Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.
- National Council for the Social Studies Definition of Social Studies
What are best practices in the teaching and learning of social studies?
- Best Practices in Social Studies - Developed by the Iowa Social Studies Leadership Team, this document outlines the research-based best practices in social studies.
- Best Practices in Social Studies Rubric - This rubric accompanies the Best Practices in Social Studies document. It can be used by an individual teacher, PLC, or district wide to evaluate if best practices are the focus of social studies instruction.
- A Vision of Powerful Teaching and Learning in the Social Studies - This vision statement, developed by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) describes what powerful teaching and learning in social studies should look like.
What tools exist to support districts as they think about a comprehensive K-12 social studies system?
- What do standards really mean? Unpacking standards and having discussions about what the standards mean is a vital process. Check out examples of unpacking standards from North Carolina.
- Does your district have a scope and sequence guide social studies K-12? If not, here are some tools for creating a scope and sequence guide in social studies.
- The curriculum revision process is an important component of ensuring a viable and rigorous curriculum for each and every student in a school setting. The Checklist for Social Studies Curriculum guides districts through a comprehensive process when they are undergoing the social studies curriculum revision process.
- Modeled after the EQuIP rubric in ELA/Literacy, Mathematics, and Science, the Rubric to Evaluate the Quality of Units in Social Studies helps teachers and districts evaluate the quality of instructional units in social studies.
- Elementary Social Studies: Strategies for Strengthening Teaching & Learning, a white paper describing the problems facing elementary social studies education and works to address these problems.
- Social studies provides a rich avenue for students to engage with multiple primary and secondary sources. The creation of text sets is one way to ensure students access authentic, complex texts. See a Guide to Creating Text Sets.
- The Instructional Practice Guide for 6-12 History/Social Studies is a tool for teachers or district leaders to use in order to observe a lesson and provide feedback or to guide lesson planning and reflection.
What are some general social studies instructional resources I can use?
- Doing Social Studies Video Series
- Concept-Based Instruction
- Inquiry-Based Instruction
- Discussion Strategies in Social Studies
- Notable Social Studies Trade Books For Young People - A list of trade books in social studies published by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).
- State and National Social Studies Websites