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I’ve been looking over the Teaching History with Technology website, adding several of the referenced lessons and activities to the Ohio Resource Center’s social studies collection. I’d like to share information about this one-stop resource that can help teachers incorporate technology more effectively with instruction. The website offers links to lesson plans, activities, projects, games and quizzes, all of which involve the use of technology and encourage inquiry. You can also find out more about blogs, podcasts, wikis, social networks, Google Docs, ebooks, online maps, virtual field trips and screencasts. Lessons and Activities are included for World History, AP History, U.S. History, Geography, Economics and Civics. This brief video offers some great ideas for using multimedia presentations in the history classroom. http://thwt.org/index.php/presentations-multimedia Spend some time browsing the center’s home page! http://thwt.org/

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Ohio eTextbook Pilot The Ohio Resource Center is working with the Ohio Board of Regents on the Ohio eTextbook Pilot, a $6 million grant program funded by the State of Ohio. The pilot is designed to facilitate the purchase of digital texts, electronic educational content, and professional development and training resources. All Ohio public school districts and chartered nonpublic schools are eligible to apply. The submission period is January 27, 2014–March 7, 2014. For grant information, contact Anna Bendo by e-mail at abendo@oh-tech.org or by phone at 614-466-0883. For information about electronic content, contact Nicole Luthy by e-mail at nluthy@ohiorc.org or by phone at 614-247-6347. Learn more at ilearnOhio at http://www.ilearnohio.org/etextbook/. For digital K–12 content publishers: Interested in increasing your sales in Ohio? If so, become an ilearnOhio content provider. Contact us at web@ilearnohio.org to learn how your digital educational products can be vetted for inclusion in the repository and made available to Ohio schools and districts.

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A large part of my job here at the Ohio Resource Center is reviewing digital resources for social studies. I stumbled upon one recently that’s just full of instructional possibilities! The Knoema World Data Atlas is a knowledge platform  (pronounced ‘No Ma’) that offers a plethora of social, economic, geographic and political data on every country of the world and connects that data to analytical and presentation tools. It represents a uniformed platform where users can access, present and share data-driven content. You can access data from multiple sources, assemble relevant indicators in one space, visualize  figures, apply analytical functions, create a set of dashboards and present your results. Knoema includes more than 500 interactive data sets! I played around a bit with several of them, comparing  things like water consumption, expenditures on education as percentage of GDP, land use, poverty levels and telecommunication in as many as five different areas of the world. I was then able to view the results as a table, map or chart. The intelligent search feature allows you to filter data by world region, country or time period. You can even comment on the data you collect and interact with other users. The most obvious connection to Ohio social studies is with grades 5-6 (Regions and People of the Western and Eastern Hemisphere) where students identify, describe, classify and compare regions, but the resource would certainly be helpful with American and World History as the data can be filtered by time period. Here’s a sample: Western Hemisphere Population Density Register for free access at http://knoema.com/atlas    

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While participating in this year’s Ohio Center for Law Related Education Conference, I got the chance to hear Jane Ann Craig from the Texas center. She offered some great activities for students as they read the Articles of Confederation and evaluate its impact on the US Constitution. With her permission, I want to share some of those strategies with you… The first activity has students looking at teacher prepared-cards with excerpts from the Articles of Confederation (#2,5,7,9,10).  Each small group analyzes one of the articles to complete a portion of the class Advantages/Disadvantages chart, which lists the articles down the left  and these categories across the top: Advantages to States, Advantages to National government, Disadvantages to States, Disadvantages to National Government. Following an overview of the U.S. Constitution and its provisions, have students complete a comparison chart , identifying a problem associated with #2,5,7,9,10 and the solution provided by the U.S. Constitution. In the final activity, students are provided with a list  of the 10 commonly accepted weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and they identify the Article and Section of the Constitution that resolved that issue and explain it in their own words. Activities such as these help students organize information and look more deeply into the reading…

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“The New Age of Exploration ” is this year’s theme for Geography Awareness Week happening November 17th through the 23rd. Celebrated along with the National Geographic Society’s 125th Birthday,  this year’s theme highlights the way geography enables us all to be explorers. Peruse the rich archive of past Geography Awareness Week materials that are posted there, including a toolkit, a new collection of resources about Geography as a field and discipline and  additional tips and tools to plan your own GAW activities! No time for Geography? Check out the Common Core ELA and Geography connections at Common Core English Language Arts and Geography  and integrate it!        

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According to the National Council for the Social Studies, an effective citizen is able to: Understand and embrace democratic ideals; Accept responsibility for personal, family and community well-being; Understand how individuals, history and traditions impact the world. Understand our nation’s founding documents, civic institutions and political processes; Develop an awareness of issues and events that affect people; Seek information from a variety of sources and perspectives to establish an opinion or solve a problem; Ask appropriate questions in the process of evaluating information; Use effective decision-making skills to solve problems; Collaborate in an effective manner and actively participate in groups. [1] NCSS further recommends that citizenship education happen at every level, be assimilated across the curriculum and that students be given various opportunities to participate in the community and school. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills suggests that Civic Literacy involves: Participating effectively in civic life through knowing how to stay informed and understanding governmental processes; Exercising the rights and obligations of citizenship at local, state, national and global levels; Understanding the local and global implications of civic decisions. Engage Your Students Students are actively engaged through the use of critical questions, where they are asked to take a position on an issue, support that position with evidence, engage in discussions about it with peers and then revisit to establish personal meaning.  To take it to the next level, students might present their positions to a policy board. The New Academic Content Standards for Social Studies in Ohio include Citizenship Participation and Skills that scaffold across K-12 instruction. Those skills are included under the Civic Participation and Skills topic of the government strand for K-8 and under the Civic Involvement and Civic Participation and Skills topics of the high school American Government course. K-2 Kindergarten 9. Individuals have shared responsibilities toward the achievement of common goals in homes, schools and communities.10. The purpose of rules and authority figures is to provide order, security and safety in the home, school and community.   Grade One 8. Individuals are accountable for their actions.9. Collaboration requires group members to respect the rights and opinions of others. 10. Rules exist in different settings. The principles of fairness should guide rules and the consequences for breaking rules. Grade Two 10. Personal accountability includes making responsible choices, taking responsibility for personal actions and respecting others.11. Groups are accountable for choices they make and actions they take.   3-5   Grade 3 9. Members of local communities have social and political responsibilities.10. Individuals make the community a better place by solving problems in a way that promotes the common good. Grade 4 15. Individuals have a variety of opportunities to participate in and influence their state and national government. Citizens have both rights and responsibilities in Ohio and the United States.16. Civic participation requires individuals to make informed and reasoned decisions by accessing and using information effectively.17. Effective participants in a democratic society engage in compromise. Grade 5 11. Individuals can better understand public issues by gathering and interpreting information from multiple sources. Data can be displayed graphically to effectively and efficiently communicate information.   ORC Resources to Support Instruction #14802 http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/TLRESOURCES/units/Gallagher2004fall/responsiblecitizen.pdf This teacher-developed unit examines the question, “How Can I Be a Responsible Citizen for the Common Good?” It is designed to increase student knowledge and understanding about the concepts, roles, responsibilities, and rights that align with U.S. citizenship through voting, flag etiquette, and service learning. #14797 http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/Lessons/1448.htm “Citizenship For All” is a lesson that  helps students understand the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of United States citizenship. Students use a graphic organizer to display information about their rights and responsibilities and then apply what they have learned to write a persuasive essay. #15490 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html This US Central Intelligence Agency database provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. It features maps including major world regions, physical and political, standard time zones as well as flags of the world. Another valuable feature is the country comparison pages, which includes presorted lists of data. Students could organize this data to identify and describe various regions within the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.   6-8   Grade 6 9. Different perspectives on a topic can be obtained from a variety of historic and contemporary sources. Sources can be examined for accuracy. Grade 7 16. The ability to understand individual and group perspectives is essential to analyzing historic and contemporary issues. Grade 8 18. Participation in social and civic groups can lead to the attainment of individual and public goals.19. Informed citizens understand how media and communication technology influence public opinion.   ORC Resources to Support Instruction #15751 https://beyondthebubble.stanford.edu/assessments/perspective-slavery This constructed response question from Stanford University’s Beyond the Bubble requires students to examine the relative strengths and weaknesses of a document as evidence by considering the document source. The process modeled with this topic could be used with other sets of documents. #15136 http://www.learner.org/courses/amerhistory/units/4/themes/1.html This instructional unit, Revolutionary Perspectives, provided by Annenburg Media, highlights the relationship between the Enlightenment and the American Revolution. #15693 http://www.k12.wa.us/SocialStudies/Assessments/Elementary/ElemCivics-YouDecide-CBA.pdf In this classroom based assessment recommended for gradefrom Washington state, students are required to make an informed decision on a public issue after researching and discussing different perspectives on this issue. Students must provide specific details and commentary for each stakeholder’s position and explain how it relates to the common good. A local issue could be used.   American Government   Civic Involvement 1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes. 2. Political parties, interest groups and the media provide opportunities for civic involvement through various means. Civic Participation and Skills 3.  Issues can be analyzed through the critical use of information from public records, surveys, research data and policy positions of aadvocacy groups.4.  The processes of persuasion, compromise, consensus building and negotiation contribute to the resolution of conflicts and differences.             ORC Resources to Support Instruction #14900 http://congress.indiana.edu/e-learning-module-the-importance-civic-participation This e-learning module from the Center on Congress at Indiana University was developed for students as well as the general public. The interactive learning activity is designed to show how important individuals are to the American system of government. http://www.icivics.org/teachers/lesson-plans/students-engage In this lesson students brainstorm a list of local problems and action steps that they might take to solve these problems. After analyzing the concept of problem/solution alignment, students select a problem of their own and create an action plan to solve the problem. #14206 http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/links-to-the-news/24121/republican-democratic-convention-history-1856-2008/ This blog post provides resources about the US Republican and Democratic Party national conventions from 1856-2008. Resources include The Political Graveyard, candidate speeches, video clips as well as party platforms. The information is detailed, but could be adapted for use in the classroom.   The following resources may prove helpful as you plan lessons and activities around citizenship: http://congress.indiana.edu/e-learning-module-the-importance-civic-participation http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/TLRESOURCES/units/Gallagher2004fall/responsiblecitizen.pdf http://www.voicesofyouth.org/ http://pbskids.org/democracy/parentseducators/citizenshipcity.ht…   Also, be sure to check out the following resource collections at the ORC!   Constitution Day http://www.ohiorc.org/bookmark/view_a_folder.aspx?uid=28003&folderID=28227 Bill of Rights/Law Day http://www.ohiorc.org/bookmark/view_a_folder.aspx?uid=28003&folderID=26799   [1]Adapted from NCSS Position Statement Creating Effective Citizens, May 2001

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If you’ve been following this blog lately, you realize that I’ve been looking at non-fiction texts for use in the social studies classroom. While looking yesterday at books on the Eastern Hemisphere, I made a couple of observations about the selection process. First, It’s often interesting to look at the background of a series creator . I first looked at several books about Australia. The first thing I noticed was the large number of colorful images. Each book focused on the geography, topography, climate, flora, fauna, and population of the continent of Australia. In one of the books there were more images than text! It was in trying to establish the credentials of the second book’s (Australia the Land) author that I stumbled upon the following information about the creator of The Lands, Peoples, and Culture Series: Bobbie Kalman had immigrated to Austria during the Hungarian Revolution! In fact, she authored a book titled Refugee Child about this childhood experience. Maybe it would lead to another connection for social studies content! Yes, 6.7! Political, environmental, social and economic factors cause people, products and ideas to move from place to place in the Eastern Hemisphere in the past and today. When I next looked at the books on Africa, I learned another lesson about the process. It takes time to locate books that reach the complexity of Ohio’s New Standards for Social Studies! The second book I reviewed included information on African costumes, connecting their evolvement through past cultures. At last, a book that reached the cognitive level of Ohio Social Studies 6.8! Modern cultural practices and products show the influence of tradition and diffusion, including the impact of major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism). In one of the books in the series, Cultures and Costumes of Their Period: Africa, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at George Washington University, Robert Lee Humphrey, Jr., was consulting editor. The book focuses on regions of Africa and establishes rich connections between past and present. This work is getting very interesting!

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I just watched a video in which Historian Sam Wineburg explains the process historians use to investigate what happened in the past. Focusing on the question of what really happened at the Battle of Lexington in 1775, the video reveals that historical evidence is often contradictory, but may be all that historians have to go on. Using the same questions that historians use to inquire about the past, we begin to see history as an engaging investigation. The video provides a clear explanation of sourcing, contextualizing, close reading and corroborating, and includes audio of historians describing each step of the process as it relates to the Battle of Lexington. This would be a great introduction to historical thinking for your students! Check it out at http://historicalthinkingmatters.org/why/  

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I’ll be presenting July 31st at Hilliard’s Innovative Learning Conference and thought it  helpful to post my participant materials on the Let’s Talk Social  Studies Blog for ease of access. The links below provide access to the PowerPoint for the Using Multi-genre Text Sets with Regions and People of the Western and Eastern Hemisphere presentation, the text sets for Western and Eastern Hemisphere (grades 5 and 6 Ohio Social Studies), my resources list and templates for organizing sets. Text sets are a collection of fiction and nonfiction texts organized around a specific topic (or aspect of a topic) and are great tools for helping students explore social studies issues or concepts using information from multiple sources. Multi-genre text sets for social studies might include historical fiction and nonfiction, biographies, autobiographies, primary and secondary sources, illustrations, and poetry. In Expanding Comprehension with Multi -genre Text Sets, Maria Nichols suggests that “To do well in the future students will need to access and synthesize large amounts of information; think collectively, critically and flexibly; problem solve in novel situations; and communicate with clarity.” Students will need to be able to evaluate and think about large volumes of information and be able to use it meaningfully. For them to become responsible citizens in our participatory democracy, students will also need to be able to evaluate information critically. It’s important that sets be organized purposefully in order for students to be able to explore big ideas and develop critical thinking skills. The first step in organizing a collection is to identify instructional focus points for the unit. Next, select aligned resources and then plan the sequencing of lessons and activities. The multi-genre text sets for grades 5 and 6 linked below are the first of 7 sets for K-6 social studies.  I want to give credit to Susan Martin, who collaborated with me in the organization of  these resources. Look for the K-4 sets soon at  http://ohiorc.org/for/socialstudies/ Multigenre Text Sets for Social Studies PK-8 Social Studies Standards Updated July 2011 (5) Text Set Planning Template Western Hemisphere Multi-genre Text Set Eastern Hemisphere Multi-genre Text Set Resources  

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A great way to peak student interest in social studies is to introduce a topic with an appropriate work of fiction or non-fiction. As students become engaged by something they can relate to, they form questions that lead to further inquiry. One of our Ohio Resource Center Ambassadors, Shirley Herzog, a retired teacher, has graciously agreed to share her social studies reading enrichment lists, organized by topic for grades 7 and 8. While the lists reflect content from the 2003 standards, much of the content will align with the New Ohio Learning Standards: K-12 Social Studies. Also, books related to content that has been shifted upward or downward in grade level could benefit students as Hi-Lo books. Take a look at the lists and let me know what you think! 7th Grade Social Studies Reading Enrichment List By Genre 5[1] 8th SS Core Lit by Genre

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