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Social Education

Social Education January/February 2015


Editor's Notebook
Michael Simpson



Social Studies Up!
Michelle Herczog

At NCSS, we continue to advance our key objectives—to increase education resources, advance advocacy, grow our membership, and promote citizenship with the C3 Framework.
Sources and Strategies

Asking Students to Compare the Value of Information in Different Sources about the Same Event
Scott M. Waring

A close look at the spy map that helped George Washington win the Battle of Princeton can place students in the role of historians as they analyze the map and other sources to shed light on this historic event.     US History
Teaching with Documents

Immigrants and National Security During World War I
Kimberlee Ried

The U.S. government document issued during World War I to a German immigrant and Civil War veteran can launch a classroom exploration of federal policies on national security and the rights of immigrants. Secondary/High School     US History


The Nobel Peace Prize: Malala, A Girl Determined to Go to School
Efleda P. Tolentino, Jean O'Neill Uhl,, Iftikhar Ahmad

The story of Malala Yousafzai's fight to get an education can engage students in a study of global children's rights and the UN Convention that established them.    


A Time for Social Studies: Talking with Young People about Ferguson and Staten Island
Beth C. Rubin

When students engage in discussions about civic rights and processes, their sense of discouragement transforms to a sense of empowerment.    
Lessons on the Law

Zivotofsky v. Kerry: A Study in Law, Politics, and Foreign Affairs
Steven D. Schwinn

A Supreme Court case that centers on a disagreement between Congress and the Executive Branch on the status of Jerusalem can serve as a launching point for a lesson on the authority of the different branches of government.    


Justice and Responsibility in a Changing Climate

This lesson guides students to consider current emissions, per capita emissions, and historical emissions of various countries to deliberate the question of responsibility for climate change.    


Teaching the Battle of Gallipoli: Investigating Multiple Perspectives
Joan Brodsky Schur

Students will gain a much broader understanding of World War I by studying the Battle of Gallipoli—its outcome and effects—from multiple perspectives. Secondary/High School     World History
Surfing the Net

Plagues and Disease throughout World History
C. Frederick Risinger

These websites provide lesson plans and resources for teaching about how germs and disease have affected world history.    

Social Education March/April 2015

Sources and Strategies

Inviting Students to Consider Possible Research Paths Suggested by an Article, a Photograph, and a Sound Recording from the Nineteenth Century
Lee Ann Potter

The featured article, photographs, and related sound recordings can serve as a jumping off point into the study of a range of topics including westward expansion, the age of invention, and Native American culture.    
Lessons on the Law

The Second Act: Will America Get A Right To Be Forgotten?
Michelle A. Silverthorn

The European Union's new guidelines on the right to have personal information removed from the Internet can be used to launch an enriching classroom debate about free speech versus privacy rights.    
Surfing the Net

Teaching about How Inventions and Technology Have Changed U.S. History
C. Frederick Risinger

These selected websites provide information and lesson plans to study the ways in which technological changes have shaped American history and culture.    

Special Section on Economics: Teaching about Money and the Fed


Meet Janet Yellen: AP Economics Teacher Martha Rush Interviews the Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors

The new Fed chair answers questions from an experienced economics educator on teaching about monetary policy and financial education.    


Considering the Times: Resources for Teaching Economic and Financial Literacy in Light of the Great Recession
Mary C. Suiter and Scott A. Wolla

These Federal Reserve System resources will help teach students the essential skills to make sound economic decisions.    


Five Fundamental Misunderstandings Students Have about Money and the Fed and What to Do About It
Jane S. Lopus and Kristen McDaniel

The authors correct five major misunderstandings about the function of the Federal Reserve and offer suggestions for teaching about these concepts.    


Three Key Episodes in American Financial History
Mark C. Schug, Mary C. Suiter, and William C. Wood

When economics is integrated into the study of history, students gain a much deeper understanding of the way in which monetary policies changed in the decades before the Great Depression.    


Too Low? For Too Long? Ghost Story IV
M. Scott Niederjohn, Mark C. Schug, William C. Wood

In this fourth installment of a series of imaginary conversations between the Chair of the Federal Reserve System and renowned economists, Janet Yellen discusses interest rates and the direction of U.S. monetary policy with John Kenneth Galbraith and Friedrich A. Hayek.    


Is Bitcoin the Money of the Future?
M. Scott Niederjohn, J.R. Clark, Ashley S. Harrison

As a virtual currency, Bitcoin has many attractive features, but its drawbacks may prevent it from becoming a global currency.    

Special Section on Technology: Developing Multiliteracies in the Social Studies


More Substance, Less Hype: Using Digital Texts to Support Diverse Readers
Sarah Lundy

When students read texts on digital devices, they have access to a range of learning supports such as text narration, video sidebars, or word definitions.    


Linking Literacies, Popular Culture, and Citizenship: Using Digital Book Clubs in Social Education
Jason K. Ritter, Terri L. Rodriguez, Alexandra O. Santau, and Casey O'Donnell-Chavis

Creating classroom book clubs with e-readers helps connect adolescent interests, digital literacies, and content area academic goals.    


With Their Voice: Constructing Meaning with Digital Testimony
Brandon J. Haas, Michael J. Berson and Ilene R. Berson

Students become actively engaged with Holocaust survivors through personal narratives on the USC Shoah Foundation website and can embark on video activities that deepen their comprehension of genocides.    


Student Documentaries Based on the C3 Framework
Meghan McGlinn Manfra and Seth Brown

Engaging in inquiry and documentary creation related to the lives of children during the Holocaust helps young people confront the complex issues raised by genocide.    

Social Education May/June 2015


Connecting Students to Local Communities through the Work of the Federal Writers' Project and Zora Neale Hurston
Rebecca Newland

The featured documents from a WPA project that employed authors to write state travel guides will spark student interest in local history and can help launch a lesson on the Great Depression and New Deal programs.

Teaching with Documents

Freedom of Speech in Times of War: The Sedition Act of 1918
Annie Davis

The records of an immigrant accused of sedition during World War I can spark a classroom debate about national security and freedom of speech.



Carter G. Woodson Book Awards

The 2014 and 2015 Carter G. Woodson Award winners include books about a Charleston jazz band of African American orphans; a Navy disaster that exposed the injustices of military segregation; and Sylvia Mendez and Barbara Johns, who waged desegregation battles on separate coasts.    


More than Superheroes and Villains: Graphic Novels and Multimodal Literacy in Social Studies Education
Caroline C. Sheffield, James S. Chisholm, and Penny B. Howell

The visual and textual techniques combined in graphic novels make these books ideal for teaching multimodal literacy, social studies content, and the process of crafting a historical narrative.



What Are They Thinking? Student Interviews Inspire Strong Social Studies Curriculum
Katy M. Swalwell

Finding out students' thoughts and feelings about class topics should be an essential part of any curriculum planning process.

Surfing the Net

Effective Integration of the Arts into the Social Studies
C. Frederick Risinger

The selected websites offer resources and ideas for incorporating the arts with traditional social studies content.

Lessons on the Law

Monkeying around with Selfies and U.S. Copyright Law
Anderson Duff

The story of an Indonesian macaque who snapped selfies with a photographer's camera can serve as a jumping off point into an engaging lesson on intellectual property and the concept of copyright.


Special Section on Human Rights


Background and Introduction: Lesson Plans on Children's Rights
William R. Fernekes and Noel Baxter

Studying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will engage students developing questions and planning inquiries about the situation of children worldwide.



What are Human Rights and How Can We Ensure Them?
Daniel Valentine

This high school lesson plan introduces two essential UN human rights documents and challenges students to reflect on the causes of child exploitation and ways to reduce violations of children's rights.



Child Labor and Consumerism
Sacha Batra

In this lesson, middle school students consider the links between consumer decisions and child labor.



Becoming Ethical Consumers and Making Wise Economic Choices
Tracy Schottanes

Elementary students learn to distinguish between a need and a want and contemplate how their decisions as consumers affect other children.


Social Education September 2015


Should High School Students Be Required to Pass a Citizenship Test?
Diana E. Hess, Sam Stone, Joseph Kahne

Two experts on youth and civic participation present very different views on the controversial proposal to require high school students to pass the INS test.

Secondary/High School     Civics/Government


Formative Assessment Using Library of Congress Documents
Joel Breakstone, Sam Wineburg, Mark Smith

Classroom-ready tasks that foster historical thinking provide quick feedback about student understanding when it is most useful—during the course of a unit.

Secondary/High School     US History
Sources and Strategies

Deepening Student Understanding of the Debate over the Constitution through a Description of a Grand Procession
Stephen Wesson

The featured document from a parade to celebrate the Constitution can serve as an engaging entry point into a lesson about the founding document and the campaign for ratification in 1788.

Secondary/High School     Civics/Government, US History
Teaching with Documents

Prequel to Independence: Who Fired the Shot Heard Round the World?
Annie Davis

The 1775 deposition from a militia commander at Lexington, featured in this article, can be used to spark student inquiry about why the American colonials decided to go to war.

Secondary/High School     US History


Teaching Argument Writing and Content in Diverse Middle School History Classrooms
Chauncey Monte-Sano, Susan D La Paz, Mark Felton

Activities such as the Shays' Rebellion investigation outlined in this article enable students to develop inquiry and literacy practices as they integrate critical reading, historical thinking, and argument writing.

Middle Level    
Lessons on the Law

Mandated Reporting and the Confrontation Clause: When are Teachers like Police Officers?
Phillip Trobaugh

A study of the Supreme Court case, Ohio v. Clark, about suspected child abuse reported to authorities by teachers, can ignite a stimulating classroom debate about the Sixth Amendment right to confront one's accuser.



Secondary Sources in History Classrooms: Disciplinary Frameworks and Student Learning
Dave Neumann

Secondary sources provide students valuable insight into historians' arguments, showing how they disagree, and how events of the present shape interpretation of the past.

Secondary/High School    
Surfing the Net

Websites Teachers Should Have Access To and Follow
C. Frederick Risinger

The highlighted websites and programs offer wide-ranging information that will enrich classroom teaching.

Secondary/High School    


Essential Books for Teaching about Armenian Culture and the Armenian Genocide
Sara Cohan

This annotated list of books and resources can help teachers implement innovative lessons during the 100th anniversary year of the Armenian genocide.

Secondary/High School    


Introducing Civic Activism in the Elementary Classroom: Case Studies Using Books on Non-Violence and Social Justice
Mary E. Haas, Robert A. Waterson

Teachers can advance the literacy skills and civic awareness of their students through the use of children's literature on non-violent campaigns to obtain social justice.


Social Education October 2015

Sources and Strategies

Events in History Do Not Happen in Isolation: Studying a Letter Written by Thomas Jefferson in 1815
Lee Ann Potter

After the British torched the Capitol and its library in 1814, Congress purchased Thomas Jefferson’s renowned book collection. The featured letter by Jefferson, written at the conclusion of the transfer, can serve as an introduction to the global context of the War of 1812. Secondary/High School     US History
Lessons on the Law

Supreme Court Term Review: Same–Sex Marriage, Healthcare, and Redistricting.
Catherine E. Hawke

The recent Supreme Court term was marked by historic rulings, and the upcoming term also promises to address many contentious cases. Secondary/High School     Law-Related, Civics/Government


Student Protest, Historical Thinking and Anti-Historians: Some Context on the Jeffco APUSH Debate
Fritz Fischer

The recent uproar over a Colorado school board’s efforts to infuse the AP U.S. History framework with ideologically motivated revisions highlights the importance of keeping inquiry as the focus of the history classroom. Secondary/High School     US History


Voting Rights Act of 1965: In Whose Interest?
Jane Bolgatz and Ryan Crowley

In this lesson, students consider important factors that converged to help civil rights activists win a decades-long struggle for voting rights. Secondary/High School     US History


The 1915 U.S. Invasion of Haiti: Examining a Treaty of Occupation
Jennifer Bauduy

A close look at the U.S.-Haiti treaty signed 100 years ago can launch an engaging lesson on U.S. involvement in Haiti and the commercial interests that fueled American interventions throughout Latin America.

Secondary/High School     US History


Dead Bodies and Live Minds: How Investigating a Real Murder Can Inspire Curiosity in the High School Classroom
Seán Arthurs

Real-life mysteries can involve students in rigorous problem solving, promote engagement, and provide students with a deep understanding of the criminal justice system. Secondary/High School     Law-Related, Civics/Government


Just Google It?: Supporting Historical Reasoning and Engagement during Online Research
Ashley N. Woodson

Three important strategies help students evaluate sources they encounter online and encourage active and evidence-based reconstruction of the past. Secondary/High School    


Using Classroom Discussions: Great Risks Yield Great Rewards
Brian C. Gibbs

A discussion activity centered on a topic of interest to students helped teach seventh graders the rules of civic dialogue while engaging students with a range of academic abilities. Secondary/High School    


Take the Journey: Historic Place-Based Service Learning Projects
James A. Percoco

Place-based service-learning projects connect young people with the past in ways that can range from producing mini movies of a historic site to planting a tree geo-tagged with a Civil War soldier’s life story. Secondary/High School    
Research and Practice

Challenges and Opportunities for Discussion of Controversial Issues in Racially Pluralistic Schools
Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg and Peter Levine

Providing students with opportunities for discussing contentious topics in the classroom can help bridge the civic opportunity and knowledge gap. Secondary/High School    
Surfing the Net

Teaching about International Issues and Foreign Policy with the Internet
C. Frederick Risinger

These outstanding websites include lesson plans and resources for teaching about major global issues. Secondary/High School     Global Studies

Social Education November/December 2015

Sources and Strategies

Helping Students Read Between the Lines: Identifying Bias and Viewpoint in the Press through Analysis of Newspaper Features Related to the Election of 1912
Deborah Thomas

The four highlighted newspaper items can launch an engaging study of media influence and election campaigns in the shifting political landscape of 1912. Secondary/High School     US History
Lessons on the Law

Slavery and its Legacies: Marking the Sesquicentennial of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Ana Lucia Araujo

A close look at the struggle to pass the 13th Amendment will ignite a stimulating classroom debate on the legacies of slavery that persist today. Secondary/High School     US History
Teaching with Documents

The Art of Sedition
Christopher Zarr

The story of Henry Glintenkamp, indicted during World War I for an anti-draft political cartoon, offers an excellent starting point for a discussion of free speech restrictions and the Espionage Act. Secondary/High School     US History
Surfing the Net

Teaching about Global Warming and Its Significance
C. Frederick Risinger

These exceptional websites provide resources and lesson plans with connections to Common Core standards for teaching about climate change. Secondary/High School    


Teaching about the Berkeley Free Speech Movement: Civil Disobedience and Mass Protest in the 1960s
Robert Cohen

The non-violent protests on UC Berkeley's campus in the 1960s present a case study of civic action initiated by young people that changed policy and impacted the entire nation. Secondary/High School     US History


The New York State K-12 Social Studies Toolkit: An Introduction
Kathy Swan, S.G. Grant, and John Lee

This special section presents a rich set of curriculum resources based on the C3 Framework, created by teachers for all grade levels Secondary/High School    


Bringing the C3 Framework to Life
S.G. Grant, Kathy Swan, and John Lee

The New York State Social Studies Toolkit offers a rich array of inquiries with blueprints that outline the key components of each instructional plan while leaving room for teachers to tailor investigations. Secondary/High School    


The New York State Toolkit and the Inquiry Design Model: Anatomy of an Inquiry
Kathy Swan, John Lee, and S.G. Grant

The Uncle Tom's Cabin inquiry illustrates the Inquiry Design Model structure as students examine Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel to explore how words can affect public opinion. Secondary/High School    


Creating an Engaged Classroom: An Interview with April Francis

A teacher who reviewed and piloted the New York State Toolkit inquiries describes her experience teaching the Uncle Tom's Cabin inquiry. Secondary/High School    


By Teachers, For Teachers: The NYS Toolkit and C3 Teachers
John Lee, Kathy Swan, and S.G. Grant

A collection of turnkey professional learning materials and a collaborative network of hundreds of teachers aims to empower teachers as they wrestle with the big ideas and instructional implications of the C3 Framework and the Inquiry Arc. Secondary/High School    


How Did the Industrial Revolution Move People?

This high school inquiry explores the major population shifts and the social and economic transformations fueled by the Industrial Revolution. Secondary/High School     US History


Does It Matter How Leaders Are Chosen?

In this elementary level inquiry, students explore diverse political systems and consider the implications of how government leaders are chosen. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government


We Shall Overcome! Two Films about Selma
David Wolfford

Two recent films present powerful portrayals of the struggle for voting rights in America. Secondary/High School     US History

Social Education January/February 2016

Social Education Cover January-February 2016
NCSS Notebook

We Walk the Talk!
Kim O'Neil

Providing students with opportunities to take action will promote an engaged citizenry and ensure that our democracy thrives. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government
Ask a Colleague

Formative Assessment

Social Education launches a new discussion column with a conversation about formative assessment. Secondary/High School    
Sources and Strategies

Developing Student Understanding of Cartographers' Purpose by Comparing Two 16th-Century Maps
Cheryl Lederle, Danna Bell

The two featured 16th-century maps of the Americas can launch a classroom inquiry into the distinct goals that cartographers have when creating a map. Secondary/High School     Geography
Lessons on the Law

Teaching Miranda v. Arizona at its 50th Anniversary
Brooks Holland

Students get a valuable opportunity to debate the significance and purpose of Miranda rights by examining the Supreme Court case that led to the warning that police routinely issue. Secondary/High School     Law-Related


The Keys to the White House: Forecast for 2016
Allan J. Lichtman

The Keys forecasting system has an outstanding track record in predicting the winner of the popular vote in U.S. presidential elections. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government


Socialism in the United States: Hidden in Plain Sight
Robert Shaffer

As the presidential campaign of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders gains momentum, it is important for students to learn more about the history of socialism in the United States. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government
Point of View

Teaching in the Time of Trump
Benjamin Justice, Jason Stanley

The divisive rhetoric of presidential candidate Donald Trump presents a challenge for teachers covering the presidential primaries in their classrooms. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government


Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet Wins the Nobel Peace Prize
Iftikhar Ahmad

Teaching about the Tunisian civil society group that won the Nobel Peace Prize offers a valuable entry point into an exploration of Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution, the Arab Spring, and the principles of a pluralistic society. Secondary/High School     Global Studies


Jamestown and Power Lines: Teaching Controversy in an Inter-Disciplinary Manner
Brandon M. Butler, Stephen R. Burgin

By examining a local policy issue such as plans to build power transmission lines across the James River in Virginia, students can investigate significant questions related to urban sprawl and the environment. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government


The Forgotten War in the Nuba Mountains
Samuel Totten

The author's first-hand accounts of war in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan offer a jumping off point for a discussion of human rights and world responsibility in the classroom. Secondary/High School     Global Studies, World History


Teaching Leadership to Girls: Action Examples from Eight Schools
Sue Baldwin

At a time when there are too few women in key leadership positions, some schools have moved forward with programs to actively cultivate the potential of female students. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government
Surfing the Net

What I Learned in New Orleans at NCSS, 2015
C. Frederick Risinger

Teachers will find this list of noteworthy websites gathered at the NCSS annual conference invaluable for teaching with historical documents, exploring controversial issues, implementing the C3 Framework, and much more. Secondary/High School    

“The World Hangs in the Balance”: George C. Marshall and the European Recovery Plan

--Rachel Yarnell Thompson
This retrospective on the Marshall Plan for post-World War II Europe offers an assessment of a successful U.S. reconstruction program that benefited both the donor and the recipients.

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