Social Studies Literacy and the CT Core

Social Studies Literacy and the CT Core


[Steve]: Tony Roy was the social studies teacher at the Connecticut River Academy so these are the folks that are on and on today should be a good webinar so folks, I’ll turn it over to you as always if you have questions don’t be afraid to write the
chat questions in the chat box and we will get it. Thank you. Go ahead, guys, it’s yours.
[Tony]: All right, let’s move to the next slide then. Ok, you’re up.
[Kate]: Ok thanks. Our goals today are to look at what
we define as literacy in the social studies and it’s more than just reading
and writing and my colleagues Kelly and Tony have done some amazing research on
this and we’re also going to connect common core standards to Connecticut’s
social studies frameworks. Next slide please. Our agenda is to start out with
just looking at what we define as literacy- what do we mean when we say
literacy? Then we have three specific examples connecting literacy
standards to our social studies frameworks one in the third
grade classroom, another in the eighth grade classroom, and finally in a high
school setting. We had originally put here that we’re
connecting to college and university work and then we will have some
resources for applying Connecticut social studies frameworks. Next slide please. [Tony]: What we see here is basically a
table that shows the connections between the c3 frameworks and the Common Core anchor standards for ELA and literacy. What you can see here is that each of
the dimensions that’s listed for inquiry, dimension one, two, three, or four, aligns pretty well with the anchor standards for the common core. People
that wrote the c3 document- that career and college readiness, excuse me, career,
college, and civic life frameworks basically said that there were several
standards that were at the anchor, at the base of everything that we do here in
social studies and in that, actually the c3 builds upon that and we’re going
to learn just a little bit more about that as we
go through. [Kelly]: Hi. If you’re looking to make a more
specific connection to the common core standards, I would suggest looking
at the anchor standard on writing because that is the one where you can
see researching to build and present knowledge. As a school library media
specialist, I would argue that we definitely sort of support more
specific skills in research and inquiry that are listed in the common core and
so that’s why it’s really helpful to use the c3. If you are looking to connect the
dimensions and our standards, I just want to give you an example of
what this looks like in our state frameworks and if you would like to
right now, if you’re looking for a younger grade
level to see the example that i have posted there, look at page 20 in our state frameworks
or if you’re looking more for a high school level example you can look at
pages 102-3 and there are some civics examples but I just wanted you to see
how explicitly we connect the Connecticut core standards to inquiry in
our new state frameworks. When we think of literacy in the social studies I think that social studies teachers
automatically think of research and inquiry which is why I’ve put there for you the crosswalks links if you would like
more information on that with the American Association of School
Librarians did was make connections between the common core
and more specific research and inquiry skills that might not be listed in the
common core. So feel free to go ahead and browse
those if you would like to we put the link for our presentation at the
beginning. When you are looking on at the Connecticut social studies state frameworks, it does specifically state how we are going to connect the Connecticut core
standards to social studies literacy skills and we would like to tell you more about
that as you continue with this presentation. [Tony]: Ok. Back about a year ago, Kelly and I and
about five other educators from across the state of Connecticut engaged in this process where we
actually studied literacy in the social studies for just about a year,
actually. Basically we work with teachers from
various grade levels in various districts around the state about, you
know, when there’s probably about 15 of us we started in the end group was
probably about six or so, and when we began our inquiry into how does inquiry
in social studies work. One of the articles that we began with was this
article written by John Lee and Cathy Swan which was written in 2013 explaining
how the Common Core was good for the social studies, but did not go far enough
when defining competencies needed for career, college, and civic life. There’s a couple quotes that I want to
share with you so one of the quotes from the article says, “The Common Core State
Standards present a unique challenge for social studies educators,” and those
unique challenges as described in the article really talk about the adjustment to
meet literacy demands and also conflict with other tested subjects,
especially in the at the elementary level. Another quote that I found those
very striking was that the Common Core State Standards have provided an
opportunity for social studies educators to reframe literacy instruction in a way
that allows social studies to regain a more balanced and elevated
role in the k-12 curriculum. So this does not shy away from
literacy but actually defined literacy for social studies purpose. John Lee and Cathy Swan argued that the
Common Core provides an incomplete set of competencies. The article
goes on to outline three important ways that the college, career, and civic life
framework builds on the common core: number one is to elevate literacy to
meet the purpose of academic inquiry in civic action, number two is to expand the disciplinary
context to give equal footing to civics, economics, geography, and history, and
number three is details, literacies that are
essential for college, career, and civic life. On your screen here I basically have
the 25 literacies that John Lee Cathy Swan list out and you can see that 13 of of the literacies on the left hand
side have all to do with inquiry so this would be dimensions 1 3 & 4 and the
Disciplinary literacies would be the one of the twelve that on the right side
which is basically housed in a in dimension two. If you can move on to the
next slide please. You can see that here’s the overview of
the dimensions. If you’ve seen other webinars this is just a quick review. I
think we’ve had this in every one of the presentation so far so
just a quick review: asking questions of planning inquiries, applying
disciplinary concepts and tools, evaluating sources and using
evidence, and then finally communicating conclusions and taking action. Next slide please. So, here are the 13 inquiry literacies
just kind of laid out and you can see I brought put them down by dimension so you can really see how they play out
and how we are teaching social studies literacies at every stage of
the game. So questioning would be literacy all the way down again to
taking informed action. Next slide please. And then you can see
here, here the 12 disciplinary literacies just broken up by content area: civics, economics, geography, and history. Basically shown here, literacy is
broken down by the four disciplines and for more in-depth discussion of
dimension two, please reference the webinar recorded on a March 15 and we
can go on to the next slide please. This is a link at the bottom here to the
work that we did on the literacy exchange, again like I said it, went over an entire year. We started off by determining exactly what the needs
were in our state when it comes to inquiry in social studies and then we
work for, the entire year really, doing readings and posting a blog post and
discussions and resources to our literacy in learning exchange, which is basically
open to everyone, is for free. All you have to do is register and you can have
access to all of the materials that we
use for this entire process and I would say there’s probably over 25
resources for anyone that’s interested in learning more about disciplinary
literacy or literacy in general, and also by the end of the project, we ended
up creating were, I think five or six literacy, actually they were toolkits-inquiry toolkits. So if you can actually go to this link
right here, this is Google link that you have here, you can have access to
all of these and the literacy toolkits that we put together. You’ll find, again, all the work that we did over that 11 month period. You can go to the next slide please. [Steve]: Tony, could I interrupt just one second, I apologize. That work also, by the end of this
week, all of the ones that you did and some that Kate did will be on the
State Department of Education website as well. [Tony]: Oh great. So those will be
accessible to anybody.
[Steve]: and some work that you guys did, that Kate did will all be on the website, by friday
at the latest, you can find them on our website, too.
[Tony]: Oh, that’s beautiful. Well if you go on to the next slide, I’m
actually going to break down the toolkit piece by piece just to kind of give
you an idea of how they work. So basically what you have here is on
the far left-hand side you have, I mean we just picked an image, this is
actually an image of some materials that were created by like Pratt & Whitney
back in the day and basically you can see here that we have are compelling
question up at the top. We have exactly which content standard that we’re teaching to and if you look in the middle here this
is like an overview of what page one looks like and then you can see on the
far right-hand side i have basically what each of the sections are. Section
one basically outlines, again, the compelling question, the content indicator,
and how you’re going to stage the question, so there’s an activity on how
to stage the questions for the compelling question so students get into
it. Section 2 outlines the supporting
questions the performance task, and
also of featured resources. Then finally in section 3 we have the
summative performance task and also taking informed action. So this is basically an overview of what
any of the inquiry toolkits, what they look like- this one page overview with the sources and the
questions that are needed to go ahead and perform an inquiry within your
classroom. I wouldn’t say that this is a document
that you would use to, you would just take this one pager and then teach
directly off of it, you’d have to probably, you know, work see what works for your
students, what their strengths are, what they need to work on and then devise a lesson that would help meet these goals on your own. You
can go and move on to the next slide. I’m actually going to just break down each part piece by piece. The next part we have here, we have
just section 1 which the compelling question, content standard, and staging the
question activity. This is actually a toolkit that was
designed for a third grade, this was created by Jennifer Murrihy, who is a great teacher
who works over at ACES. Basically you can see here that we
have the the content standard and we have the staging the question. You can move on to the next slide. In section 2 we have, again this is just
just a quick overview of what it looks like, we have supporting question 1, which
is, “What is an economy,” and then we have here is a formative performance task
where they’re identifying the goods and services
needed to load larger cedar into a truck for transport and then here are some
sources that you can look at to go ahead and help the students meet that
performance tasks which also lines up with that supporting question. And then
you’ll notice here that each of the supporting questions actually, well, supports the compelling question and
I don’t want to go too much into this because this was actually kind of talked
about- the relationships and compelling and supporting questions- in an earlier
webinar, but you can see here each of the formative performing tasks are supported by these different featured sources. Alright, you can go on to the next slide. What we have here for section
three, basically, we have the summative performance task laid out; It says here, “argument,”
where this is this is the thing that you’re really going to be grading them
on this is we’re going to probably need to make your rubrics to make sure that
they’ve they’ve met the standard of what we’re trying to teach. We
also suggesting extension activities where, okay, you can take students, maybe
students that are a little bit moving quicker or, a whole class,
maybe, that wants to take their learning to the next level, take it
outside the classroom and share the work. And finally we provided taking
informed action suggestions in each one of these toolkits. And you can go on to the next slide. [Kelly]: We would like to take some time now to ask questions to the group. If you are listening to us live, you are welcome to
chat in your responses, please just put the number to the
question that you are answering. This, right now, would also be a good time if
you’re listening to the recording, to pause and have a discussion with your
colleagues especially if you’re meeting with your department. I’m going to refer you back to an
earlier slide from the presentation where we have listed the c3 inquiry and
disciplinary literacies and so those were the 25, the long list that Tony had
referred to. So we’re just wandering, to the people listening, which of these literacies do you spend
the most time teaching? Feel free to chat in any responses.
Which literacies do you want instructional strategies for? This will
help you at your own school or district and it will also help us to create more
resources as we go along, and what’s working in your classroom? What is successful in your own classroom
with regards to teaching any of these literacies? I’ll give about a minute to see if we
get any responses. Thank you. When we get to the end of the
slides here, you will see that we have some resources and I know for making
claims definitely is a resource on their through Odell that is very helpful, but I
see mentioned here gathering and evaluating sources comes up a lot,
constructing arguments, and so hopefully some of these examples will come through
in our case studies for different grade levels that we are going to look at next, but feel free to continue to pause if
you are listening to the recording and discuss further with your department, thank you. [Kate]: If we can move to the next slide,
thanks. This is a unit that I developed, I’m Kate,
with my eighth-grade colleague, Greg Cumpstone, who contributed many of the
resources and helped me to refine this unit. The compelling question that we came up
with, we started with trying to think about several questions that could be
asked about the Great Depression, and we came up with this one, actually the
original one is, “Was President Roosevelt right to adopt Keynesian economic theory
and change the role of government in our lives?” The supporting questions for this that
we thought students would need to understand these questions in order to
answer the compelling questions are, “How did the Great Depression effect
Americans,” “How is Roosevelt’s idea different than
Hoover’s,” and, “How does deficit spending affect our lives today?” At the same time,
we looked to see whether or not we would have enough sources and i’ll explain the
sources in just a moment. Next slide please. As I look at a unit, I think about the
shifts that the Common Core has made in our teaching and I find that the c3 has
really helped me to reach some of the needs of my students and my colleagues in the
common core. When I look at the common core there are
three major shifts. The first one has to do with the use of vocabulary, the next
one has to do with the use of text evidence, for example, students describe
how the Great Depression effected people through the words of people
during the Great Depression. A woman named Vera wrote to the Roosevelts and said, “Although I’m in my third year of unemployment, I still have hope.” Finally, students build their
knowledge about the Great Depression through content-rich nonfiction, so they’re learning about history by
reading actual sources from history. The inquiry arc incorporates much of
these three shifts. We’ve just gone over the dimensions, I should mention, though, that dimension
one says developing questions and planning inquiry question should be meaningful,
relevant, and kid friendly and that compelling question that I spoke a
moment ago may not be fully understood by students and so we got adapted that
question to, “Was Roosevelt right to change the role of government in our
lives?” And if I really need to adapt it further, I will say, “If a presidential candidate
today proposed the New Deal should I vote for him or her?” So you
can change your compelling question to make it more kid friendly. Applying disciplinary tools and
concepts is to analyze the connections among events and development of
historical context. Evaluating sources and using
evidence, of course, connects back to the common core and finally, communicating
conclusions and taking informed action also connects to the common core with
argument writing and informational writing. Next slide please. Here is the list of sources. When Greg
and I sat down, we thought through several possible questions and then we
made our question meaningful, relevant, and kid friendly and we looked to see if we
had enough sources so that a student could actually argue on both sides of
this issue, or rather as each student would choose the side that they felt was
most compelling. We have a collection of primary sources
listed at the top here, including some letters to the Roosevelts, FDR’s inaugural
address, which is the one where he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Greg found a collection of photographs
and political cartoons about the Great Depression from the Great Depression era
and also the current u.s. debt clock. Now we added to that some secondary sources
to help students understand the concepts just a little better; next slide please. To start the unit, we actually began the
students with the letters and the letters are written, there are a variety of perspectives, as
you can see on this slide, they’re mostly written at the student’s level
it’s good for a middle school level and working in groups the students can
compare and contrast the experiences of people. Next slide please. When I mentioned that this is at a good
level for my middle school students, what I’m talking about here is that the
reading level is on a level that the students should be able to handle
independently. The particular letter here written by a woman named Vera when I
measured it by using microsoft word I was able to see that quantitatively it
measures are the flesh Kincaid level of 5.9 which is almost sixth grade, my
students are 8th graders, so hopefully they would not have a problem with that. The
common core though has us look at more than just that quantitative measure. For example, the
qualitative features: well this is a letter, the words read
as if spoken, so it’s a very comfortable and familiar style of writing. There are a few spelling errors, but the
words can be identified phonetically. There’s a clear purpose why they’re
writing to the Roosevelts and there’s really general knowledge demands about
the nineteen thirties. The students, the reader, and task
considerations which I would also look at when assigning a reading, are that
students are reading the words of real Americans and they’re looking for the
challenges that are being faced. Next slide please. Another very accessible slide, sorry, very accessible format is
these pictures and some political cartoons. I really like using the National
Archives photo analysis worksheet and I think the students enjoy it too because
it makes all of it accessible to the students. Now in these first two sections, the
letters and the photographs, I can’t say that I’m really stretching
or pushing my students’ reading, that is going to happen actually in the next
source that we use. In the next source that we use, the text complexity is
much higher. Next slide please. When I say the text complexity is much higher, I’m looking again at those three
different measures. I want to know the quantitative measure,
that’s the number, and you could use the lex aisle with a flush Kincaid or any
number of measures whichever you’re most comfortable with. Personally, I go into microsoft word
that’s the 1 I use. Then the qualitative features have to be analyzed: what’s the meaning or purpose of the
documents? What’s the structure of the document? So often primary sources do not have the same structure as say a textbook which is going to give you a
both kind of an outline format where they’re going to highlight important
words or they’re going to have major headings and then minor headings so often the structure is not that way
in a primary source which can make it harder. What’s the language being used? Historically, language has changed a lot
and some of the primary sources we might choose to use would be very difficult. Then finally, what are the knowledge
demands? And when I looked at what students needed to know in order to read FDR inaugural address, they really needed to understand what
Vera’s experience was in the letter and the images would really help students
understand what FDR was dealing with when he said that speech. The last piece is reader and task
considerations: what will challenge my students most in
the text and what supports can I provide, and how will this text help my students
build knowledge about the world; to look at that let’s look at the next slide
please. Here is a section of the inaugural
address and you’ll notice that it is a real document but what I’ve had to do to
make it accessible to 8th graders, originally this was on an 11th grade
level according to fresh Kincaid, to make it more accessible to eighth-graders is
to shorten some of the sentences, lift out some sections, so you’ll see
I’ve circled in red a few points where I actually lifted out some sections to
make it clear and that have also given students some vocabulary along the right
hand side so that they would be able to look over and make sense of the reading
somewhat independently. Next slide please. The way that I work
with a source that is challenging for students is to first read aloud to them,
so I would read that whole document aloud to students. Then the next step
for me is to use text dependent questions which push the students back
into the text. Text dependent questions are not right there questions; they’re
questions that really get the kids thinking and talking and puzzling
through a potential problem. They benefit from discussion. So on the slide here, I have an example of
the text on the right hand side and the question that I’m asking of this
text is on the left hand side in bold black. The question I’m asking here is
how is his idea revolutionary in paragraph seven, “The problem can be
accomplished in part by the government.” Do you agree or disagree with this
statement? Explain. This is really challenging because to
answer this question students really need to understand that
the founding of our country, the founding documents, and the founding
philosophies, and the economic theory that lasted us, for the most part, up
until this time was that the government will keep its hands off of the economy,
but here is Roosevelt speaking to people like Vera and people in the pictures and
saying that at this time government may need to step in. So this question gives students an
opportunity to compare laissez faire to the increased role of government that
FDR is calling for. Next slide please. Here’s the text complexity and at the
top line tells you that the flesh Kincaid was 8.3, which sounds like
it should be right for my eighth graders in january-february when i was doing
this, but it’s the qualitative features and the reader and task considerations
that make this a more difficult text. So while FDR is speaking to the
American people, some of his words are really advanced, even know he was
reaching out to them with his fireside chats. Some of the language in this
document is pretty tough, which means I wouldn’t ever send this
document home with kids and say, “Here, read this for homework tonight.” I want to
be there, I’m going to read it out loud to them,
I’m going to answer their questions about any work they don’t know, there are
dictionaries in the room- this is stuff any teacher would do. I
think that in order to understand what FDR is saying, they do need to have some
understanding of supply and demand, for me it’s from a previous unit. The structure of this speech is less
accessible than a narrative, than a story, or perhaps a small letter. Now students already know about the
economics of the nineteen twenties and they also have done a simulation
activity about a family cutting back on the budget due to the changes in the economy so that piece is going to be okay for them I think they can imagine what it
was like to be alive at the time. The task is to see what is the
president’s solution and evaluate is this a good idea? Next slide please. As far as literacy is concerned in the
social studies, I have students reading frequently,
sometimes independently, sometimes whole class, sometimes I’m in a small group. I
also have them writing frequently in order to document their learning; it
could be as simple as taking notes or writing a paragraph analysis of the
speech, or at the end of this particular unit, a culminating argument essay. In addition to students learning the
context of the New Deal, students specifically began to incorporate
contextualization into their writing with this unit and students were evaluating sources in
an annotated bibliography. Next slide please. So, to review, I look at the four dimensions in this
unit I came up with the compelling questions
that students are using and supporting questions. The disciplines that we were
working with include both history and economics and a variety of sources and
activities for both. The sources that we used we not only read, but we analyzed
and compared sources, we also evaluated which sources were stronger. Finally the communication for this
unit was to be writing an argument essay. So in this way, I was using common core
literacies within the c3. Next slide please. What I like about Kate’s example there
is how much she’s breaking down literacy skills in the classroom and I
would argue that at the same thing should be done at the high school level. My favorite thing about the c3 is that
our students should be engaging as if they are social scientists, especially
in inquiry, but that means that they really need to have a better grasp of
the disciplinary literacy skills and I think the most common that we probably
use in our social these classrooms will be research and so I’m going to talk a
little bit about how we should integrate literacy skills at a more
bite-sized level at the high school level, no matter what course you’re teaching. I think something that some of us might be familiar with, as an information
processing or a problem-solving model, is the big sticks that came out of the
University of Washington and that would start with you know defining your task, and then seeking
sources, locating and accessing them, using the information and then you get
to the part that’s a little bit more connected to the c3 which is taking
action. So you would present the information in some way and what I love about the last step of
the big six is that you would evaluate the effectiveness and the efficiency of
whatever you create, so to answer on one participant’s
question about taking action, I think that’s a really important part to,
you know, the point of what you’re trying to do with these literacy skills is at
the end how effective was was it whatever you
created or whatever action you took and is it is efficient. What I have found with
working with my colleagues at the high school level we created a team that have
representation from almost every discipline in the school building and
what we realized was that in order to be effective in inquiry or
taking action on for creating a product is we actually had to make the research
part much more bite-sized; we’re usually focusing on researching for a certain
end the goal and result but really we need
to focus more on the literacy skills at each step, so this is just an example
at the Connecticut River Academy of some suggested research steps so you can see
here how we’ve connected a very common social scientists skill, which is
to gather and evaluate sources, with the common core and so I’m just going to
focus on step two which is underlined there. And again, that’s just breaking it down
into one bite sized chunk. If you continue on to the next slide
please, you’ll see what this might look like in
a classroom. Ok, so this could be suggested resources
that you might use for that one skill of may be gathering and evaluating
information from sources. So again, no matter how old your
students are they still are going to need these literacy skills and bite
sized pieces so a suggested resource, from the school library media specialist
in me, is an interesting source called The Trails pre-assessment from Kent State
and that actually gets that a lot of the very specific disciplinary literacy
skills of research and if you look just at some other common examples
that we might be used to, you know, a parts for example or say/mean/matter, these are all things that are going to
help the students really evaluate what kind of information is coming from these
sources. One thing that I really like about breaking down the literacy skills at the high
school level is that you are able to provide more feedback on specific
standards, for example, if we go back to the other slide, at step two I can now give very specific
feedback about the core standards of ‘gather relevant information from
multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of
the source and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism’ and then the
second there ‘determined central ideas or themes of the text and analyze their
development; summarizing the key supporting ideas and details.’ I mean there’s a lot of skill involved
there and that’s only one tiny part of the entire research process and we
haven’t even put that into then taking action with it. The other thing that I really like about
breaking down the literacy skills at the high school level is that it provides
more time for self-reflection and I think that you will see better results
when students go to take action, they’ll have a better grasp of the
information and they’ll have to be more skilled ready to take that action. Thank you. [Kate]: So not that…we don’t want to jump around too much, but I did just want to make it clear that there are a lot of other
responsibilities we have as educators related to literacy and so I just wanted
to make sure that we were making those connections very clear between common
core, our state social studies standards, sorry, frameworks, and some of our
other responsibilities. For example with this slide here,
making connections to TEAM, I just wanted to show you in the
module three of planning for active learning, in module four for instruction,
how specifically you could connect the topic of literacy that we’ve gone over
today to the TEAM process, so if you are a new teacher, congratulations we’re happy to have you
as colleagues, but some of the stuff that we’ve talked about today, you might want to experiment with it and
research it further for your modules that you’re reflecting on for your
papers. So this will be a great way to go deeper into what we’ve talked
about in this webinar, we can move to the next slide, and make further connection to our
teacher evaluations. Again, very similar to what we just
spoke about for TEAM, but if we’re looking at planning for active learning
and inviting students to explain the contents to their classmates, I think that this is an excellent spot
to do that. When we were looking at all of the 25 literacies, whether inquiry or
disciplinary, if you start experimenting with that in your classroom more, it will
directly connect to a teacher evaluation in Connecticut. If there any questions about connecting the content from the webinar to teacher
evaluation or TEAM, feel free to make any questions on the chat or
discuss with your departments. [Kelly]: You can move forward to the resources now. If you look at the list here, this is
simply what we mostly referred to or relied on. I know the literacy exchange was what we
brought up at the beginning and what’s interesting about the literacy exchange is
you’re going to see information from different state’s groups and what they
produced, that their teachers wanted for the implementing c3, but you will
also see many other literacy projects that relate to our classrooms. Something
that I know I rely on especially for developing claims, evidence based
claims, would be the Odell Education Literacy Toolbox and we also of course
just want to make sure that you had access to the core standards, and where
our webinars are, and the social studies frameworks. Kate, did you want to say anything about your blog? [Kate]: Sure, it’s just a place that I
started putting all of the things that we’ve been learning over the past, you
know, four or five years both about the common core and about the c3 and I found
it that it’s really been a journey as I think about how and why children are
learning and so I’ve got a collection of resources that i recommend that many of
them I’ve learned from other social studies in the state…social studies teachers, excuse me, in the state and also some of the units that I’m
now feeling really comfortable about as far as applying inquiry and also making
sure that I’m helping students to improve their reading and writing, and
most importantly, helping students to become independent as they move forward
and are able to do more research and more evaluation on their own. Next slide please. [Tony]: Ok, so on this is just, now time for you to get involved you can follow the Connecticut Council for
the Social Studies on facebook and twitter to engage with other social
state educators and to get the latest information on professional development. Also, you can use #CTinquiryk12 to share how you and your students are using literacy and inquiry disciplinary skills in your of classroom. Next slide please. This here, we have the
State Department of Education website here also if you’re interested in
looking at some of the earlier of webinars, you can go right to this ctcorestandards.org site and we actually have all the previous four
webinars are posted there and this current webinar will be posted probably within the next few minutes, or so, next few days or so, excuse me. [Steve]: Tony, Kelly or Kate, can I ask you a
question? When I’m talking to, out in
districts, the teachers and this is a question sometimes caused by veterans,
usually veterans, and I’m not being negative to them in any way, but what would you respond to this: we’re spending so much time on these
skills that we’re losing count, that we need, we’re not spending enough
time on content. I hear that every once in a while; I’d just be
curious to know your reaction to that statement.
[Tony]: If I can comment just on being on these webinars. John Tully, who is a social studies, excuse me, a history teacher at Central, he would say that, you know, I
think that what’s really more important at the college level is that they’re able
to do these inquiry skills, these disciplinary literacies, that they’re able
to really analyze the source, and use that source to go to make a forceful
argument, that it is so much about getting into the concept, so I guess that
would be his perspective. I’m sure these other two panelists have more to say that.
[Kate]: I’d like that jump in and just say that what I found, what has made it really, really
exciting to me, is that students have much better recall when they’ve actually
spent time thinking about, processing, discussing, and then writing about a
topic, so my students are carrying the information forward and making
connections between different things that we’ve studied. For example, last fall
we did a unit about immigration that was very similar to the one I just described
about the Great Depression. Today, my students we were discussing the
Holocaust and questioning the voyage of the St. Louis and why America didn’t
accept these nine hundred German-Jewish people during the Holocaust and students
began to recall the anti-immigrant sentiment that was occurring to the
Chinese immigrants first, and then other immigrants later and they were really
making connections between the idea of immigration and when we should be
accepting more people and what makes us, as a nation, want to limit immigration. They also began to make connections with
Syria and so all of this work with students, the in depth reading and the in-depth
writing has made them think and make connections between
our lives today and previous units that we’ve studied. Another example is they know and
understand the Great Depression so well, one of the things they talk about is
well if the United States was suffering the Great Depression, then it made it
hard for Americans to look out and see, perhaps, some of the problems happening
in other places of the world. It’s not so much that we are looking to
place blame, but we’re looking to understand the context of history- how and when things were happening and I
just find himself so much more fluent in understanding these things now that
we’re taking the time to really investigate using inquiry. [Tony]: I like how you’re commenting, Kate,
about, you know, really getting deep into it, you know, depth over breadth, which I
think we say a lot but really I mean, I could just remember my high
school history class- I just remember we were kind
of blowing through it, I mean, especially when we got to fourth quarter and we realized that we were just getting into Vietnam and
and it was time to just kinda blow through as many events as possible and I
really wonder how much of that do I actually remember or did I actually
remember? Obviously, I went back and studied it at this point. But sometimes we’re so worried
about getting through or getting to the content that we really care about
because they need to know: the kids need to know this, or students need to know
that, but we really wanted to do is make sure they’re able to have those
thinking skills to be able to have those skills that going to take it and learn
more knowledge, not just when they’re in our classroom, but afterwards.
[Kelly]: To even get more specific about those thinking skills, Tony, I would argue that something
that I think all social scientists share is this this passion for knowing different
perspectives and making connections and if you control the content, too much of
what’s going on in social studies classroom and I think you’re kind of maybe cycling
that aspect a little bit. To give a very positive example, I think, of something
that’s very skill-based but that leads to such rich content knowledge and that
has been a long much longer than the c3, would be model UN. I mean when you look at how successful
model UN is, and I know from when I ran it and when I’ve seen other people run it, you don’t necessarily run it by giving
them all the content, first, you learn about every country in the world and
then you’re ready to do model UN, you really jump into the skill of listening
and researching and coming up with a position and trying to develop empathy
for the situation that a region might be in and look at the success and the
enjoyment that teenagers are getting out of model UN. And I just also
want to reiterate-what’s our purpose? If we look at civics and civic
responsibilities, I think that the students engage much
better when they feel a little ownership over what it is they’re
looking at and when they feel that their ideas are valued, and so I just have
found that, again, kind of what Kate was saying, is when you’re able to look into
one topic that you’re interested in, they are going to be able to recall the
information much better. [Steve]: Kate, Kelly, or Tony, any concluding comments? [Tony]: Yeah, I mean, we do have a
little bit time, I guess I have a question, maybe Steve can answer, or maybe somebody else can answer; I just put it into the little chat box over here, I wonder about, like okay, here’s what
I’m kind of posing this now I’m like a somewhat of an expert,
but I’m certainly not, so I’m should ask the question anyway: I wonder how this
compares to what’s happening within AP classes. I mean, isn’t there a
certain amount of material in a certain amount of time that you have to get
through it and then you have to to do well on these tests. How does
what we’re saying here for, you know, the focuses on literacy and inquiry skills,
how does that compare to what’s happening within the AP classes? I don’t teach AP, so I really don’t know.
[Steve]: Well the AP is changing to a less content base and anyone else from Ellington knows more than I do, please chime in,
but the AP is becoming less content based, but I would ask you:
the AP, what they called the DBQ, the document based question, this is a
standard of AP, where you ask the question ‘was the New Deal progressive?’ for the sake of argument and then you give students of eight documents and they
have to read the eight documents and then answer that question using information
from each document, do you consider that to be inquiry? The question is not posed by the kid, the question is posed and what the kids
have to do is use evidence to answer the question. Is that inquiry or no? [Tony]: I would probably say that it’s not like pure inquiry, like if we’re thinking about
what pure inquiry would be the students developing the questions and then
planning their research into it, but I would definitely say you’re using the
inquiry literacies or you’re using the disciplinary literacies
to get through that, I mean, we use document based question, all of my evaluations are based
off of that, so I live by the document based questions. We create them so it’s probably not at the same
level as AP or whatever but it’s definitely something we’re
doing, so I think that these skills are really, really valid and I think that my
administration finds that it’s very valid, so I think that’s also a good
thing and I think that it’s working out where we’re finding that
students that when they go ahead and take that SAT, that last part
of the SAT, now, which is that written piece I think that they’re
doing just as well on that as they were doing while my students were doing on the
CAPTs a few years ago where it was
read a couple articles and you write a position paper, so I mean, I think, that yeah, hundred percent pure inquiry doing it that way? No, but is it definitely basing off of
five or six of those inquiry skills that are really critical. [Kate]: I’d like to chime in here – I agree
completely with what Tony just said. I also think that inquiry, you can’t
just throw it open to the kids to come up with any question that they have,
inquiry needs to be taught and we need to work with students, for example, using the strategies at the right question institute or helping students
to understand and what economic thinking is, what kinds of questions with an
economist ask, or what kinds of questions would a geographer ask and
so I believe, and I could be wrong, but I believe that sometimes there’s a place
to provide a question and other times there’s a place to
provide a context and let students develop their own questions. But, I think it’s important to offer them
support as they go ahead and do that. [Kelly]: I’d like to add that what’s
important to me in this, and the fact that it’s 2016, is that we do
have a responsibility if they’re going to be a democracy to teach these
information literacy skills and I think that the social sciences are
really, are super equipped for that in our social studies classrooms. I’m thinking back, a few years, to a keynote address I heard where the theme of the conference was
that students used to be able to assume the authority of sources and now they
have to prove the authority of sources and so, I mean, if we are only teaching
content and not the inquiry disciplinary literacy skills then what happens when
they go home and they’re on their internet an information is flying at them so we really are equipping them, I think, for a
lifelong skill if we take the time to slow things down and again focus on
research and other literacy skills and then have them use that information to
take action and create a product as opposed to kind of assuming that they
can do the literacy piece and let’s jump into the content. [Steve]: Kelly, could I ask you, when you were a high school teacher, if you don’t mind me asking, a few years ago, did you do more content?
Have you changed in your approach to this? Back when you are a high school teacher, now you’re in a different role, did you
teach more content then than you would teach today? [Kelly]: it’s funny, Steve, I think I always took a more inquiry, student-centered approach and what we used to
laugh about is because some teacher would focus much more on
content, I’d have some students who took a while to really
build a relationship of trust because they’d say, “Can’t just sit here and have
you give me the information,” because for some of their experiences, that’s what
they were used to and so I kind of had to work hard to get them to want to
engage in the material in the way I was expecting because they wanted me to be
the expert who was just giving them the information, but I didn’t feel them like I was preparing them for college or career, whatever- any problem solving
that they would have to do in their life, adult life skills. So I even took it
to the step of even working on what kind of inquiry projects would fit which
class. So I used to teach in a more level environment and so that meant that I was
able to plan on inquiry kind of that work for each course, now that the school I’m in doesn’t level, it is a challenge to differentiate for these more project-based, for more project-based
learning, but I would stay one of my favorite examples would be in European
Studies working with an English teacher the students just kept bringing up language. They kept learning about the European literature and they kept
learning about European history, but they didn’t feel like they were getting
the modern information that they wanted and so we invented an inquiry project
for every quarter, different collaborative groups would work on
learning a little bit about language and think
there’s an interdisciplinary aspect of this that also, getting support from
other teachers in your building makes it easier for the students as well, but I
just know that those students have said that those projects, they remember more
than unfortunately some of the other stuff we did just because they kind of
got to invent it and control it and that’s what they were interested in, that’s what
they were asking for, and by no means was I able to speak all the languages that
the European Union uses, but at least now they left having a better understanding
of, you know, once we were at the point of modern Europe and looking at ‘what does this mean about sovereignty’ because they looked at the
languages, they just had a really, just a deeper understanding of it and and I
just never would have thought that would have come from language, but I listened to
what their questions were and we went for it and I think they had a really
good understanding of nationalism and some of the other themes that are
really abstract, that are hard to teach, but I went with what the 15 and 16 year
olds are asking about. Does that help, Steve? Do you have further questions?
[Steve]: No, that answers it. You know, so can I ask you again: when I say that we need to work on skills when I’m doing a workshop with
teachers, and someone raises their hand and says, ‘but kids today don’t know
anything, we’re creating a society that
doesn’t…we’re trying to do inquiry, they don’t know anything.’ What should be my response to them from your perspective?
[Kelly]: I personally, I think that okay if someone is saying that they don’t know anything, you need to pick one thing to work on so that you can give them
feedback on it and that’s why I would argue that the six or seven
steps that I had lifted on one of the previous slides for research, I mean just pick one thing to focus on so
that they can get better at least that one thing because if everyone in their
own discipline is focusing on literacy, which is what is happening with ELA,
what’s happening with the science next gen standards, I think, then I guess that
teachers and, they will know, but maybe breaking it down is the better thing,
instead of expecting them to know everything.
[Kate]: I was just going to jump in and say I disagree that students would not
know anything. What I’m really finding is that their
recall is so much better when they’ve actually applied and spent a few weeks
working with the materials, than when they just study it and then move on to
the next chapter in the book, which would be a very old fashioned way of
teaching, but that by using this style of teaching, they’re actually using the
information in that unit, and then again later, and they’re reflecting, and they’re
building, and so my students, I think, are much more likely to be recalling that
the information later. [Tony]: I think what’s interesting about that statement about the students don’t know anything is, or
they didn’t they just don’t know enough, I think that’s kind of like a value space kind of thing because what does that mean exactly? They
don’t know the things, they don’t know the information that YOU think is
important, you know, I mean, like what is that? It just seems like a very kind of obtuse, kind of, like, over generalized
statement they don’t know anything. I mean, what specifically are you
concerned with that they don’t know? I guess that’s my question, like
what specific things are you concerned with? And maybe as a department, or as a school, or that you
know the history department or social studies department, maybe you have to outline: ok, these are the 50 things that by the time they graduate
these kids have to know. You what I mean, like, maybe that’s the way to go because
to say they don’t know anything, well yeah, they don’t know as much as their teacher because the teacher went to high school, they
went to college, they have a specialization, yada, yada, yada, I mean, I
just think that if you’re concerned with a certain amount of content, then I think the social studies
department in your school needs to identify exactly what that content is
that you want students to walk away with and then figure out, okay well, how do we
teach that and also teach these skills that not only are the State
Department is saying, but also that businesses are saying that students, you know, they need to be able to read, and they need to be able to work with
different sources, they need to be able to communicate what their beliefs
are. I mean, this is where social studies it has it kind of that economic input, you know, or the economic output, I guess
you could say that we’re creating students that are ready for the economy,
ready to participate in the economy I mean, this is sad to say, but do
you need to know what year the Declaration of Independence was signed
to be a part of the economy? Probably not and that’s really unfortunate so if you think that there’s a certain amount that needs to
be known by everyone that’s coming out of your school then, again, I think
history departments should sit down, they should identify what those things
are, and they should teach that, but also don’t forget that businesses in the 21st century need these other skills, right, because we’re
falling behind in all of these other things.
[Kate]: And I would think too, Tony, when you were talking about the value space, I think I would start from if someone has this opinion that their students don’t
know anything, then do some inquiry and ask them what do they know? Because our classrooms are so diverse if someone is, maybe, in your in the country for the for the first three weeks and they’re in
your classroom, find out what they do know. I think that the thing I love
about social studies that we are able to make these connections, I think just hit to
any of their prior knowledge and work from there. I would just argue let everybody in the class share what their story and their background knowledge is
and make connections from there because then you’re modeling what we want from
our citizens in this country. [Steve]: As always, to be continued. Kate, Kelly, and Tony, thank you very
much for this. This to me, and I’m sure to the
folks listening, it was a very interesting webinar. Our next webinar, our final one
in this series, will be on May 3rd and it’s going to be social studies in the
elementary school- will be the topic of the last webinar. We’re also going to
have two webinar series starting in May: one is going to be on teaching the
2016 elections, one is going to be on teaching the Middle East and terrorism. Check out the Connecticut Council
for the Social Studies website to find out specific information on those and
they’ll be an eBlast going on the out as well. In addition, as noted before, on the
Connecticut State Department of Education website, will be either late
this week I think later this week or, at the absolute latest early next week, is the beginnings of what we call a
Companion Document, which will have inquiry lessons, units, and
assessments related to the frameworks. We’re collecting those all the
time, so that’s going to be a good section, that as a compliment to the state frameworks. So thanks, folks that
are listening today, thanks to those that will listen in the future, and I
thought this was very interesting today and I’d like to thank the panelists for
their participation. [Tony]: I just want to say thank you, Steve, for hosting.
[Kate]: Me too, thank you.
[Steve]: We’ll be talking again. Have a good day, folks. Everybody, we’re
signing off take care.

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