Union Address
The president´s annual speech to Congress on the condition of the nation offers students an opportunity to examine key domestic issues as well as the president´s proposals. Secondary/High School Civics/Government
Teaching with Documents
Education Equality: What Happens to a Dream Deferred?
The highlighted documents from Boston´s desegregation case can serve as a jumping off point into an engaging classroom study of education equality and civil rights. Secondary/High School US History

A New View of Civil War Photography
Cutting edge digital techniques that add richer perspective to nineteenth-century Civil War photographs will challenge students´ preconceived ideas about the war and enrich classroom instruction. Secondary/High School US History

The C3 Framework: A Powerful Tool for Preparing Future Generations for Informed and Engaged Civic Life
The C3 Framework not only provides crucial guidance for creating or bolstering social studies standards—it is extremely effective for curriculum planning and professional development. Secondary/High School

Civic Learning Success Stories: State Initiatives to Restore the Civic Mission of Schools
The stories of these four state programs on civic learning will provide educators around the country with valuable information on how to advocate for restoring the civic mission of schools. Secondary/High School Civics/Government
Democracy Education
Should Teachers Help Students Develop Partisan Identities?
The authors examine whether schools should be helping students determine political affiliation, and spotlight the case of one high school where a legislative simulation requires students to do exactly that. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

Free Press in a Constitutional Democracy
Students will acquire a deeper understanding of freedom of the press when they consider the context for its inclusion in the First Amendment and examine its implications in the Internet age. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

NAFTA: The World´s Largest Trading Zone Turns 20
This article looks at the results of NAFTA, 20 years after it created a controversial common market between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and examines the ongoing free trade debate. Secondary/High School
Surfing the Net
Teaching about Freedom Using the Internet
The websites highlighted in this column offer resources and lesson plans for exploring the concept of freedom in the classroom. Secondary/High School

Social Education January/February 2014

NCSS Notebook
The Revitalization of Social Studies
The NCSS conference, continued advocacy, and the C3 framework are essential components of our efforts to revolutionize social studies education. Secondary/High School
Sources and Strategies
Strike up Student Interest through Song: Technology and Westward Expansion
The featured photograph and works of music can launch an engaging lesson on the ways that technological advancements influenced westward expansion. Secondary/High School US History

They Should Have Sent a Poet: Deepening Students' Understanding of History Through the Use of Poetry
The highlighted poems offer deep insights into three wars in which America was involved. Secondary/High School US History

Historical Fiction, the Common Core, and Disciplinary Habits of Mind
Historical fiction draws students into the study of the past, enriches their understanding of events, and provides opportunities for cultivating historical analysis. Secondary/High School
Teaching with Documents
Records of Rights: A New Exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
The National Archives' latest exhibit spotlights the struggles of Americans to define rights related to citizenship, free speech, voting, and equal opportunity. Secondary/High School US History
Looking at the Law
An Introduction to the International Court of Justice
Studying the International Court of Justice and select cases can launch a stimulating class discussion about our increasingly interconnected world and the role of a global arbitrator. Secondary/High School Civics/Government
Research and Practice
Achieving Authentic Pedagogy: Plan Units, Not Lessons
Authentic pedagogy engages students and spurs them to produce work that has value and impact beyond school. Secondary/High School
Point of View
Another Look at AP
Does the College Board's AP program deserve its reputation as the gold standard for preparing high school students for college success? Secondary/High School

Coaching Strategies for AP: Building a Successful AP European History Program
A former baseball coach transfers strategies for building a team-oriented winning culture on the field to promoting academic excellence in the AP European History classroom. Secondary/High School World History
Surfing the Net
What I Learned at NCSS 2013
The sessions at NCSS's annual conferences present a wealth of information. These websites offer valuable resources and lesson plans that build on some highlights of the 2013 conference. Secondary/High School
The Making of Campaign 2012: Collision 2012 and Double Down
Two recently published books offer behind-the-scenes insight into the 2012 presidential campaign and can help teachers illustrate important electoral concepts. Secondary/High School Civics/Government
Point of View
Proposed National Standards for Financial Literacy: What's In? What's Out?
Financial education must go beyond focusing on the choices individuals face and examine the forces that shape and constrain these choices. Secondary/High School Economics

Social Education May/June 2014

Sources & Strategies
Teaching Students Sourcing and Contextualizing Strategies Using Newspapers and Lithographs
The featured primary sources related to the impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin at the time of its publication provoke important questions that will deepen students' analytical skills and historical understanding. Secondary/High School
Looking at the Law
Poetic Justice: Law and Literature in the Classroom
Connecting law and literature in the classroom enables students to tackle eternal dilemmas in the search for justice. Secondary/High School

Poems of the Great War: A Selection
Examining the World War I poems presented here can serve as an excellent entry point for studying the causes, course, and effects of the war as its hundredth anniversary approaches. Secondary/High School

Inquiring about the Causes of World War I with Chronozoom
What exactly sparked the First World War 100 years ago? An innovative timeline tool and creative teaching materials offer an engaging approach for teaching students about the complex causes. Secondary/High School

A Street Named for a King: A Lesson in the Politics of Place-Naming
As students use geospatial technology to discover streets named for Martin Luther King, Jr., they learn about politics and social power as well as geography. Secondary/High School

The Carter G. Woodson Book Awards
The 2013 Carter G. Woodson Award winners include books about Booker T. Washington's 500-mile trek to college, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights campaigns, Solomon Northup's kidnapping into slavery from his birthplace in New York. Secondary/High School

Teaching Social Studies Students to Write with Light Using the Documentary Filmmaking Process
Documentary filmmaking weaves together reading, writing, speaking, and production skills, enabling students to communicate understanding of important ideas and issues in a compelling manner. Secondary/High School

Promoting Inquiry-Based Learning through National History Day
The rigorous research projects that students undertake for National History Day teaches them to work like historians while developing skills needed to become active, engaged citizens. Secondary/High School US History
Surfing the Net
Using Virtual Field Trips, Music, and Art to Teach Social Studies
The recommended websites feature ideas and lesson plans that will help teachers and curriculum specialists integrate social studies and the arts. Secondary/High School
Book Review
African American Baseball History and the Social Studies
The featured book offers a valuable perspective on the importance of integrating sports into education. Secondary/High School US History

Social Education September 2014

Sources and Strategies
Encouraging Student Interest in the Economic Context of the Constitution with Continental Currency
A close look at the featured currency issued by the Continental Congress can launch a lesson on the economic problems that preceded the drafting of the Constitution. Secondary/High School
Looking at the Law
What Constitution Day Means and Why it Matters
Constitution Day offers an opportune time for students to explore the evolution of the founding document and examine its provisions for citizens’ rights and rules of government. Secondary/High School US History

Implementing the C3 Framework: Monitoring the Instructional Shifts
The strategies outlined by the author for implementing the C3 Framework will help teachers strengthen the study of civics, economics, geography, and history. Secondary/High School

Re-Establishing Social Studies as a Core Subject
The C3 Framework recognizes that inquiry is at the heart of social studies and that social studies classrooms should develop the ability to apply content knowledge to real-life issues. Secondary/High School

The C3 Framework: One Year Later
In the first year since its release, many states have integrated the C3 Framework into their standards while others are in the process of incorporating the key tenets–inquiry, disciplinary literacy, student agency, and civic engagement—into state policy documents. Secondary/High School

Turning Students into Voters: What Teachers Can Do
Teaching about the voting process and discussing current congressional campaign issues can boost student turnout for decades to come. Secondary/High School Civics/Government
Research and Practice
Building the Civic Potential of Immigrant Youth
Social studies teachers can play a critical role in fostering the civic development of immigrant youth. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

Equal Protection, Immigration, and Education: Plyler v. Doe
This lesson on the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment will give students a deeper understanding of the issues framing the current immigration debate. Secondary/High School
Point of View
Teaching about Personal Finance: The National Standards for Financial Literacy
The financial literacy standards can help educators establish an academic base for the discipline of personal finance. Secondary/High School Economics
Surfing the Net
Teaching about World War I: “The War to End all Innocence”
The highlighted websites offer important resources for teaching students about World War I during this hundredth anniversary year. Secondary/High School

Maleficent Reborn: Disney’s Fairytale View of Gender Reaches Puberty
Recent Disney movies spotlighting intelligent female characters who work hard and do not define themselves in terms of men illustrate a major change from the formulaic fairy tales portraying female inferiority and dependency. Secondary/High School Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy)

Social Education March/April 2014

Sources and Strategies
Prompting Students to Contemplate Effective Communication with a Visible Speech Chart from the 1870s
The featured document publicizing a nineteenth-century phonetic writing system can spark classroom research and exploration of communication tools from Visible Speech to Twitter and Google Translate. Secondary/High School
Teaching with Documents
Is Baseball Essential?: World War I and the National Pastime
Documents related to baseball players and the military draft can launch a lesson on the American home front during World War I, as the 100th anniversary approaches. Secondary/High School US History
Looking at the Law
Apartheid on Trial: Mandela’s Rivonia Speech from the Dock, Half a Century Later
Nelson Mandela’s words 50 years ago praising the ideal of a democratic society can serve as a jumping off point into a study of the anti-apartheid struggle. Secondary/High School
Research and Practice
Action Civics in the Classroom
Direct civic engagement enables students to learn through citizenship rather than simply about citizenship and empowers them to take effective action in the future. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

Undoing Quantitative Easing: Janet Yellen's Tiger Ride
The change in leadership at the Federal Reserve offers an opportunity for an exploration of economic policies such as quantitative easing and philosophies such as the Keynesian school of thought. Secondary/High School Economics

College Councils for the Social Studies: How to Support Our Newest Colleagues
Councils for the social studies on university campuses offer unique services and activities and can be a great support to preservice teachers as they launch their teaching careers. Secondary/High School
Surfing the Net
A Website Buffet: Social Studies Sites that Encourage Higher-level Thinking
These websites, gleaned from readers, personal research, and exhibits at NCSS, offer useful resources for teachers to encourage higher-level thinking and skills. Secondary/High School

Special Section on Instructional Technology

Democratic Twittering: Microblogging for a More Participatory Social Studies
Social media services such as Twitter can be used to promote engaging, student-centered activities that facilitate a deeper understanding of content. Secondary/High School Civics/Government

From Freedom Riders to the Children's March: Civil Rights Documentaries as Catalysts for Historical Empathy
These four documentary films can engage students in historical thinking, expand their capacity for empathy, and hone discussion and writing skills. Secondary/High School US History

Bringing the Cybersecurity Challenge to the Social Studies Classroom
Engaging students in inquiries that explore the historical, ethical, and legal aspects of cybersecurity will increase their ability to address this pressing global issue. Secondary/High School

Social Education May/June 2009

Teaching with Documents
George Washington?s Printed Draft of the Constitution and Mike Wilkins?s Preamble
The featured artwork highlights the 52 words of the Preamble to the Constitution. The accompanying document shows, however, that these well known words underwent many changes before reaching their final form. Secondary/High School US History
Looking at the Law
The Reporter?s Privilege Under Fire: Is the American Press Still Free?
When students study the issue of reporter?s privilege they will understand why the courts and legislatures still struggle to define this protection, more than 150 years after the first American reporter was jailed for refusing to reveal a source. Secondary/High School Law Related Education

Using Artifacts to Understand the Life of a Soldier in World War II
High school students in New Jersey practice artifact analysis and learn about soldier life in World War II when they interact with wartime relics, including medals, gas masks, ration coupons, and letters home. Secondary/High School
Surfing the Net
Integrating Literature and the Arts Using Internet Resources
The highlighted websites offer lesson plans, book lists, or other resources that can help teachers integrate literature and the arts into their social studies instruction. Secondary/High School
Elementary Education
Folk in the History Classroom: Using the Music of the People to Teach Eras and Events
The featured lesson uses Woody Guthrie?s ?Dust Storm Disaster? to study the Dust Bowl from the perspective of those most affected. Elementary US History
Research and Practice
Isn't Culturally Responsive Instruction Just Good Teaching?
Culturally responsive instruction that builds on students? home and community experiences can improve academic achievement and increase chances for success. Secondary/High School

Increasing the Relevance: A Who Done It Mystery
This lesson describes a creative approach to teaching the judicial system with a simulated murder mystery. Secondary/High School

Social Education September 2009

Teaching with Documents
Letter about the School Lunch Program
The featured document on federal aid for school lunches and the accompanying essay on the School Lunch Act provide students with a unique chance to study the role of government. Secondary/High School US History
Looking at the Law
The Chicago 8 Trial, 40 Years Later: A Case Study in Teaching U.S. v. Dellinger (1969)
A class reenactment of the Chicago 8 trial offers students a close look at the rights and restrictions of free speech and dissent in America. Secondary/High School Law Related Education

Living Democracy: How Constitution High School Molds Better Citizens
One school's experiment in social education illustrates what can happen when students are encouraged not only to study democracy, but to practice it. Secondary/High School

Tampering with History: Adapting Primary Sources for Struggling Readers
Adapting sources for classroom use allows teachers to steer students toward authentic historical inquiry and away from a version of history determined exclusively by the textbook. Secondary/High School
Surfing the Net
Teaching about Comparative Government
Educators will find the websites highlighted in this column useful for teaching about the history of government and government systems around the world. Secondary/High School
The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives
In this lesson, students consider the principal alternatives facing U.S. policymakers dealing with Iran, before formulating their own points of view. Secondary/High School

Copenhagen 2009: Could a Cap-and-Trade Market Combat Global Warming and Conserve Earth's Tropical Forests?
This background essay and accompanying handout can help students learn how global citizens can conserve tropical forests and reduce global warming. Secondary/High School

Bottled or Tap? A Controversy for Science, Economics, and Society
Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars on bottled water. Students can learn about the costs and consequences of this choice. Secondary/High School

Remnants from the Past: Using Scrapbooks to Make U.S. History Personal and Meaningful
Students learn how local history has coincided with national events and trends when they create scrapbooks to document the history of their high school. Secondary/High School
Elementary Education
Creating Biography Webs to Investigate Individuals' Historical Contexts
Creating biography webs helps young learners recognize how people, economic conditions, and significant events shaped the personal development of historic individuals. Elementary US History

The Dutch are Missing in the American Curriculum
The Dutch contribution to America's economic system and cultural fabric was highly significant, yet history textbooks barely mention their early seventeenth-century influence on America. Secondary/High School

Social Education October 2009

Teaching with Documents
Letter to the Senate Banking Committee about Wall Street Reform Legislation during the New Deal
The featured document on federal aid for school lunches and the accompanying essay on the School Lunch Act provide students with a unique chance to study the role of government. Secondary/High School US History
Looking at the Law
Supreme Court Review
The Supreme Court term opens with its first Hispanic justice and a list of highlights that includes two high-profile First Amendment cases and an important property rights case. Secondary/High School Law Related Education

Social Studies for English Language Learners:Teaching Social Studies that Matters
As the number of English language learners continues to rise, four key principles will help teachers ensure a valuable social studies education. Secondary/High School

The Guide on the Stage: In Defense of Good Lecturing in the History Classroom
Interactive lectures require a strong familiarity with the content being taught and compel students to actively engage the material. Secondary/High School
Surfing the Net
Teaching about U.S. Climate Policy and the 2009 Copenhagen Conference
This list of recommended sites offers resources and lesson plans for teaching about the climate change conference in Denmark and the cap and trade system. Secondary/High School

Life in the Aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide
The author details his findings after six months of research on the lives of genocide survivors in Rwanda. Secondary/High School

The Other September 11: Teaching about the 1973 Overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende
With the help of primary sources, teachers can give students the opportunity to reflect on the complexity and contradictions of U.S foreign policy by introducing them to Chile's September 11. Secondary/High School
Point of View
In Pursuit of the Faerie Folk: Identity, Self-determination, and Multiculturalism in Louisiana
Creole culture is part of the fabric of America and an excellent topic for classrooms studying cultural diversity. Secondary/High School
Point of View
The Coverage of the Holocaust in High School History Textbooks
Though coverage of the Holocaust has become standard in history textbooks, it is often superficial and fails to provide the groundwork for meaningful student inquiry into that devastating genocidal event. Secondary/High School


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