Knowing that many of you may be spending your summers in lesson planning sessions or curriculum mapping meetings, I wanted to throw out a quick note about the implementation of the Common Core Standards in the Social Studies.
Plain and simple, implementing the standards into the Social Studies curriculum is not a challenging endeavor, and is not something requiring you to stress or worry. Once you actually delve into the standards (You can find good information on the standards here: Common Core State Standards), you will see that they are simply reinforcement of what is done, or should be done, in every Social Studies classroom across the country. This is nothing new!
With our standards assisting in the support of the ELA standards, we are simply including activities typical to a solid, skills-based History, Government or Geography course. Read. Evaluate, sources, primary and secondary. Examine images and other graphics for meaning. Identify causation or cause-and-effect. Understand the main ideas of the course. We attack these standards in everything we do!
Now, onto two areas of concern for your standards-based planning...
First and foremost, acknowledge that "text" is NOT a textbook. Throughout the CCSS, you will find the use of the word text to mean anything students will read in the classroom to gain knowledge and understanding of their course content. This does not, in any way, suggest that students should be bound to the textbook. Having researched for years the disservice done to students through the implementation of textbook only instruction, I am adamant that we should continue to teach outside the box in the Social Studies classroom, making our students experience a Walking Tour through History, as opposed to a dreaded drag through an incorrect and poorly written text.
Next, I want to stress to all Social Studies teachers that there are content-specific standards outlined for the Social Studies curriculum. The National Council for the Social Studies has long established the learning objectives and standards for every History, Geography, and Government course. Their Ten Themes of Social Studies can be a valuable tool to help you identify what students should learn in your classroom, and what they will be expected to understand as well-educated Social Studies citizens as adults.
In the end, just remember that you are not solely an extension of the English Department or part of a support team in the implementation of CCSS. You are a Social Studies teacher, and we have our own objectives in the education of our students. English. Math. Science. Social Studies. They are all important!