Doing Social Studies: Teaching & Learning in the 21st Century


Professional Development Opportunities

Kansas State Social Studies Conference
February 23, 2015
McPherson, Kansas
There will be all sorts of sessions designed to help social studies teachers get better at their craft with a conference theme focused on the teaching and learning of historical thinking skills and assessments that measure those skills. You’ll get a full day of interactive sessions, lunch, vendors, and professional conversations.

Social Studies Best Practice: Ensuring Success Grades 6-12
April 8, 2015
Great Bend, Kansas
This workshop will acquaint participants with the Kansas HGSS standards adopted in 2013, what the standards look like in practice, and how to facilitate the transition from the specificity of the former tested indicators to the new assessment. State certified social studies trainers Kori Green and Adam Topliff will address the development of the new HGSS assessment and ways to integrate across content areas. Special focus will be given to ELA integration strategies.

Social Studies News

Global Exploration for Educators Organization runs professional development travel programs designed for teachers 

GEEO is offering the following travel programs for 2015: India/Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bali/Lombok, Italy, Eastern Europe, Portugal/Spain, Greece, Uzbekistan, Vietnam/Cambodia, Thailand/Laos, Belize/Guatemala, Morocco, The Baltics, China, Eastern Turkey, Western Turkey, Zambia/Botswana/Namibia/South Africa, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Peruvian Andes (Summer and Spring), Peruvian Amazon, and The Galapagos Islands. The registration deadline is June 1st.

Educators have the option to earn graduate school credit and professional development credit while seeing the world. The trips are 8 to 21 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to our amazing tour leaders, many of our programs are accompanied by university faculty that are experts on the places we travel to. Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at

How to spark personalized learning with idea books 
Fourth- and fifth-grade students in one Minnesota school are experiencing personalized learning by keeping digital query books, media specialist Cathy Knutson explains in this blog post. Knutson notes that students aren't used to developing and acting on their own ideas in school, and writes that the books take the pressure off to come up with "great" ideas.

Teaching the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework: Exploring Inquiry-Based Instruction
An indispensable guide for teachers implementing the C3 Framework, this new book from NCSS Publications consists of model lessons contributed by 15 of the best social studies curricular organizations. Each lesson encompasses the whole of the C3 Inquiry Arc from questioning to action. There are lessons for all grade bands from K-2 to 9-12, and the 15 lessons cover the range of C3 disciplines. Learn more and order the book.

Technology helps extend reach of international-studies class 
Students in an international-studies class at an Illinois school are using videoconferencing to connect with peers 7,000 miles away in Norway. Participating students call themselves "keypals" -- the modern-day version of pen pals. In a recent lesson, students talked about their favorite holidays and foods.

Ohio teacher uses technology to engage students in geography
Ohio social studies teacher Ryan Evart is using technology, such as Geographic Information Systems, to engage his students while they cover geography in class. During the GIS lesson, students worked in teams on a project in which they placed icons over buildings and viewed images of the locations while using Google Earth on their iPads. "We can drop ourselves in India or China, and that is nothing that we could think about doing five years ago," Evarts said.

NCSS webinar series -- Get Digital with Discovery Education and NCSS
Are you looking for more digital sources for your Social Studies class? If so, you may benefit from this webinar series being presented by Discovery Education's Dan Byerly, in conjunction with NCSS. In this three part series, we will focus on: Unlocking the C3 Framework with Digital Resources: What is Social Studies Inquiry in the Digital Age? Five Keys to Digital Social Studies: How can I use digital tools to enhance Social Studies instruction and develop strong thinkers, readers, and writers? Reflections from the Classroom: How are teachers across the country using digital resources in their classrooms?

History teacher develops civic course for N.J. high school
First-year African-American studies and U.S. history teacher Jerell Blakeley has helped create an elective course to encourage civic engagement among 10th- through 12th-graders in a Trenton, N.J., high school. Other districts have expressed interest in the class, which will cover local government and civic journalism. Political figures will be guest speakers, and the course will be taught by a fellow teacher.

Ind. high-school students interview local WWII veterans for film
After being asked by the Marshall County Historical Society Museum to create a film for visitors, Indiana high-school students are working on a documentary about more than 40 local World War II veterans' experiences, which they hope to complete by Christmas. "The kids really started getting the idea that this isn't about school anymore. This isn't about grades or assignments," said Jeff Corso, social studies facilitator. "They're making history."