CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.10 By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
|My baby girl on the way home from the library at age 4! She is now an avid reader and is also working on her second BA - this one in Elementary Education!|
According to this final CCSS standard, Social Studies teachers are responsible for helping students to read and comprehend in their classes. And for those of us that have taught in the History Department for a while, we are singing our praises loud and clear! To us, this single standard finally brings credit and validation to the Social Studies teacher; it is justifying the need for our department in the school building, and reminding everyone that we have a purpose.
So, how do we accomplish this task? Simple! Review my blog posts for Standards 1-9, and add one elementary aspect - making sure your content and lesson materials are age, grade level, and reading level appropriate.
Here is where my advice may differ from many in the mainstream. Throughout my teaching and writing career, I have been referred to in many terms:
- A "High Expectations" teacher
- Old School
- A "Rise to the challenge" teacher
- An "If you build it, they will come!" teacher
- A "Raise the bar" teacher
However, my argument is simple and well proven. I did often introduce materials that were WAY above the current abilities of my students. Sometimes it frustrated them, other times it encouraged them. Most of the time, it led them down a path of curiosity and inquiry that led to their learning. And for those who are "testing" people, my test scores proved my success. More importantly, my students' achievements in later academic endeavors and in career and life choices says it even better!
In preparing your lessons and in choosing the materials you will use to teach your content, reach for the stars! Always include reading content that is just a step ahead, yet also provide content in ways that can be easily understood or evaluated by all. Allow the students the time and the opportunities to mesh the difficult together with the easy to formulate their best understanding. That will help your students meet this standard, and many other challenges they may face in their lives.
And in addition to the short readings that are used to introduce content in lessons, add novels, news, and magazine reading to your classes. Here are some of my favorites:
- Night by Elie Wiesel when teaching the Holocaust
- Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen, a different perspective on the Holocaust
- Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David von Drehle for the Progressive Era
- Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen for U.S. History
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair for Progressive Era
- National Geographic for any Geography class
- Your local newspaper for any Social Studies class (the obituaries have great lessons!)
Life lessons are not always learned by following the rules. If I had always followed the rule in my teaching career, my students would not have been able to investigate the Holocaust for 3 weeks, learning more about themselves than they did in any other lesson. If I had always followed the rules, my students would not have been forced to think outside the box and to step away from the norm, and may not have learned the most valuable lessons the world has to offer.
And on this specific standard... If I had not started each school year by using resources WAY BELOW my students' reading level (Reading the Lorax in circle time to high schoolers sitting on the floor around me to start my Geography unit), they may never have learned to have faith in me and my teaching ability to be able to push the boundaries I so often asked them to push.
"Oh, The Places You'll Go!" Always the final text reading with my students... And such a valuable lesson inside!
Some of my activities that can help to address this standard:
Holocaust Complete Study Package
The Lorax Reading & Service Learning Complete Project (FREE Dropbox Download)
For a variety of interactive lessons that can help you to implement this standard, please visit my TpT Store. Be sure to check out my Complete Units, including those for World History, U.S. History, Geography & World Religions!