Reading Like a Historian…

Hi all,

Here’s the Link: Stanford’s History Education Group – Reading Like an Historian.

Reading Like an Historian

Please check out this website – it is a great one for all social studies teachers, and it connects our content to Common Core and skill development in text analysis.  Brad Fiege from Arcadia presented this to the social studies department, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

The website is an excellent resource for social studies teachers for a number of reasons.  First, lesson plans are created with Common Core in mind.  The center of these lesson plans is textual documents, primary sources, maps, etc. that are historically relevant.  The push is to have student “Doing History” rather than simply learning about it – and that is at the heart of the Common Core standards within social studies.  Second, it is easy to access these plans, and they are free.  Simply register once, and you have access to these plans in PDF format.  All materials are printable, and you can save them as well.    As well, the lessons are created through the Stanford History Education Group, and the resources are grade level appropriate for our students.  Many documents are from the Library of Congress as well.

There are numerous lesson and documents available right now in US History, and just last month, Global lessons were added too.  That database will continue to grow.  There are currently 15 lessons in the Global History database.


CCLS Training in Social Studies

Hi all,

Over the past two weeks, and continuing into April, social studies teachers at Arcadia have been working with the Common Core Learning Standards through professional development from Dr. Marijo Pearson (Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES).  The focus has been on integrating CCLS into the Social Studies content by focusing on the standards and connecting them to current best practice.

imagesCAJUIFGKOn March 5th, teachers will continue their work as they begin to explore the CCLS Standards, and work with evidence guides to plan and teach a Common Core lesson in the next few weeks.  I hope to be able to work with teachers and share in this process.  Our last two sessions will focus on text dependent questions, as well as text complexity.   More to follow soon…



9-12 Social Studies Framework Posted


Each instructional content area must include standards and frameworks that describe the knowledge and skills required for students to progress toward College and Career readiness. NYSED has taken steps to align the current social studies learning standards (United States and New York State History; World History; Geography; Economics; and Civics, Citizenship, and Government) with the requirements of the Common Core State Standards. This work has been developed in consultation with teachers and leaders in P-12 schools and higher education institutions. The draft New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework was posted in September 2012 for public review and comment at A survey was conducted during September and early October and results were reviewed by the Social Studies Content Advisory Panel in October.

At the September 2012 meeting, the Board of Regents discussed a requirement for dividing the current Global History and Geography course of study into two units of study. The Social Studies Content Advisory Panel met in October and discussed this proposal. At the November 2012 meeting, the Board directed staff to seek public input on the proposed changes. A limited survey was conducted in December and the results supported a chronological approach. This information was reviewed with the Board of Regents at the January 2013 meeting and this draft New York State Common Core 9-12 Social Studies Framework was developed accordingly (See:

The draft framework represents a chronological approach to the Global History and Geography course of study, with the first unit addressing the Neolithic Revolution to the beginnings and causes of the Industrial Revolution (approximately 1750), and the second unit beginning with the Enlightenment and continuing through modern times.

This draft framework also incorporates the Key Ideas and Conceptual Understandings for the following courses: United States History and Government; Participation in Government; and Economics, the Enterprise System, and Finance. The draft framework is posted online for public review at


New Things at EngageNY


EngageNY, the state’s website that follows the changes in education surrounding the APPR process, Common Core implementation and other policies, is regularly updated.  Two of the most recent additions to the website are new SLO resources, as well as a release of the 2013 NYS test guides in ELA and Math, grades 3-8.

These guides offer insight into the changes in assessment due to the Common Core Standards implementation.  Below is a quick summary of the test guides, as well as the new SLO resources.  Check them out at the links provided as well.

New SLO Resources at EngageNY:

Videos related to the SLO process span a wide range, but for teachers, the two most appropriate videos are: Student Learning Objectives 101 for Teachers, and the recently released Students Learning Objectives 102 for Teachers.   The videos distinguish unique teaching characteristics and implications for SLOs, they include guiding questions, and provide key points for SLOs.

Here is the link:  SLO Resource Page – EngageNY

Test Guides for ELA and Math with Common Core Standards:

Even though currently these tests cover ELA and Math, grades 3-8, there are overall trends that will impact how we teach social studies in the coming years.  The Common Core implementation timeline has already started, and in the next 2-3 years, social studies regents exams will reflect these skill-based shifts.

The test guides provide educators with insight into NYS assessments.  They address the following:

1) The ELA and Math shifts demanded by the Common Core Standards.

2) How the ELA and Math Common Core assessments differ from past NYS exams.

3) The 2013 Common Core ELA and Math test content and design

4) The new short, and extended response Common Core questions.

Social studies is closely related to ELA in terms of skill development, and the new ELA Common Core assessments include the following changes:

1) All text passage will be authentic, and some will be opinionated in which students may disagree.

2) Text passage may be longer and more rigorous than on past exams.

3) ELA tests will be split between four books and administered over three days.

4) Grade 3 and 4 tests will have a shorter maximum testing time.

5) New CCLS rubrics will be used for scoring short and extended response questions.

Explore the testing guides here: Grades 3-8 Common Core ELA and Math Testing Guides


Many of us have questions about assessments from the state – What is the new format?  How do I teach my courses when I don’t know about the summative assessment?  What will the Common Core standards look like on the new exams?  As well, the SLO post-assessment for local courses are also new this year (Global 9, Citizens in Action).  Spending some time on the EngageNY website will help with these questions, and many others as the end of the year approaches.  As well, look into the EngageGreece content on our own district website (, and our librarians can also be a great resource for Common Core questions.

As usual, any questions, please email me at

Knowledge Maps for Social Studies

Hi all,

For students, learning about how they learn is often times a key to growth and development in school.  Knowledge maps can help students focus in on what they know, what they need to improve, and what they don’t know – and how all of this impacts assessment and how to make sense of content.  Basically a knowledge map is a learning guide for students – in a unit, based on a reading, or through an entire year. Knowledge maps are modified graphic organizers for classroom content – but they can be much more than that.  They also can serve as a checklist for teachers and students to inform instruction both in terms of content and skills.  They are a great way to track student progress using formative data, and it enables students to internalize their own strengths and weaknesses. They can address skills related to the Common Core SS, classroom content, and are a great tool for student analysis.

Based on the Greece Central SD social studies curriculum maps, these knowledge maps give the basic outline for grades 7-11 , excluding AP courses.  If any teacher would like a knowledge map for an elementary grade level, or for an AP course, please let me know and I will create one.

Listed below these links are different strategies that teachers and students can use to enhance the use of these knowledge maps.  The maps listed here are based on an entire school year, but I’ve also included a blank map that could be used for revolutions in grade 6, 9 and 10.  Any theme can fit into these maps.


7th Grade US Knowledge Map

8th Grade US Knowledge Map

Global History 9 Knowledge Map

Global History 10 Knowledge Map

US History 11 Knowledge Map

Revolutions Knowledge Map


These next links will provide both a blank student checklist, as well as a completed check list.  These are to be completed at five week intervals so discussions with students can focus on learning, growth and improvement.

Student Checklist Knowledge Map – A blank copy that teachers and students could start using right now.

Knowledge Map Student Checklist Example – Anything highlighted in green indicates mastery, yellow is meeting, and pink is need to review.

This last link is a completed knowledge map in Global History 9.  A student completed this throughout the year, summarized the work on the student checklist above, and has indicated strengths and weaknesses based on content, assessments  and skills.


Knowledge Map Completed by Student – Again, green indicates mastery of content, yellow is meeting, and pink is working towards meeting.  This student also included both formative and summative assessment grades – which serve as evidence and data – for both teacher and student.  The process becomes very fluid throughout the year.


1.  Knowledge Map Completion – The purpose of this is to have students who are just being introduced to knowledge maps to organize and practice the lesson for one class period by completing a partially filled knowledge map.  Progression to a completely blank map, or even to having student create and knowledge map template could work.  The revolutions knowledge map above could be used for a lesson on any revolution in global history.

2.  Building Knowledge Maps – Once students get the basics of knowledge maps, have them generate maps based on content and skills.  This could occur over a lesson, through a non-fiction reading activity, or through an entire unit.

3.  Note-Taking Knowledge Mapping – Provide students with a blank knowledge map for the lesson or unit.  The map will help students organize information presented, worked on, shared or discussed through the lesson or unit.  Some students will be very challenged by this, so it’s a great way to incorporate differentiation or groupings of students so they can assist each other.

4.  Knowledge Map Essay – The knowledge map serves as the outline for a thematic essay.  Again, the revolutions example above could serve this purpose for the different revolutions that are focused on in Global History 9 and 10.

5.  Knowledge Maps and Common Core – Student can complete different reading and writing activities, grounded in non-fiction and primary source material through knowledge maps.  For example, student could use a knowledge map to summarize President Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided.”  There are many different uses here.

Hope this helps…please let me know if you have questions.  The next post will focus on Common Core examples and Knowledge Maps.


Khan Academy in the Classroom

Hi all,

The Khan Academy – an online learning classroom – is a great resource for supplemental mini-lessons in our own classrooms.  Salman Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, which is a website dedicated to a new, accessible style of learning and education.  To date, there are more than 3,400 short videos that follow Khan through easy to understand summaries of major trends, concepts and topics in lots of subjects.

The best part about The Khan Academy is that you can sign up as a teacher, have students join your “class” and track data for students as they take quizzes and join in on discussions.

There are over 10 million people that have accessed The Khan Academy.  History (social studies) is not the prominent subject provided, but there are some good summary lessons that are provided.  You can access videos and lessons by clicking on “watch”, then going to “humanities.”

If you teach economics, there are also some great lessons related to major concepts and models in both microeconomics and macroeconomics.  Some of the material relates very well to NYS standards and what we teach, while others do not connect as well.

Thes lessons are primarily for high school students.

For users of smartphones, there is also a Khan Academy app.

Click here to visit the webpage:  The Khan Academy

That’s it for now…