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Connecting Social Studies and ELA Shifts in the Elementary Classroom

This investigation is designed to provide information on the development, purpose, and structure of shifts in ELA shifts and Social Studies and how they relate to the Core. 
  • Identify the key shifts in ELA and Social Studies.
  • Identify shift connections between the curricular areas.
  • Reflect on critical components of ELA Standards and where/how they fit into Social Studies.
This investigation has three parts: InvestigateCreate, and Connect. Please be sure to do all three sections.


Engagement 1

View the webinar: Building Literacy in Elementary Social Studies: A focus on the Shifts prior to engaging in this investigation. (Web seminar duration: 1:02)  Click here for the PowerPoint slides used in this webinar.  


Engagement 2

Karen Tankersley states in her book, Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12: Reinforcing the The Threads of Reading (ASCD 2005), "The reading process does not end with comprehension. In the adult world, people do not ask friends or colleagues to recall specific information from a book or article they have read. Instead, they ask for an opinion on a lead story, or for analysis of the latest Wall Street trend, or for an interpretation of a controversial article…”

With this in mind, read the article: Literacy As the Link: Common Core Standards and Content Area Teaching by Ginni C. Fair & Jason Fair (Association for Middle Level Education)

 Finally, watch the video:  Learning to Read the Core: A View from 30,000 Feet (video length: 13:29)




Reflect and Discuss
  • As you consider the quote, article, and video, what similarities do you find?
  • What differences do you find?
  • What implications for practice and discussion with your team would you highlight from synthesizing these three.

Engagement 3:  Connecting Social Studies and the  ELA Shifts


Think about a the Common Core Literacy (ELA) Shifts from the  webinar. With a shift in mind (one that you would like to put into practice or embed deeper into your teaching practice), explore the social studies resources listed below. 
Find at least two resources that would help you move your practice forward. Share the resources you found the most impactful with your collaborative team, a summary of what you discovered, and how you plan to use the resource in shifting instruction in your classroom, and/or how a resource could be used as a formative or summative assessment.



Strategies/Short Video Clips:
Graphic Organizers:
Summarizing Post: As a team, summarize your discussions and questions that arose in this section.  Share these as well as the resources from  Engagement 3 that your team found most impactful in shifting instruction in a new blog post in your group space. Include the topic tag "Connecting SS and ELA.



In this investigation, the shifts in ELA with an emphasis in social studies instruction to move your teaching practice forward was emphasized. 
  • Together, refine and improve a lesson you currently have by emphasizing the ELA shifts and social studies disciplinary strategies from this investigation. For a collection of lesson planning templates and guides, click here.  
  • Develop a formative or summative assessment combining  literacy and disciplinary social studies skills.

Upload your artifact (lesson or assessment) by posting a new blog in your team's group space. The title of your blog should include the lesson or assessment name, the body should contain a brief description of the lesson or assessment, and the lesson can be uploaded as an attachment. Tag your post with "Connecting SS and ELA Artifact."

What? So What? Now What?
As a group, discuss the following questions:
What? Think about this investigation holistically.  What did you learn about working as ELA standards shift in relationship to Social Studies?  How can you support the C3 Framework through the lens of literacy integration?
So What? Why do you think connections cross curriculum matter?  How is connecting literacy and social studies more powerful than having the subjects isolated?   
Now What?  After sharing and creating a lesson and/or assessment with your collaborative team, use it in the classroom and discuss as a team the outcomes (successes, challenges, and lessons learned or changes you’ll make).

Develop a thoughtful, collective response to post as a new discussion forum post in the Coach-to-Coach Discussion Forum in the Literacy in Learning Exchange.  Include "Connecting SS and ELA" in your title.  Choose a colleague's post and provide feedback via the comment function.