Workshop 1. Teaching Social Studies
Why do we teach social studies? This session focuses on the relevance of teaching social studies and discusses strategies for helping students gain a deeper understanding of social studies content. The onscreen teachers review standards and themes developed by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and view video clips from the Social Studies in Action video library to identify examples of powerful teaching and learning. Go to this unit.
Workshop 2. Teaching for Understanding
How do we plan for learning? This session focuses on the Teaching for Understanding model, a framework for unit planning developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The onscreen teachers use the framework to analyze unit planning in classroom videos, plan for their own social studies units, and create a pictorial timeline of U.S. history that outlines an entire year of learning. Go to this unit.
Workshop 3. Exploring Unity and Diversity
Who do we teach? Because themes of unity and diversity surface within both academic content and classroom climate, this session focuses on strategies for teaching provocative issues in social studies as well as methods of addressing a diversity of learners. The onscreen teachers examine national documents for themes of unity and diversity, explore Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, and develop a mini-lesson on immigration and citizenship. Go to this unit.
Workshop 4. Applying Themes and Disciplines
What do we teach? Working from the NCSS themes and standards, the onscreen teachers identify approaches to integrating disciplines while teaching social studies content. Classroom video segments illustrate effective strategies for teaching across the curriculum and provide an opportunity to reflect on teaching practices. The session ends with the teachers developing a lesson plan that incorporates a variety of themes and disciplines. Go to this unit.
Workshop 5. Using Resources
How can students use a variety of resources well? This session focuses on how to make the most of the resources that can be used in teaching social studies, from artifacts and primary sources to children's literature and the Internet. An adaptable mini-lesson uses children's literature to examine what constitutes a good citizen, resulting in a lively debate among the onscreen teachers. Go to this unit.
Workshop 6. Engaging Students in Active Learning
How do we engage students in active learning? In this session, the teachers examine the elements of authentic instruction and cooperative learning to identify ways of engaging students in social studies content. They review the importance of questioning in relation to higher-order thinking and explore classroom strategies to stimulate thinking and bring social studies concepts to life for their students. Go to this unit.
Workshop 7. Assessing Students' Learning
How do we know students are learning? Because assessment often provides only small snapshots of learning, this session provides teachers with a variety of tools and strategies to assess students' learning in formal, informal, ongoing, and culminating ways. The onscreen teachers analyze classroom video segments, develop criteria for assessment, and learn how to incorporate assessment strategies in a lesson on the most influential citizens in U.S. history. Go to this unit.
Workshop 8. Making Connections
How do we connect social studies to life beyond the classroom? In this culminating session, the teachers demonstrate the major concepts they've learned throughout the workshop in social studies unit presentations. Classroom video segments further illustrate effective ways of bridging social studies concepts and the world beyond the classroom, and show creative examples of teaching and learning. Go to this unit.